The 3 Magic Ingredients of Amazing Presentations

February 3, 2020

You might have noticed that I’m not writing much on the Phil Presents blog any more. Mostly I’m writing on the Ideas on Stage site, although my colleagues are writing a little more often than I am. And I am trying to finish off my book, The Business Presentation Revolution, which I hope to get published this year at last.

I thought however that I’d stop back here and share my latest online talk, from TEDxSaclay 2019, which has nearly 50,000 views in its first week on YouTube. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out below, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the talk and on the Audience Transformation Roadmap.

By the way, you can get more details and a download of the Audience Transformation Roadmap on the Ideas on Stage website. We’ve shared this simple and powerful tool via a Creative Commons license so anyone can use it.


Top Talk: Bob Davids at TEDxESCP

May 6, 2012

Today, I rolled my lawn. It was a heavy roller and a tough job, but with plenty of effort, I managed it.

I quickly realised that it was much easier pulling the roller than pushing it. Leading people is much the same. If you push them, you don’t really know how they are going to react. But if you inspire them to follow you, then you have a far better chance of getting them to go where you want them to go.

At TEDxESCP 2012, I had the good fortune to work with Bob Davids, a seasoned American entrepreneur and leader, who gave a talk on leadership, with the potentially controversial premise that you can’t manage people – but you can lead them.

Of all the many great speakers at TEDxESCP 2012, I perhaps worked with Bob the least – partly due to schedules and partly because it was clear from our first discussion that he didn’t need much help. (One of the most important skills of an event coach is to work out where you can make the most difference, and allocate your time accordingly.)

We did discuss one important item. It was clear that he didn’t need any slides for his talk, but I asked whether there were any props he could use. He mentioned that he liked the idea of using a chain, which he picked up from General Eisenhower, and I immediately encouraged him to use that if he could.

You’ll see why in the video below. It helps people to remember one of his key messages. (I won’t spoil the surprise – watch it and see.)

Bob is a master storyteller. He speaks slowly, calmly, deliberately, and with the voice of experience. Young people would do well to listen and learn, as younger people have a tendency to speak too quickly. With Bob, you have time to digest his words and thoughts, work out what they mean for you, relate them to your own experience, and store his wisdom.

It was a pleasure to work with Bob even for a short time, and to watch him hold the audience in the palm of his hand – and indeed I have always subscribed to his vision of egoless leadership.

Watch and enjoy. And then please tell me what you thought about his talk.

How To Make A Great TED Talk

March 12, 2012

Recently my company Ideas on Stage was privileged to coach the speakers for TEDxESCP, a fantastic TEDx event at the ESCP business school in Paris. Working with an amazingly diverse group of fine speakers, we produced a show of which I am particularly proud, and with which the students and speakers should also be extremely pleased.

Following this, I have been asked for the recipe for a great TED talk, or indeed, the magic ingredients for any conference speech.

This is not an easy question, since with the ten speakers I coached, we produced some very different talks.

We had Emmy-winning film director Anne Aghion who spoke movingly about her experiences making films in Rwanda and Antarctica, with no slides but a couple of short video clips.

We had Alexandre Marchac who gave a brilliant talk about the advances in reconstructive surgery, illustrated with many photos and a couple of videos and a ‘TED moment’ in that one of his team’s face transplant patients was actually in the room.

We had Martin Kupp, who explained how students should take control of their education using three examples, illustrated by works of art.

We had Olivier Oullier, who used few slides, but did make good use of some amusing photos which completely contradicted what he was saying, and thus making his point about how our brains think one thing while our mouths say another.

We had Laszlo Laufer, who talked about the power of zoom using a Prezi illustration (and for once, one which I actually quite liked).

And we had Isaac Getz, with whom I performed a small sketch during his talk (is that a TED first?), and who ended up by throwing toy monkeys into the audience.

I’ve not even mentioned them all, but that’s already a lot of very different talks. In fact, the event would be rather boring if we used exactly the same formula for each talk. With any presentation, you have to consider the objectives, the context and the audience, and then choose some key messages, a suitable structure and a strategy to communicate each key message.

However, there are some characteristics which these different talks all share, and after much thought I realised that they are exactly the same ones I use to teach what makes a great slide. So here are the five characteristics of a great TED talk.

SCORE - Simple, Clear, Original, Relevant, Enjoyable (©2011 Ideas on Stage)


The first is that the message needs to be simple. In 18 minutes (or less) you don’t have time to deliver anything complex, and your audience wouldn’t get it anyway. Your presentation should not be like a crossword clue, where the audience needs to spend time working out what the answer is and what they should do with it. You should be giving them the answer so the audience can use their brain-time to think about what to do with your message.

In order to be simple, you have to be very clear in your objectives and your messages. First, set your objectives by completing this simple sentence:

“After my presentation, my audience will…”

(Of course the rest of the sentence should not read “…wake up”!)

So for Isaac Getz’s talk about how to liberate your company, the objective may have read:

“After my talk, my audience will want to liberate the power of their companies and their people, and will know the three key steps to implement.”

A last point about simplicity: one thing many of the talks had in common was the number three. Three keys, three steps, three examples… three is a very good number, since we can usually remember three points but rarely many more than three. I could write a whole article about the power of three, and perhaps one day I will.

So keep your message simple.


The next characteristic is clarity. Having a simple message is not enough: it also has to be clear to the audience.

In a slide, clarity is about using text which is big enough to read, about adding text to images so their context and meaning are clear, and about removing unnecessary noise and visual pollution. In the context of the talk, clarity is about giving your talk a clear structure so it is easy for the audience to remember what you said, realise where you are, and have an idea where you are going.

It is also about repetition, because as Lewis Carroll wrote, “What I say three times is the truth”. If you say a key message once, it will be forgotten. Twice is good; three times is better (yes, the number three again). If the audience can remember your key messages and the structure of your talk, then it was clear enough. Even a simple message like “Eat more vegetables” can get lost in a mire of graphs, statistics and boring facts. Don’t let that happen.

If you’re not sure your messages are clear enough, they’re not. Don’t compromise on clarity. Your audience is not psychic, and they are not detectives. They might be smart, but even if they are as clever and perspicacious as Hercule Poirot, your talk should not be an Agatha Christie whodunnit. If the butler did it, say so clearly – ideally three times.


Here is where many TED talks distinguish themselves. We can all remember Bill Gates releasing mosquitoes and Jamie Oliver tipping a wheelbarrow of sugar cubes onto the stage. Those are things that we hadn’t seen before, and they were memorable. So you should try to make your talk original in terms of the way you deliver your messages. There is no rule that says you can’t open a jar of mosquitoes to make people feel the immediacy of malaria. There is no rule that says you can’t use props. There is no rule that says you can’t bring someone else on stage to help you. In fact other than common sense and decency, there’s only one rule: don’t show the audience something they’ve seen before.

Originality is therefore partly in terms of your strategies to communicate your messages memorably, but it is also about the messages themselves. Al Gore gave fine TED talks about global warming, but that’s been done – a TED audience doesn’t want to see yet another talk about global warming, unless there’s some completely new angle to it. So if you want to talk about the reproductive habits of Andean llamas, first search on to see whether somebody’s already done that – and if so, find something different to say.


TED audiences expect new and interesting ideas – “Ideas Worth Spreading”. Audiences at other conferences may have different expectations. A good talk is one which meets or exceeds its audience’s expectations. So for a TED or TEDx event, the message not only needs to be original and simple: it also has to be relevant to the TED audience.

A simple test for this is as follows: at the end of the talk, will anyone in the audience shrug their shoulders and say “So what?” If so, that’s not a good sign.

What you want is that your TED audience thinks at the end “I didn’t know that, and I’m glad I do now” or “I must change how I act” for example.

So your original talk about the reproductive habits of Andean llamas might in fact not be a good subject for a TED talk. If nobody yet talked about your pet subject at TED, perhaps there’s a good reason for it. If the reason is that nobody else yet knows the results of your ground-breaking research, then perhaps you’re on to a winner. If not, ask yourself whether the world really needs to know more about the mating habits of llamas.

A word here to TEDx curators: don’t choose speakers based on how good they are. Choose speakers who have something original and worthwhile to share. Coaches like me can help average speakers to formulate and deliver their great messages memorably. But the greatest coach can’t do much even with the greatest speaker if their story just isn’t worth telling.


The final part is perhaps the most difficult but the most important. People do not pay good money to go to TED to be bored. They want to be entertained, and TED audiences know that if you enjoy something, then you are more attentive; and if you are more attentive, you take more in and remember more.

So you need to entertain your audience. This is partly in what you say and do, and partly in how you say and do it. This is where it is very important to ensure you have a good coach to help with both aspects.

You need to capture their attention at the beginning, and make them want to listen (for more, read my earlier post First Impressions Last). You need to keep their attention by being interesting and passionate, and by saying things in a clear and memorable way. Try to deliver at least one clearly tweetable statement every minute or two.

Use humour whenever you can (and assuming you are good at using humour – make sure it is properly rehearsed). Remember that humour is a high-risk strategy – see more here – but at TED, being humourless is also a high-risk strategy.

Be extremely careful with your slides, if you choose to use any. A long set of bullet-points in the middle of a TED event will stand out like a sore thumb, and simply signal to the audience that they can take their comfort break right away without missing anything worthwhile. SCORE applies just as much to your slides. They need to be simple and clear; original (no over-used clip-art please); relevant to what you are saying; and enjoyable, i.e. well-designed and pleasant to look at. There’s more to say about TED slides but that deserves another post – watch this space.

There’s a way to make anything interesting and enjoyable, if you look hard enough. For example, Isaac Getz’s three steps to liberate your company (1. create an environment for intrinsic equality; 2. create an environment for personal growth; 3. create an environment for self-direction) could have been delivered in an extremely boring business-school-101 manner, with a monotonous voice and no passion. But we found ways to make his talk enjoyable with stories, examples, amusing metaphors, a sketch, toy monkeys and some playing with the audience, and Isaac did a fantastic job in delivering it. I’ll use this an example in an upcoming post once the video is available.

So that’s the last part: make your talk enjoyable.

Simple, Clear, Original, Relevant, Enjoyable. If you can take a simple, original and relevant message, and deliver it in a clear, original and enjoyable way, then you will certainly SCORE with your audience.

With that, you should be well on your way to producing a fantastic TED talk. And if you happen to be speaking at any other conference, putting this into practice will make your talk stand out. And your audience will certainly thank you.

Beyond 10-20-30

December 9, 2011

I like the spirit of Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule. If you’re not familiar with it, take a look at this short entertaining video.

He is basically saying: don’t overload your audience; keep it simple; and use text that’s big enough to be legible by the whole audience. Amen to all that.

However, many people take Guy’s advice out of context and apply it to the letter. Yet Guy was giving advice to entrepreneurs pitching to venture capitalists – a very specific presentation context. He was saying that you should aim to pitch in 20 minutes, with ten slides – and not just any ten slides, but these ten slides (he lists what should be on each slide).

Now for an investor pitch, that’s pretty good advice, although it can be taken to extremes, and I’ve already talked about how you need to go beyond being informative, and also make sure your pitch is memorable.

But the 10-20-30 advice just doesn’t hold up for any other kind of presentation. The spirit is spot-on, and I applaud Guy’s intentions, but you shouldn’t take his advice to the letter – Guy certainly doesn’t follow it religiously in his recent (very good) Enchantment presentations. Here’s why we need to go beyond 10-20-30.

Read the rest of this entry »

TEDx Paris 2011 – An inside (re)view

January 19, 2011

Over a month ago, while we were preparing the speakers for last weekend’s fantastic TEDx Paris 2011, Prof Francine Leca asked us:

But why do you all do this, and for free?

As the conference drew to a close, and Prof Leca brought the audience to its 2000 feet, I wrote her a short message explaining simply:

You are the answer to your own question.

It was simply an amazing experience to be involved with so many remarkable people, speakers and organisers, who were all full of the TED spirit which is a thirst for knowledge, discovery, meaning and above all sharing. Francine Leca is an astounding lady whose charity has saved the lives of 1600 children whose hearts would not have let them live without an operation their families could not afford. She gives and keeps on giving. What could be more TED than that?

I also had the opportunity of working with many of the other speakers, some more than others, but even the little oratory tips clearly helped. One speaker stopped crossing his arms and another stopped clutching his head and umming, just in time for the big event. Judging by the many tweets, nobody found the presentations amateurish, and some even claimed that they were so polished as to be not very French. This shows how much the speakers worked at their delivery as well as their content, and some did make a huge effort.

Some did not want or need coaching. Etienne Klein speaks in public all the time, and passionately hates rehearsing, so there was no point forcing rehearsals on him – but he showed that he didn’t need any help. Catherine Vidal needed no help either, although she did take the time to rehearse with us to be sure she was hitting the right notes. Francine Leca improvised well around a defined framework, but a rehearsal would have eliminated one slight mix-up on the slides.

On the other hand, rehearsals and preparation certainly helped a number of talks. The first time I heard Etienne Parizot, I understood precisely nothing, but I gave him the idea of opening with 3D TV – something people can relate to – and suggested using a prop to explain his concept. He ended up using a different prop (a large cardboard box) which worked excellently, and while his talk was still quite hard to grasp because of the subject matter, the structure was clear and his enthusiasm transported the audience with him into his four-dimensional virtual reality.

Judging by all the comments and tweets, Etienne’s was among the more popular talks of the day, and that’s simply down to strong preparation using powerful storytelling techniques, and a very visible passion for his subject. If only more speakers showed that much passion.

Likewise, the bestselling novelist Bernard Werber was very interested in any ideas and tips to improve his talk, and it ended up being almost unrecognisable from the first draft. Most of the ideas were his, but he benefited from bouncing them off the team members and integrating our suggestions in some cases, and while like most people he didn’t enjoy rehearsing, he realised how much it was helping him to improve his talk. Again, a little more rehearsing might have helped, but overall he did a fine job especially considering he’s not a regular public speaker.

Bernard was another person I felt honoured to work with, and we ended up talking about writing and communicating. It turns out that his method for constructing novels is very similar to the Ideas on Stage method for creating presentations, and he gave me all sorts of writing advice. It is often said that you get out of something what you put into it. I put plenty into TEDx Paris this year, but boy did I get a lot out of it.

In terms of the slides I created for the speakers, my greatest satisfaction was with those for the renowned journalist and editor Jean-Louis Servan-Schreiber. They were clear, simple and attractive, with relevant images, and it was easy for Jean-Louis to handle them and talk to them. We had worked them carefully to have only a small amount of text on each slide, just the key messages, and it was wonderful to see that all those key messages were tweeted and retweeted verbatim.

My overall impression of this edition of TEDx Paris was strongly positive. Of a huge number of tweets, very few were in any way negative, and while different people seemed to appreciate different talks, that’s fine – there was something for everyone, and a whole bunch of fantastic ideas and approaches to take away and share.

The music (from Irma and Djazia, as well as Jacques Dupriez) was excellent, the line-up of speakers was remarkable, and the organisation was top-class (note: I coached speakers and helped with slides, that’s all, so I’m crediting Michel, Sylvain, Xavier and their team and not myself). All in all, an extremely memorable event. TEDx Paris is now an event to be reckoned with, and I can’t wait for the 2012 edition.

We all left the theatre buzzing with ideas, full of energy and motivation, and determined to do something, anything, to share that energy and make the world a better place. That is what TED is all about. As Bernard Werber said at the end of his talk, “Everything good that will happen to our children will be conceived by somebody who’s alive today. Maybe one of you.” Now there’s a call to action…

Photo credits to Olivier Ezratty – his excellent gallery is here.

Review of TEDx Paris Universités 2010

October 19, 2010

Not all of France’s students were demonstrating against the planned raising of the retirement age this Saturday. While thousands were in the streets of Paris fighting like Canute against a tide which is going to come in sooner or later, others were in the nearby Cité des Sciences at the first (and likely not the last) TEDx Paris Universités event.

A small reminder for those who haven’t yet been bitten by the TED bug: TED is the world’s leading conference featuring great presentations by leading stars, scientists and thinkers about practically anything interesting – any ‘idea worth spreading’. No speaker, no matter how important, has more than 18 minutes. The format is so successful that there are now many independently organised events called TEDx events, run under the TED umbrella and following the same format.

This one was organised by a group of students from various Paris universities (hence the name), but it was the first TEDx event anywhere to feature a mix of student speakers and ‘professional’ presenters.

I was there not only as a spectator, but also as a sponsor, since Ideas on Stage lent its support to the event to help prepare the presenters and fine-tune some of the slides. It was a wonderful experience to see such enthusiasm from the organisers, the volunteer helpers and the six student presenters.

There are some great photos of the event on Flickr.


There were a number of very interesting talks, but the most interesting thing to come out of the day from a presentation perspective was this very simple fact on which my business partner Pierre Morsa and I agreed wholeheartedly:

There are two categories of presenters: those who prepare, and those who suck.

Luckily, most of the presenters prepared very well, and none better than the six students who took the stage, each for 9 minutes. Their stories and visuals were well-prepared and they knew them perfectly, and they worked hard at their delivery. They had also worked hard to make the talks interesting and in some cases amusing.

One of the ‘professional’ presenters, Romain Lacombe, worked very hard at his talk and rewrote it at least twice (to my knowledge) after trying it out and receiving feedback. The end result was a great improvement, and showed the value of hard work and careful preparation.

Some other ‘pro’ presenters were also very good. I think in particular of Dominique Sciamma, who prepared well and asked for feedback, and who had created a very interesting talk. Michel Puech also gave a good talk at the end, although it was just as well Pierre Morsa had a chance to rework his slides, which in the end looked as good as text-based slides can. And a special word for Charles Mollet, the ringmaster, who spoke engagingly and convincingly, and is clearly at home on the stage.

Most of the other talks were good without being amazing, but there was one which almost sent me to sleep. This was the presenter who refused to rehearse, who refused to share his slides in advance, and who refused even to share the content of his talk beyond the title. It was hard to watch someone so brilliant deliver such a mind-numbing talk which might have worked in a lab but not at TED. Worse still, he set the bar very high with a title which was all about making science sexy. Yeah, right. I’ve seen sexier snails.

This amazingly talented scientist demonstrated how not to speak engagingly, how not to adapt to your audience, how not to use visual aids, and how not to construct a storyline. It’s quite remarkable that he managed to fit so many lessons into only 16 minutes. Pity they weren’t the ones he wanted to give. Yet he wasn’t a below-average speaker. Most talks are this boring and badly-constructed, and often with even worse slides. But not at TED.

So here’s my advice to event organisers everywhere: if a speaker refuses to rehearse with you, kick him or her out. Quickly. Nobody is too good to rehearse. Steve Jobs rehearses for weeks before one of his big events. TED is a big event. People expect fantastic presentations. And very often, even at the main TED conference, the best talks don’t come from the biggest names.

This event was no exception. The student speakers did the best job – all six of them. We had good PowerPoint slides, better Keynote slides, and two excellent Prezi visuals, all supporting well-constructed talks. In some cases, they could still have benefited from speaking more slowly, but that will come with age and experience.

The best thing though was that they had such passion, and none more so than Halim Madi who deservedly won the contest as best student presenter. His prize: a trip to Palm Springs for the 2011 TED Active event, and a chance to bring his talk to California – and personal coaching from Ideas on Stage to help him translate his talk into English and (of course) rehearse.

As the news coverage of the ongoing pension protests shows, French youth is not short of passion. It was extremely encouraging to see these students put so much of theirs into making this event such a great success. Congratulations and well done to them all: Alexandre Koenig, Elise Melon, Bruno de Saint Ange, Pénélope Liot, Sophie Charlotte Chenard, Victor de Noailly, Edouard Jacquet, Anatole Douaud, Quentin Blanchard, Nicolas Vergnet and all the many many others who were involved, plus the student speakers Alexis Bergès, Arthur Bodolec, Cécilia Durieu, Clément Cazalot, Victor de Noailly and of course the winner Halim Madi. You should all be proud of yourselves.

Now roll on TEDx Paris in January 2011… the bar is set high.

Review of TEDx Paris

February 15, 2010

It’s now been two weeks since I attended TEDx Paris, and it’s a good time to write a review.  Why two weeks later?  Because the fourth key of communication is to be remembered, and it’s an instructive test to see what (if anything) I remember after a certain period of time.

First, a short introduction to TEDx for those of you who have never heard of it.  TED is an increasingly famous conference which brings together famous and/or brilliant people to speak for up to 18 minutes about an ‘idea worth spreading’.  TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design which was the original remit of the conference, but over the years it has expanded its scope to cover a wide range of topics.  Essentially it’s a collection of remarkable presentations from remarkable speakers, and all the ‘talks’ are later made available for free viewing on the web site

So what is TEDx?  The ‘x’ appears to mean ‘external’ and this denotes a conference organized by a third party but which has the same aims and which conforms to the same philanthropic ideals.  The recent TEDx conference in Paris (in French) was one such event.

So what do I remember two weeks on (without cheating and reviewing the talks on the TEDx Paris web site, naturally!), and what are the key learnings from the event regarding communication skills?  I will structure this with a series of awards, not all of which are particularly desirable, but I’ll start with the ones worth winning…

Most Memorable Talk

There were a few excellent talks which stay in the memory.  The best was from a raconteur and radio broadcaster, Soro Solo, who demonstrated the potency of a powerful deep voice combined with a well-constructed story and a healthy dose of humour.  The overall message was one of mutual understanding, with the key takeaway preaching tolerance and mutual understanding: “Your truth and my truth help us both get closer to the truth”.  I can remember practically every detail of his story, and how much I enjoyed listening to it.

Why was it so memorable?  It wasn’t the slides – because he didn’t use any.  He didn’t need any.  It was largely because it was a story, and moreover a personal story, and because he was so entertaining in the way he told it.  Stories are so important because humans are storytelling animals, and stories are like hooks on which we hang our memories.  It’s so much easier for us to remember stories than simple theory.

Best Show Moment

Another talk which was memorable for its personal story was Sarah Kaminsky, who told us about her father’s life as an ethical forger, using his talents to help those deserving and in need of false papers.  This talk also benefited from the revelation at the end that her father Adolfo was in fact in the front row, and joined her on stage to a standing ovation.  Steve Jobs always tries to incorporate a memorable moment – I call these “show moments” – in his presentations, and this was a great example.  Furthermore, Sarah was a very comfortable and talented communicator, and the story was well told and worth hearing.

Best Visuals

A presentation remarkable for its visuals was an explanation of black holes which used good clear slides with videos to illustrate the science.  This went down very well.  Sadly it was the only set of stunning visuals on show.  More on that later.

Most Uplifting Endings

I appreciated Gildas Bonnel’s talk about ethical communication and advertising.  This was well delivered and enjoyable, and ended with a message of hope and motivation which was uplifting and inspiring.  I also very much enjoyed the closing speech by “Vinvin” (Cyrille de Lasteyrie) which was amusing and well-crafted, and a well-chosen way to end the conference.

Most Awakening Moment

A real highlight was an American performer called Sly Johnson who woke us up after the break with a breathtaking song using a special repeater mixing box which allowed him to record bars of music and then play them back while he sang and recorded something new.  I first saw a performer do this as the warm-up act at a Cure concert some years back, and it’s still just as entertaining.  Sly was exceptional.  And very well done to the organizers for choosing to put him on just after the break.

What Was The Point? Awards

These awards go to presenters I remembered (which is already a start), but either I can’t remember what they said, or I haven’t worked out why they were there.

There was an architect who told us about her quest to adopt a Brazilian child and help the favela-dwellers, which was certainly personal but not really an ‘idea worth spreading’.  There was an entrepreneur who told us about his different businesses, which was not especially memorable and I can’t remember the point of his talk.  François Taddeï had ideas about education, which were probably quite good, although I really can’t remember what they were.  And there was an Argentinian who spoke for quite some time, in an extremely entertaining and enjoyable way, but I have no recollection at all of what he was saying or why.

Worst Audio Blunders

On the negative side, there were a few could-do-better moments.  For example, if you’re going to use a lot of microphones, make sure the ones backstage are switched off during the talks.  Equally, make sure they are properly installed: one presenter had his mike too close to his cheek, and it kept scraping against it which made an awful noise. (Oddly that talk isn’t yet online – I wonder if it will make it…)

Most Painful Slides

In terms of visuals, there were some pretty awful examples.  There should be a UN resolution banning the use of Comic Sans in any serious event, and it was particularly galling for a slide guru like me to see both the dreaded Comic Sans and the avoidable Times New Roman on the same slide… two cardinal sins, and the mixture made three.  It hurt.  I won’t name and shame online, especially since the lady in question is apparently doing fantastic things in medicine and deserves credit for that, but sadly I was so distracted by the ugly slides that I had trouble listening and don’t quite know what fantastic things she’s doing.  Simple lesson: it doesn’t matter how good a speaker you are or how good your speech is – if you put some awful-looking slides on the wall behind you, you lose respect, credibility and attention.


Overall, there were a few great presentations, some OK ones, and some less good ones.  If I use the analogy of a music album, TED is the equivalent of a compilation of chart-toppers, whereas TEDx Paris was more of a studio album – some potential singles, and a lot of filler tracks.  It was also a complete mixture of genres, without any noticeable theme, which was probably the intention but which still seemed odd to me.

If I were to give some advice to the organisers for next time, it would be as follows:

  • pay more attention to switching off backstage microphones
  • be more selective regarding the choice of presenters and subjects
  • get an expert to prepare all the visuals and ideally to assist the presenters to make their talks memorable
  • allow some more time for networking

Equally, particularly considering that this was organized by volunteers, it would be unfair to be too harsh: they got most things right, handled the logistics impeccably, and it was a worthwhile event, so thanks and well done to Michel and the team.

If you speak French, you can view many of the talks at the TEDx Paris web site.  If you were there, or you’ve seen the videos, what was your impression?  Your comments are very welcome.  Thanks for reading.

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