The Mother of All TED Talks


The Mother of All TED Talks

I remember watching my first TED talk when I was in fourth grade. I was enthralled! I knew right then what I wanted to do with my life: give my own TED talk!

Over the years, I have watched many TED talks. Probably hundreds. Of course, all the while the main question at the back of my mind was: what should my talk be about? It looked like pretty much every idea I could think of was already done.

Then one day it hit me. I saw a pattern in all the talks I had watched. From that pattern, I was able to discover the secret formula for coming up with your own TED talk. Yes, I discovered the Mother of all TED talks!

This formula is so potent that I have no problem sharing it with you. It will take a very long time before its generative capacity is exhausted. It’s that good.

So what’s the formula?

1. Take the following words: Life, Happiness, Purpose, Meaning, Money, Relationships, Wisdom, Sex, Grit, Mindfulness, Health.
2. Pick 3 – 4 words out of that list and arrange them in any sequence you like.
3. Take the following mathematical signs: =, +, <, >.
4. Pick signs out of that list at random and place them between the words in the list you created in step 2.
5. Now try to say it in a sentence and build your talk around that.

That’s all! Don’t believe me? Let us try an example:

Happiness = Meaning + Purpose + Wisdom.

“Happiness is basically a combination of Meaning, Purpose, and Wisdom.” Well, you can kind of see how that might work, right? I wouldn’t be surprised if a TED talk already exists that says exactly that. If so, try some other combination. Add Money if you are talking to a wealthy audience. Or any audience, actually. Adding Money to any theme always gives it a nice twist. Maybe add Sex to make it fun. Or add Mindfulness to make it trendy and if you are expecting an older audience. There are tons of them that could work. Maybe not all of them, but enough for everyone who reads until here. We are going to be the TED talk gang!

Ok, so now you have the theme of your talk. Next, you need a story. Something involving your own childhood, your mother, your father, your close friend, someone you met at the bus stop, or your dog. (Don’t try cats, they don’t make great stories.) Make some story up about some event involving them and how that led you to discover your theme. Then talk about how you spent the next many years of your life researching it and how no one had discovered this simple truth. End on an emotional but optimistic note that will bring a tear to their eyes but also make them feel good about the future.

That’s it!

Now go ahead and try your own combination and make your own TED talk.

Pro tip: Instead of the “=” sign, try the “>” sign. “Happiness is more than just Meaning, Wisdom, and Money.” That makes it intriguing. What is the remaining ingredient? You can keep them in suspense until the end. Then say “watch my upcoming series where I explain that final essential ingredient.”

I think this is definitely an idea worth spreading.