Ted Talks… Why Don’t You?

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Some of the coolest speeches you can find online are TED talks. 

In case you aren’t already familiar with them, TED talks ( with the motto “Ideas worth spreading”) are spectacular speeches given by prominent, or important and possibly famous, figures who are worth taking advice from: for example, Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and many more like them. TED Conferences LLC are the people behind TED talks. Not only are there the globally focused talks that they organize, but there are also TEDx talks, which are regional and focus on local voices, and TED-Ed talks, which are more of a youth and educational initiative. Many kids give TED talks through  independently organized TEDx events, often though schools. I even know some kids from my classes who have given TEDx talks!

Also, as a side note, while many TED talks are inspiring and amazing in general, some may be inappropriate for younger people. If so, it is often labeled as such, but please talk to your parent(s) or an adult before watching these talks. TEDx talks are usually a little better, because they are meant for educational purposes, but still: always ask an adult first. Speaking of appropriate TED talks, here is a list compiled on the TED website of TED talks to watch with kids: Talks to watch with Kids TED playlist).

Since TED-Ed talks are often (but not always!) just animation on a screen, with a narrator that you can’t see, they are usually more useful as educational videos than models for learning how to use things like body language to your advantage. So, instead, we’ll focus on TEDx talks. We have selected some of the most appropriate, useful, and inspiring TEDx talks we could find, and using these, we’ll learn more about the techniques these speakers used, such as body language and humor. Also, here’s a cool fact: all of the talks we picked are ones done by kids and young people like you! Video links to YouTube and the timestamps are provided below. (Enjoy!) :   

Sample Videos and Insights:

The Mindset of a Champion | Carson Byblow | TEDxYouth@AASSofia

  • 0:48 Carson acted out with hand motions how Michael Jordan had the “mindset” to get better. 
  • 3:43 Did you notice how Carson said “Well, guess what?” Notice how Carson puts emphasis on this phrase through facial expressions and arm movement.
  • 4:26 Carson stressed the “why” in the sentence twice. This is an effective vocal variety technique- using a phrase multiple times to put stress on a point.

What Growth Mindset Means for Kids | Rebecca Chang | TEDxYouth@Jingshan

Though this isn’t often addressed, using a power point helps put a point across, and is technically a form of a prop. Most TED talks involve Powerpoint, Google Slides, or other types of digital slide presentations.

  • 1:57-2:17 Rebecca lightened the mood and made the audience by showing how she responded to the challenge before she had a growth mindset.
  • 3:08-3:23 Again, look how Rebecca incorporates humor into her speech by making a funny joke.

Lemons to lemonade | Senna | TEDxEncinitas

  • 0:38 Notice how Senna refers to a picture on her presentation to help the audience imagine the scene. She also uses hand gestures to help smoothly transition the focus of the audience from her to the picture on the screen.
  • 1:18 Senna emphasized turning the sourness of lemons to the sweetness of lemonade with hand gestures.
  • 1:31 Senna uses a slight smile to almost subconsciously communicate how she felt when she got an idea.

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