“Have you ever imagined what it’s like to experience the world from the point of view of a flower or a hummingbird? When we see Life through their perspective it expands your vision and opens your heart, unveiling the mysteries of Life, and that is transformational.
“We are all born with a sense of wonder. Sometimes it’s triggered by astonishing feats. Monuments to mankind’s capabilities, extraordinary talents and gifts, or scientific discoveries that push the boundaries of comprehension. But more often, we experience wonder by truly seeing the world around us.
“Wonder and awe allow us to transcend the ordinary, even to test our concepts of time and scale. We are overcome with a sense of being small in a grand universe. We’re unaware of past or future. We are, as they say, ‘in the moment’. We use the word ‘breathtaking’ to describe it, because it actually takes our breath away.
“Wonder inspires us to open our hearts and our minds to engender gratitude.
“Wonder and awe inspire us and bring us into the present moment, which unleashes our imagination. They enable us to adjust time perception. This influences decision making, making us more patient, more willing to help others, and makes life more satisfying.
“It makes people feel rich in time.
“When was the last time you felt rich in time?”
~ excerpt from Louie Schwartzberg’s TEDx LA talk, December 3, 2016, Dolby Theatre
The Secret of TED
First, if you have never watched a TED Talk, I recommend my very favorite, Jill Bolte Taylor: My Stroke of Insight.
I’ve had the privilege to work with Louie Schwartzberg on several projects now, over the course of several years. I’ve been invited to work closely with many of his peers, many of whom have given TED Talks. Louie, himself, has given multiple TED Talks, and there really does seem to be a basic formula. There is a madness to this TED Talk phenomena that would behoove any business person to incorporate into his or her own communications – whether on a stage, or talking to a client one-on-one. This formula is similar to Nancy Duarte’s subject matter in my favorite book, Resonate.
Here are 3 tips suggested by TED curator, Chris Anderson:
- Start by asking a question. This will peak the audience’s curiosity. Curiosity is like a drug we can’t resist. It pulls us in and we must satiate our inquiring minds with an answer. It also shifts the conversation into a shared inquiry versus a lecture. We become partners on a quest or adventure, not your captive audience.
- Be specific with your vulnerability. You’ll notice the very best TED Talks dive quickly into an incredibly personal story, and the details are down to the very smallest detail. When this happens, you can hear a pin drop in the room. This captivates us, it brings us into your world. Most importantly, you’ve just transformed your “presentation” into a story that cracks open our hearts and our emotions. There are heroes and villains, and now we care.
- Be focused. Take one part of one question, dissect it into one particle or focus on one journey at a time. Do not deviate. Do not expand the scope. Do not digress. The more defined a single thought is, the more profound your examination will appear. We will be more touched, moved and inspired by your single thought than by the many related topics you may think we should cover.
If you watch Louie’s TEDx LA talk above, you’ll notice he follows these 3 steps beautifully. He starts with a delightfully unique question, “Have you ever imagined what it’s like to experience the world from the point of view of a flower or a hummingbird?” He quickly shares an extremely personal story about being the son of Holocaust survivors, and how this inspired him to want to share simple acts of nature to engender gratitude, eventually projecting his work on the Vatican. We felt for him when he said he wished he could have shared that moment with his parents. He stayed on one topic – the importance of experiencing wonder and awe in our lives, inspiring us to share this pursuit with others for the sake of the earth’s future.
Louie received the only standing ovation for the event, by the way.
Practice Your TED Talk
Do you have one to give? Don’t wait to be asked! Prepare it now, practice giving it every chance you can! You think I’m kidding, but I’m NOT. Have an office party? Give your TED Talk. Have a school function for your kid? Give your TED Talk. If it’s a good one, you’ll entertain and delight. If it needs work, better to learn that from a group of 8th graders than your intellectual peers, right?
Then, when you’ve honed your talk and know it’s ready to present, you’ve put it out into the universe (or the internet, maybe)… You might just be pleasantly surprised when the opportunity does, in fact, come a’knockin’.
I can’t wait to see yours.