Presentation Formats

How long is each talk?

Mostly 9, but sometimes 15 minutes. It is a requirement of the TED Conferences that no presentation may exceed 18 minutes. Beyond that, each TEDx event chooses its own structure.

5 minutes 9 minutes 18 minutes

At TEDxFultonStreet 2016, we are only using 9-minute and 15-minute blocks. The day will be divided into three sessions, and we will announce the exact schedule on the day of the event.

This allows for last-minute changes in the speaker lineup, such as making room for a presentation about a breakthrough discovery just days or weeks before our event!

What is the overall structure of a normal presentation at TEDxFultonStreet?

The speaker must have personally created a new form of Technology or Entertainment or Design. The talk must be a never-before-seen presentation which explores it.

Some TEDx events may feature talks which have the format of “here’s an idea which I wish more people would follow,” but TEDxFultonStreet is about learning directly from the source – the stage is reserved for people who have changed the world, not those who hope to (however admirable they may be).

A good structure is:

  • What new Technology or Entertainment or Design has the speaker personally invented?
  • For whom has it changed the world, and how? (if it’s a business change, still best to show from a human perspective – perhaps a business owner)
  • Show it doing something that could not be done previously. (could be by video if necessary, such as “passenger plane powered by solar panels” or by software demo, such as “show an animated realtime heatmap of trending hashtags on twitter”)
  • Discuss any or all of these:
    • The personal journey of taking this from a concept to a working version
      Examples of the invention in action – look at all the lives it has touched
    • Great ways the audience members can use the invention (personally or in business)
    • Visions for the future – the inventor’s view of what radical transformations the invention will foster (i.e. “now that our $5 mobile app has made a breakthrough in lie detection, first dates will never be the same”)
    • Visions for the future – next inventions along the same lines, perhaps much bigger or much smaller. (i.e. a demo of a new jet engine might be followed by a prediction of “and in 10 years this will get us to Mars” or “in 10 years this will replace your skateboard”)
  • One take-away message in the form of a revelation, such as:
    • “A-ha, I just learned a clever trick that lets me use Google for basic sentiment-tracking, for free and instantly, without having to implement a big package! Also cool to see what can be done on the big corporate scale.”
    • “Holy moley, Twitter is now being used for smartphone health monitors to broadcast encrypted realtime biodata? Maybe my firm could create an app that uses this data. Or maybe I should sign up for one of these services, for the safety of my family members.”
    • “Wow, in the US there are over 8 million current victims of human trafficking? And all I need to do is look for certain types of suspicious activity in my community, then call a toll-free number to report it anonymously? I’m going to make sure my neighbors all know about this.”
    • “Paper towels have a lighter carbon footprint than reusable cloths, because of the water usage and the detergent runoff? I had no idea that ‘wasting trees’ on paper goods might actually be ‘saving more trees’ because of other consequences.”

    Presentation Formats at TEDxFultonStreet

    Will anything be pre-recorded?

    Each session will also include a screening of one ‘official’ TED Talk. This is a requirement of the TEDx license, and also a great idea – it enables us to share some world-class content from individuals who might not be available to speak in person.

    Otherwise, the answer is “no”. Presenters will only be permitted to screen brief segments of movies if they are brief excerpts which are essential for illustrating or supporting another part of their talk.

    The “TED Experience” is about original debut talks, and TEDxFultonStreet supports that philosophy whole-heartedly. None of the live speakers will be permitted to “recycle” presentations which may have been seen elsewhere.