Two weeks ago I delivered my first ever TEDx Talk and I got asked constantly how I was preparing for the talk. Honestly, my preparation process didn’t really change for my TEDx Talk in comparison to any other conference, presentation or keynote that I’ve ever prepared for. However, as I wouldn’t have a podium or all my slides in front of me this time, I definitely practiced a lot more than I might have otherwise.

I’ve broken down my presentation prep method into 8 steps. Check it out:

1) Understand your 🔑 Takeaways – What do you want the audience to take away from your talk? Write this down and make sure you refer back to it often.

2) Visualize the Flow – I start by mapping out what the talk will contain and storyboarding my slides the order of which I’ll explain points backing up my main focus.

3) Bulk it Out – Write out the meat and potatoes of what each slide will represent. This is really the point your presentation starts to become real and the majority of your talk should be in here. I also work in personal anecdotes at this point.

4) Try it Out – Seek out advice from seasoned speakers to listen to your talk in it’s raw form. Luckily I have Hamza as a co-founder to get advice from and his feedback was really helpful in reorganizing my presentation to have more “oomph” at the beginning. I also got the opinions from my target audience which really helped me figure out which points to double down on and what resonated with them the most.  Get feedback on flow, content and points of emphasis. Ask them what stuck out for them, what was the strongest part, what was the weakest part?

5) Adjust and Finalize – Take the feedback and work that into your presentation and finalize the flow of it all and stick to it. I wouldn’t make too many major adjustments after this point.

6) Pen your Script – Once the order of the slides are done and you understand the flow of your talk, write in the speaker notes what you actually want to say to convey the ideas put forward on the slides. Now you may not follow it exactly down the line in the actual presentation, but put as much in here as you can when you’re practicing. This will act as your guide to start practicing with and get familiar with your talk.

7) Practice and Record – This was the most important step for me. I recorded myself 5 different times, the first time was the only time I read verbatim from my speaker notes. After that I let it flow naturally. this was key as I discovered some relevant anecdotes while just letting myself talk that I hadn’t recalled before, which ultimately became a part of my final script. I then started listening to my talk throughout the day till I got sick of it. Think of it like one of your favourite songs that you have on repeat till you know almost every word. Practice till you get sick of it, that’s when you know you’re ready.

8) Kill It – Once you’ve got to this point, there’s no turning back. Get up there and rock it.

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