Rock Around the TED: Be your own TED(dy) boys and girls!
01/07/2014 - "Rock Around the TED: Be your own TED(dy) boys and girls!" by Donal Carroll

Rock Around the TED! Be your own TED(dy) Boys and Girls!

 Mentioned at the end of my last Blog Unpacking myth-stakes this is How to do your own TED lecture, a way of democratising TED. (The myth-confronting will follow).

Clearly, TED lectures have great strengths - innovative themes, speakers who craft genuine insights. But we do also live in a proving, inflictive culture where bumper banalities can pass for ‘learning’ when expressed with a tannoyed confidence (eg Executive Presence by Sylvia Ann Hewlett – not a TED lecture- yet) And these can also get a platform. So here’s a different, don’t wait-to-be-asked-and-approved model.  

  • Call it anything but a ‘lecture’: an intervention, provocation, a joint investigation, a noise worth hearing  - anything but that form of taxidermy which cultivates saintly passivity (and infallibility) in the court of the ‘expert’.  

  • Find a forum which mixes decent doubt with declaration (‘A good theory is one that holds together long enough to get you to a better one’.) and where interaction and feedback continually create value, before, during and after what you say

  • Find your something to say: Everybody has something but that won’t make it engaging. That requires mining your own experience for insights –that tricky learning which avoids capture, which others give up on. Also, be aware that talking only about yourself can limit the world to you - self-interest always needs enlightenment. Always ask who are you talking for?

  • Find fertile fights: themes worth tackling which others avoid: eg the ‘rationality’ of the economic system; capitalism and ‘growth’ as enemies; HIPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) dictating company decisions destroys company thinking; and others like: how to reinvent the lecture –or capitalism; how do we know when learning occurs – what is it?; or why orthodoxy (in all its forms) needs heretics; (the only progressive party to massively increase its vote in recent Ireland/UK European and council elections draws on a ‘heretics forum’ as a technique to produce different thinking). Add your own heresy here…

  • Find your flow: practice till the narrative is like a poem (it doesn’t have to rhyme) and reveal the scar tissue of your preparation –open its construction.

  • Find your style: what format best marries the how and the what you’re saying?

  • Find treacle-free language-meadows: common ‘presenting’ terms have become ransacked of meaning: eg ‘passionate’ (manifest this rather than say it; ‘self-esteem’ –(why bother?) And remember both ‘compelling’ and ‘inspirational’ are attributed rather than claimed   

I don’t think Teddy Boys and Girls waited for permission from their previous entertainment traditions – the crooners (singers -usually falling into sentiment) and the spooners (dancers –usually male, falling into women).  You don’t have to either. 

Now what have you got to say and where can you say it?

Let us know what you think. 


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