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Starting from very humble beginning in 1984, TED today has become the final word in Public Speaking worldwide. The mission is to spread ideas but interestingly enough only successful ideas find a place there or some ideas which are bound to break the glass ceiling basing on the speakers immense expertise on the topic. Though it connotes Technology, Entertainment and Design, in reality it covers anything under the sun. These broadly 18 minute power packed talks makes you believe that you can deliver the world in such a small span of time. The nature of the medium and the branding can make a speaker a celebrity in no time.

The impact of the platform can be gauged from the fact that TED itself was saved by one such talk on the TED forum by Chris Anderson, Head of TED since 2001. In his book TED Talks he has titled this episode as, “The Day Ted Might Have Died,” fifteen mins of public speaking that transformed all. He says, “I had prepared carefully what I wanted to say, and I knew there were some in the audience desperate for TED to survive. If I could just give those supporters a reason to get excited, perhaps they would turn things around.” And it happened, first to support was Jez Bezos sitting in the centre of the audience. Rest is history.

Graduating to 24/7 technology platform, a video one, neatly done, opened a completely new audience giving them the comfort of time and location. The reach became global and so did it’s influence. TEDx a variant to it is hosted all across the globe. The reach of ideas moves a stage further. TED while being the world’s best public speaking platform has become one of it’s kind knowledge repository; structured, formatted and indexed, ready to use. The authenticity is beyond question. And the speakers have been the best proponents and mostly the best practitioners of their ideas as well. What better place to learn? In the jungle of the internet, what better should a student or a researcher look for.

Content based on hand on expertise, preparation worthy of the public speaking engagement, a transcript to support and a delivery with clarity of language and the ability to reach the hearts and minds of the audience with both courage & conviction will forever remain the mantra of public speaking. From The Art of Public Speaking by Dale Carnagey in 1915 to TED Talks by Chris Anderson, the world has been trying to unravel the art of the most compelling communication medium.


Sanjay Sahay

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