Here at TED, we firmly believe that getting good feedback is critical in the development of an effective presentation. A common mistake is getting feedback just in the final phase of developing a Talk, when you have a fully fleshed presentation to share. However, it’s important to get input throughout the development process, not just at the end. Getting feedback on your core idea, before you’ve scripted it out, can be the most helpful step in your preparation.
In the TED Masterclass course, we guide learners through an iterative process to express the core idea of their Talk. It is the single anchoring thesis upon which the entire Talk is built, to which each piece of the Talk should directly connect. Our process includes a series of checkpoints that result in a unique, actionable core idea that reflects the experiences and credibility of the speaker.
At that point, it’s especially important to get feedback. If your core idea is doing its job, you should be able to say it out loud to three totally different people, ask them what they expect your Talk to be about, and receive three similar responses that are accurate and precise. If you ask three people and get three completely different answers, then your core idea might be too broad or vague. But if you get three similar (and accurate) responses, then you know you’re on your way to developing something that is more likely to be both cohesive and compelling.
That’s why our latest update to the course focuses on that key step - getting feedback on your core idea. In the course, we now include a way to email your friends for feedback without ever leaving the app.
It’s a small change, but hopefully one that makes it that much easier for learners to get input at a pivotal point in their Talk development. Getting to a clear core idea facilitates the rest of your Talk development process. But not only that -- developing a clear core idea guides you to the only thing that truly matters in public speaking: having something worth saying.