16 Mar March 21, 2019 – Getting a Ted Talk Gordon Tredgold and Award-Winning Journalist Ginni Saraswati
On giving a great Ted Talk:
Give a talk that is going to resonant with the audience
and be relevant to the theme of the Ted talk.
Gordon Tredgold wanted to give a Ted talk. He set to learn the system and is sharing his system with us. He is a business and IT transformation expert who has successfully delivered programs that save $350m in Operational Costs, turned around failing departments increasing on-time delivery from 35% to 95% and service levels from 57% to 99.7%, and led teams of 1000 staff for Fortune 100 companies. Gordon is the author of the critically acclaimed FAST: 4 Principles Every Business Needs to Achieve Success and Drive Results which is a finalist for Management Book of the year 2017. An International Keynote Speaker recognized by Inc. Magazine Top 100 Leadership Expert and Speaker, Gordon is also a Contributing Author at Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc Magazine, Business Insider, Fortune, Chicago Tribune, & Fox News. Throughout Gordon’s career, he have been passionate about understanding why businesses and projects fail. Gordon now work with companies, professional leaders and entrepreneurs to help ensure they don’t experience such failure themselves. By applying F.A.S.T. – Focus, Accountability, Simplicity and Transparency, you will avoid failure and accelerate to success.
Ginni Saraswati – Founder & CEO of Ginni Media
Podcasts can be a lead magnet for you or
they can drive relationships to your business.
Ginni Saraswati is an award-winning journalist known for quick-witted introductions and on-air antics. She left Paula Abdul in a laughing fit and Havana Brown choking! She has interviewed k.d. lang, Jennifer Beals, Ruby Rose and Martina Navratilova… and many more. She has recently launched her podcast, The Ginni Show—Curry, Comedy & Connectivity, which invites listeners to follow the hilarious journey life of a young Sri Lankan gay immigrant woman growing up in Australia. Ginni Media is a boutique Podcast Production Company serving the vision of entrepreneurs, celebrities and influential organizations around the world. Specializing in podcast production and content repurposing, they provide a concierge-style service to ensure your voice is literally being heard where it needs to be.
Highlights from Gordon’s Interview
Today I was just selected in the Guru Top 30 Leadership Experts in the world, along with people like John Maxwell, Ken Blanchard, and Tony Robbins. I’m stunned and honored to make that list.
I was in the middle of doing something, and then email came in, and I thought, “Top 30, I wonder what that is.” Then I started reading and thinking, “Wow. I wonder if it comes to the right person on the list to undertake that honor and roll with it.”
A couple years ago, I wanted to do a TED talk. And I applied for a few and I got rejected. And then last year in March, I thought, “I want to get that Ted brand at TEDx. I want to do a TEDx talk.” So I’m a very much a problem solving, structured person. So I started researching and looking up about TED Talks, how they find the speakers. And I came up with an approach which I thought would be a little bit different to what people normally do, and that I thought might give me a chance of landing a talk. And in March, I applied for the TED talk, I applied for about seven. At the same time, if you want to make sure you give yourself an opportunity, At 42 hours left I was signed up, and I had my first time talk. So by really researching and understanding the process, I was able to find a way that would get me that talk. And I will say, it took 42 hours. That’s an approach that I’ve taught all the people, and they get a talk within a week, two weeks as well.
They pay accommodation. But if I was speaking in Boston, and I’m living in Europe, I would have to pay my own flyover and some of the TED Talks, they want you to come and rehearse that, you might have to go over a day or so before. And some they want to see you once beforehand. But it’s not something that you’re doing for the money, it’s something that you’re doing for the credibility, the visibility, and the reach that the TED brand can give to you.
What people normally do is they go to the ted.com website, it gives you a list of TEDx events, you can decide where you want to speak, then go to that web page. They will provide you with a panel where you sign up, and you fill in the details. But what I read when I was doing the research was that the majority of people selected do not use that panel. I thought I wanted to be in that 5% to 10% that do get selected. I needed to find a back door into the TED Talk. When you’re looking at TED Talks, a lot of people get rejected for four or five simple reasons. One, the TED Talk is too close to fully booked. If you are applying now, for a TED talk in March, there’s probably no space for you. People apply for talks and say, “I’ve got this great talk on cryptocurrency, or women in the workplace. But if that TED talk is about full already, you’re automatically going to get rejected.
Another reason why it gets rejected is because people want to give their talk. It’s about them, not the audience. The best way to get a talk is to give one that is going to resonate with the audience and be relevant to the fame of the talk. So what I did was I went and researched all of the TED talks that were within driving distance or a short flight that were happening six to nine months out, because for those, I knew that I would have a shot at applying for them, they wouldn’t be fully booked. Then I researched the organizer, and I tried to find some things that we had in common, so I could approach them. So if they were a Red Sox fan, you could approach them and say, “Hey, it’s great to see you’re a Red Sox fan, me too.” You can make a connection with them by picking a subject that fits in with the theme of the event that you’re looking for.
Now you’re applying with enough time in advance, you’re making a connection with the event organizer, and you’re pitching them a talk that is relevant and going to resonate with the audience. For the one I did one of the organizer’s passions was inspiring people.
The theme of the event was how to convert the impossible into the possible, so I wrote him a short email, because TED Talks tend to be 14 to 18 minutes, and I wanted to show that I could be brief. So I wrote a short email saying that it was great that we both share a passion for inspiring people. It’s one of my biggest pleasures to help people achieve their goals. And I would love to give a talk that would inspire people to try to change the impossible to the possible
Within two hours of me sending that connection via LinkedIn, he emailed me back, and we talked the following day. Then I was signed up and I was the first name on the list for that holiday’s TEDx event.
When you go into the TED website, and then you search for the events, you can put in that you want to do it in the US. You want to be looking at July 2019, it will list the events, you click on the event, and it will tell you about it, including who the organizer and the CO organizer is. If you click on that, they will have the bio, which will tell you what they’re interested in, what their hobbies are, why they got into Ted. And then there’s an absolutely crucial piece of information, which is what you should talk to me about.
For me, when I was reaching out to the connection, that was what I wanted to leverage. Because if they just said to teach them about inspiring people, that gives you all the information you need to make a personal connection. If you can then tie that into the theme of the talk, boom, you’re just gonna hit it out of the park. And I taught a lady to do the same. And the organizer wrote back to her and said, “Oh, my God, I feel like we’re twins! I’d love you to come back and speak at our event.” It’s about getting that connection and then making the talk relevant.
Imagine you sent me a wedding list. And my wife and I were both interested in cycling, and that we like cycling gear, and I look at that list, and I come back to you. Instead of doing things the way you asked, I say, “Hey, I saw that you mentioned cycling, and I’m mad about it. One of the best things I ever did was visit the Tour de France. I’d love to buy you a weekend In France to see the end of the Tour de France.” Are you going to be upset that wasn’t on your list? It’s offering people a little extra.
It’s about sticking out in their mind and making them feel you’re special, that you’ll go the extra mile and you understand who they are and what they want for their audience. And you can do that. 90% of people depict the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong event. Just by not doing that, you give yourself an awesome chance of standing out.
Let’s say you talk about entrepreneurial success, and diversity in entrepreneurism. In venture capitalism, 99% of people are men, and only 1% are women. You could make that point and tell them you want to come to New York to talk about diversity in entrepreneurism. Once they’ve said yes, they don’t review the entire talk, they’re taking it on the title. So you could just talk about what you want anyway. If you only get one talk, then just change the title, and you can do that.
I’m very process and solution oriented, so I always look to train people and share ideas. I want to make it short and sweet stepwise. I can break things down, select steps, understand and follow it, like I just did with getting the talk.
I once did a talk about achieving as a girl in the world. It was about starting small, celebrating, and keeping going. When we start on a task it seems impossible, but we create steps and go bit by bit, celebrating successes all the while, because big successes are just an accumulation of small successes. I talked about that.
It was good. I did it in November. I wanted the challenge. But once you’ve done a TEDx, where you charge $1000, after you do your talk you can double or triple your fee. You gain credibility and brand equity you can leverage to increase your quality. You’ll also get put in front of an audience of 100,000 or 200,000, which may be more than you’ve had anywhere. You have this newer, bigger audience, and you get put in front of someone else’s audience. That’s all worthwhile.
But I didn’t do that when I made the decision to do my TED talk in French. That’s a much smaller market, but I wanted to open up that market, and I thought it would be interesting to do something else. It was a challenge. Why I did it, I don’t know, because it had about 600 views, so I don’t know who I was showing off to. But in I live in June, I do speak French. And I thought it might be an opportunity to open the French market in Morocco. I spoke in Tunisia. And it’s easy to say, we can speak French, but having two TED talks that in French is different. It was an interesting challenge, and I learned a lot of things. Because normally, when I speak, I’m very comfortable and confident in the subject. But when you’re doing it in a foreign language, and even though I speak French, I don’t speak perfect French. So I had to learn it by heart. And what I found was the quality of talk I give by learning it by heart, and drilling and drilling and drilling, it was actually better than when I speak from the heart in English.
And they allowed me to communicate, I was one of 12 speakers, and I was the only non French person and I got a lot of people come up to me afterwards and saying that mine was the best talk and the only one that they could understand. But that’s because of the way I did it, I broke it down. I gave them simple takeaways. I make what I talk about accessible to the audience. So it was great to see that I could do that in French as well.
I was a little bit worried that I might be the last person on earth to do a TED talk, by which point there wasn’t any value in it. But the thing about TED is, there’s only been about 4000 TED Talks worldwide. And there’s 7 billion people, so it’s still an exclusive group. Plus, they do great video. Because of the quality that TED demands, they want you to do a great talk, and they will record it for you. So you’ll get great video out of it.
That was one of the reasons why I decided to do it in French, because I had a few people say TEDx, who cares, everybody’s done one of those. I thought “Yeah, but I bet everybody hasn’t done one in French.”
In a TED talk, people know you’re going to be a good speaker. Maybe you won’t be a great speaker, but people expect you to be good. It’s like a mark of quality. When I spoke it was some people’s first talk, some were professional speakers, and a couple were professional musicians. It’s all about the talk, not necessarily the background of the speaker. Though I’m sure they want to make sure some of the people are good at speaking, so they can take a chance on some of the others.
In the event I spoke to people who were talking for the first time, and I’d like to ask you a question. Would you tell somebody that it wasn’t worth publishing a book, if they wanted to use that event in the UK in 2014 there were 20 new books published for every 180,000 books, and that was only 4000-50000 TED talks ever. So In terms of exclusivity, TED talks versus doing a book, definitely don’t write a book.
But I have a friend who’s an international keynote speaker, and I said to him, “when did you speak internationally?” And he said, “I was best man at my cousin’s wedding in Cancun.” I l liked that.
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