I don’t think I’ve ever given a speech that went exactly as planned, but my TED Talk was definitely a manifestation of Murphy’s Law (“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”). Despite having run through the speech before class, I managed to omit a key point from my introduction. Then I continued talking until I could no longer feasibly work it back into the speech. Perhaps I should have slowed down and reworked my introduction on the fly, but, in retrospect, there are some simple measures I could have taken to counteract my forgetfulness.
Looking back at similar speeches (5 minutes without notes) that I had to give for an Engineering Design course, I realized where I went wrong. While I took a similar approach in preparing for the TED Talk, familiarizing myself with the information and data that I wanted to present so that I could support my main points, I changed my approach with the key points themselves. The Engineering Department teaches a presentation format called Assertion-Evidence; it’s a simple premise: you make a statement, then back it up. Presentations in this format are usually accompanied by PowerPoint Presentations with a slide for each assertion, plainly stating the point to be made.
I designed my TED slideshow to show supporting evidence for each of the main points that I planned to make, but did not include the points themselves. Having headings or titles that would have indicated the point I needed to make and breaking the presentation into a greater number of slides, each with more specific information, would have helped me remain on point and prevented the omission of important information. From now on, I’ll try sticking to what I know works when it comes to oral presentations. My TED Talk is linked below: