TEDxTuesdays, a weekly-ish 'zine about TED-style messaging.

TEDxTuesdays: Insights from... The TED Talk Whisperer (09jan24)

Published 4 months ago • 4 min read

FROM MEHHH TO MEMORABLE: 5 Moves to Prep a Message.

When thinking about a keynote or all-hands presentation, few of us anticipate a flat, “Mehhhh” delivery. Rights??

We imagine smiles, high-fives and even a standing ovation!

But as we know, a lot can get in the way of that dream.

- Frenetic PowerPoint edits.

- Last-minute re-Re-RE-scripting.

- Hotel bathroom mirror rehearsals.

- “Wait, what the #$%! was my topic again??”

Take heart, my team can be right beside you — coaching you to bridge that wide gap between "Mehhhh" and applause.

Remember, there’s a method to memorable.

By honing specific skills and adopting a mindset geared towards bonding and impact, you can connect with your audience and compel them to action.

Here are 5 ways to get going now:


The foundation of any memorable speech lies in its content. No matter how charismatic a speaker may be, a poorly constructed message will inevitably fall flat.

Let’s get you started by defining a clear and concise purpose for your speech. What do you want your audience to take away? Whether it's to inform, persuade, inspire, or entertain, a well-defined objective must guide the development of your content.

Don’t plan to deliver a word-for-word script (you want a bullet point outline memorized), but do start with one — then you can hone it down to a pithy outline.

For TEDster Tips on Focus click here.


Your big idea and key points should be wrapped in story. But don't open and close with “grab em” stories that are swappable. A distinctly fitting story will move your insights smoothly forward — as opposed to merely serve as a hook.

Look for relatable storeis that are connecting, colorful, and compelling. What’s more, the stories you use should be specific and distinctly tied to the point you are making.

A story-wrapped idea worth spreading is a powerful audience engagement tool. It can ensure your dry, dull, and deadening research data sets come alive — regardless of the stage or screen you speak from.

For TEDster Tips on Storytelling click here.


Practice your delivery — as extensively as possible — to ensure a smooth and natural flow. Record yourself to identify areas for improvement. Pay attention to your pacing, pausing, and intonation. Add emphasis and allow your audience to absorb and process information.

Make feedback part of your rehearsal routine. This isn’t time to bond with your laptop screen or bathroom mirror. Ask favors from peers, mentors, or sample audience members to gain valuable insights. Don't view feedback as criticism; instead, see it as an opportunity for growth.

Remember, confidence comes with practice, so don't shy away from refining your delivery. Tony Robbins says “Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can never get it wrong.”

For TEDster Tips on Rehearsals click here.


Don’t overthink this one. Body language, facial expressions, posture, eye contact — all that can clutter your mind. Just focus on your stage craft ABCs.

A) Active Hands. TEDsters call them “Jazz Hands.” Keep ‘em expressive. Research proves that dancing hands maintain audience engagement.

B) Be Conversational. Tone your voice and energy down to a Starbucks coffee conversation level. Trust the microphone to amplify your voice.

C) Connect with Smiles. Research shows that the longer a TED speaker smiles, the higher their perceived intelligence ratings. So smile — again and again.

For TEDster Tips about Stage Craft click here.


Nervousness is a natural part of public speaking, but it can be transformed into focused, positive energy with the right mindset. Instead of trying to overcome nerves, channel them into enthusiasm and passion for your topic.

Practice relaxation techniques, such as “Box Breathing” and visualization. The more you accept and manage your nervous energy, the more confident and authentic you will appear to your audience.

Remind yourself that the audience is there to hear your message, not to scrutinize your every word or gesture.

For TEDster Tips on Taming Nerves click here.

Public speaking is not an innate talent. But it is a skill that can be developed over time. The journey to becoming a memorable speaker is a process, not a destination.

The more you invest in honing your skills, the more confident and impactful you will become. The result will leave a lasting impression on your audience every time you step into the spotlight.

Remember, you can move from Mehhh to Memorable in 5 moves!

DEVIN D. MARKS is known as The TED Talk Whisperer. His firm, CONNECT to COMPEL, has served 100s of TED, TEDx, and TED-Style speakers. The result: 100s of millions of views. His team helps leaders, just like you, catalyze ideas.

You can reach Devin at 617.804.6020, or DM him here.

Short TEDster Insights

Here's a quick video that unpacks a bit of life behind the TED stage:

How To Apply TED Insights For Impact!

video preview

Support TED by Becoming a Member.

TED rolled out a membership option for talk fans in 2020.

I hope you will consider supporting the work of TED by becoming a member. (Click here.)

It is an easy lift at just $5 a month. What's more, membership offers you...

[ ] The book club

[ ] Ad-free podcast listening

[ ] Access to key TED speakers

[ ] Members-only virtual events

[ ] A virtual happy hour or two!

Join TED now.


PROBLEM: Deciding on your TED Talk topic.

SOLUTION: Sort among 8 classic types with this free tool.

Don’t start by sifting-sorting a dozen Post-it Notes of TED Talk ideas.

Begin with identifying the CATEGORY of your talk type first. Then within clear parameters, you can tackle deciding on the nuance of your topic.

After all, what are the nuances between a Big Idea and a Fresh Take? What about a How-To Talk and a Tech Demo Talk?

𝐆𝐞𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐬𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐓𝐄𝐃 𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐤 𝐓𝐲𝐩𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐞𝐭.

In just 15 questions you’ll have your answer and a 15-page PDF with worksheets, TEDster examples, and more. (Click here.)

In fact, here's an added bonus. Do this:

Drop me a DM with your results.

We can synch up to then tackle which of your ideas fall within that category and have the potential to truly be TED-worthy.

There’s a great way to race through the New Year!

Become a Breakaway TEDster!

When you're ready to take center stage (or center screen), let me know. Whether you're working on a TED Talk or a commencement address; an all-hands preso, or a keynote, you will want to be:

[ ✔] 5Fold-Focused
[ ✔] Story-Wrapped
[ ✔] Action-Igniting

And those three priorities make our TED Messaging Method so very, very connecting and compelling.

To begin a conversation, click here:

Let the world LIVE your message!™

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TEDxTuesdays, a weekly-ish 'zine about TED-style messaging.

From... The TED Talk Whisperer, DEVIN

I help niche execs, experts and authors master the TED stage and "short talk" messaging style. (TEDx clients enjoying views in the many, Many, MANY millions.) LET THE WORLD LIVE YOUR MESSAGE!™ #tedtalks #tedx #tedstyle #publicspeaking #speechwriting #pitches #presentations #messaging #branding #publicrelations #events #conferences

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