Being a TEDx Speaker: The Preparation, The Talk & The Results

by Deepak Kanakaraju on March 8, 2018

One fine day as I was going through my emails, I saw an invitation to speak. I get a lot of invitations from time to time, and I decline a lot of invitations. But this was an invitation to speak at a TEDx event! I have seen a lot of TED and TEDx talks on YouTube and I was really excited.

I had tried to become a TEDx speaker a while back and later I learned that you cannot buy your way into such an event. You need to get an invitation it cannot happen by design. There is a bit of chance and luck involved in getting such an invitation.

I got this email towards the end of November 2017.

My 5 years blogging journey had helped me get a TEDx invitation. The person who made the decision to invite me as one of the speakers has been a reader of my blog for a few years and he thought I would be a good choice for a speaker.

The excitement of having got a TEDx invitation lasted for a week or two. Then the panic set in. I didn’t know what to talk about. TEDx talks have to be from personal experience, should appeal to a large audience and should be short and crisp.

Most of my talks have been around digital marketing topics and I don’t prepare a speech for such talks. And my talks go for 30 to 60 minutes and sometimes even more than that. The talk usually flows very easily.

Choosing a topic for the TEDx talk itself was a huge challenge let alone prepare for it. First, I wanted to talk about how to achieve your dreams and goals. I started preparing for it and then had a call with the TEDx organizing team. They wanted me to talk from personal experience and I started collecting data points to talk about. Then I ditched the whole topic because I felt that I am not experienced enough to talk on this topic.

I have hardly achieved my life goals and there is a long way to go. Too many TEDx talks have been around the topic of goals and achieving dreams. There are far more eligible speakers on this topic and I would get faded away in the clutter.

The theme of this whole TEDx event was ‘Be’ and it is a very broad topic. It is about Being anything that you want in life.

My second iteration on trying to choose a topic also failed. I thought of talking about how can be Be the society, country and the human race that we want to Be and how can we go about the Change. I prepared on this for a few days, but then I had to ditch the topic because everything was my opinion. Such talks have to be from Experience and I need to show an example, not give my opinion.

Opinions are everywhere and there is too much of them. Anyone can give advice on how things should be and how people should behave. But if you are not practicing what you are preaching, you are going to spread information that people don’t need.

People don’t need information, they need inspiration. You need to inspire people to trigger actionย – through your own life example. People already have the potential energy, you need to convert them into kinetic energy, not give them more potential energy.

I had one more chance to come up with the right topic. Time was running out and the TEDx team wanted me to send the draft on what I am going to talk about. I kept thinking: what can I talk about that is from personal experience, something that is worth talking about and that appeals to a mass audience.

I was going through the website of TEDxGLIMChennai and then I saw my name as one of the speakers. Below my name, they had written: Digital Marketing Blogger. Whoa! It took me this long to figure out that I should be talking about blogging!

I am a blogger, and I can talk about Being a blogger. Blogging is the single biggest thing that happened in my life and my career paths changed because I started blogging. Not once, but twice.

The first stint was a motorcycle blog, which grew to more than 1 Million page views a month. And then, this blog, started in 2013, also changed my career path and let this this point today where I run a company that trains people on digital marketing, provides digital marketing services and conducts events.

The very TEDx invitation happened because of blogging and the invitation email says that he is a huge fan of my… blog! Apart from being a blogger, I am also teaching blogging to others and I have enrolled 2,500+ students for my 100-day blogging course.ย I am also planning to launch a blog on blogging at LearnBlogging.com

It looks very obvious now that my TEDx talk should be about blogging, but before realizing that, it was pretty difficult to finalize on this topic.

The team wanted me to create a draft of my talk and send it to them. I gave a few tries but I couldn’t write down what I would be talking about. So, I made a video with slides and sent it to them. They were happy with the content and the talk finally happened on Feb 4th 2018.

The video was published on the TEDx talks YouTube channel on Feb 16th.

The video has already got 58,000+ views and I am looking forward to getting at least a million views with this video in the long term.ย My profile just got an upgrade and now I can call myself as a TEDx speaker.

Now that my first TEDx talk is done, I will be looking forward to my next TEDx talk in the near future. May be I will talk about achieving goals, or about how to change the world – hopefully from personal experience.

Overall it was a great experience and a huge thanks to the TEDx team for making this happen.

This talk has improved my confidence in public speaking and I have taken away a lot of ideas on how speaking events should be executed. I will be using some of my learnings in my HighTraffic Summits too!

Any questions? Leave a comment below!

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Manikandan March 8, 2018 at 12:17 pm

Hi Deepak sir,
I am glad to say you that I am also your big fan among them. I have instant mail responder to your every mail. Keep moving, Sir. More than 8 Months, I had followed you for 8 months with you grow ups. I really happy that, your speech and inspiration to a lot of Self-Building persons.

I want to join you as a team member. I hope I will be your best one in your ( Lifetime ) team.

Congratulation and Best of Luck, Sir.
I wish you to Keeeepppp Grow Biggeerrrr, the place where no one can reach us.
New Industry – Low Competition in Digital World – Entrepreneur – Need a Change & Bring a Change, Sir. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

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Manikandan March 8, 2018 at 12:20 pm

I don’t know who you are?
I don’t know where you are?
But I want to Live like you ( LEGEND ) …

Love you and your passion, sir. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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dharmesh vaghela March 8, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Superb Sir.. Thanks for sharing your Experience valuable things. its inspire me to being good digital marketer

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Ines March 8, 2018 at 12:43 pm

Gongratulations. It’s inspiring. Thank you a lot
One of my dream is being a tedx speaker
I want to talk about women and self confidence

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Mohsin khan March 8, 2018 at 12:51 pm

Gud luck Deepak ! You r doing well..

I have an question

I want changes in my career but I don’t know how..I have no time apart from my job !

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Kailash Bisht March 8, 2018 at 12:53 pm

Hi Deepak,

Thank you for sharing your experience with the TedX team. A big fan of your thought process and writing skills.

Cheers!

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Rahul Mohan Vasadkar March 8, 2018 at 3:33 pm

Nice working best wishes for your future life

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Aryan kumar March 8, 2018 at 5:22 pm

Sir your speech in ted talks was very inspiring…

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Amadou Mouctar Barry March 8, 2018 at 6:13 pm

Hello your caurse is very interst and very important I appreciat it ,but I have small litle problem to anderstand some words, it is possible to translate it in french please.

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Gugu March 8, 2018 at 6:14 pm

Wow! Deepak, you never ceased to impress with your writing say from your Blog to your Plain Text email. Can sense the reality in your writing unlike some other unrealistic & fantasy writing for real experience. Kudos to you!

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D Nair March 9, 2018 at 7:51 am

Best wishes, likes your inspirational blogs, though I am not a blogger.

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Sujata March 9, 2018 at 11:53 am

Just want to say … “WOW”… God Bless!!!

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Manju March 9, 2018 at 1:55 pm

Congratulations Deepak for the wonderful Talk !. Itโ€™s inspiring. I really appreciate and admire your writing skills.Keep it up. I will meet you one day as I am in Bangalore to get some inspiration from you ๏Š All the best for all your future endeavor.

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vince March 9, 2018 at 5:17 pm

Almost kept ignoring your mails but ever since i have started following i don’t know if i should compare what you have here with all what is on quora. You’ve been so inspiring most especially on digital marketing field. Thanks for being you to others.

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ANNE JEPCHIRCHIR KIBET March 9, 2018 at 6:15 pm

Thanks a lot I am also your big Fan, I have benefited a lot from your e books. Already inspired to kinetic energy!

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Deepak Sapkota March 10, 2018 at 12:55 pm

Deepak Sir, You are an inspiration to the new generation, You made us know how blogging can change our lives.

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sumit March 10, 2018 at 1:01 pm

Thanks for sharing this article..i have watched your TED
talk and really enjoyed it.

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Jalal uddin Arif March 10, 2018 at 2:28 pm

Really Inspiring article. Hope you will talk on TEDx, again and again, Mr. Deepak.

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Khavinder sharms March 10, 2018 at 6:34 pm

Thanks Deepak sir
Great article and good motivation

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