Upcoming Talk at TEDx

Upcoming Talk at TEDx

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A quick post letting you know that I will be talking at TEDxCMU on April 3, 2011 at the Pittsburgh campus of Carnegie Mellon University, USA. Tickets are free but must be reserved.

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There will be a varied mix of speakers on the day; Michealene C. Risley, Charlie Hoehn, Luis Von Ahn and more to be announced. You can follow TEDxCMU on Twitter to hear the latest speaker announcements.

Videos will be will be made available for free after the event.



If you haven’t heard, TEDxCMU is an independently-organized TED event that takes place at Carnegie Mellon University. TED is an annual conference held in California that brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers, doers, and makers who are challenged to give the talk of their lives in just 18 minutes. TEDx is a program that allows communities to design their own TED-like events. We’re looking to push boundaries in terms of the quality of speakers we invite, the atmosphere of the event, and the amount of people our ideas can reach.

Be sure to bookmark these 30 inspirational TED talks on design & creativity.

The Theme: Im Possible

How can we turn the seemingly impossible into the possible? TEDxCMU is challenging our speakers to give a passionate talk that explores challenges in their lives and how they turn challenges into opportunity. We think that hardships and challenges are what society thrives on. Breaking these barriers is what sets people apart and allows them to inspire the next generation.


This will be my largest speaking event thus far (400 people) and I’ve only got 3 weeks to prepare but I am brushing up on my public speaking tips and doing what I can in the limited time I have available. Do you have any advice or links to relevant articles?

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My Past Speaking Engagements:

  • Boston University PRSSAPR Advanced: Brand Yourself” conference, Feb 27th 2010, along side representatives from Dunkin’ Donuts, JetBlue, Wholefoods, Boston Red Sox and more.
  • NYC College of Technology “Meet The Pros 2.0” conference, March 4th 2010.
  • Birla Institute of Technology and Science University, India. Via WebCam, 2009.

11 thoughts on “Upcoming Talk at TEDx”

  1. Too many challenges… not enough coffee. Or time. Possibly that’s the key (missing) ingredient!

  2. Just received an email with some tips. I’ve shared here with permission:

    ey Jacob, I just got back from the TED conference, and go to quite a lot of similar conferences.

    A few observations.

    – The bar for TED Talks is that someone gets on the stage and says “look at this interesting shit I’m doing”.

    – The talks I talk about all week are the ones where the person gets on the stage and says “look at this interesting shit I’m doing and here’s why I’m passionate about it”

    – The talks I’ll talk about all year are the ones where the person gets up there and says “look at this interesting shit I’m doing and here’s why I’m passionate about it AND here’s why *you* should care about it”

    So although the theme appears to be how you turn challenges into opportunity, try to weave a bit about how others can incorporate your ideas into their lives.

    If you’re going to use slides, obviously don’t just read from them – they should augment your talk, not reiterate it. If you’re crap at Powerpoint/Keynote, I’d recommend that you have them done by some pros.

    Be conversational. Be vulnerable. But most of all, be passionate about what you’re talking about.

    Good luck.

    Ian Tuck

  3. This is great! Good luck, Jacob!

    I think the most important thing to remember about public speaking is to have clear communication.

    As long as your information is easy to digest and compelling, it doesn’t really matter how nervous you are. As long as you look like you really believe in what you are saying and are clear, you can’t do terrible.

  4. Hi Jacob,

    What a great challenge!

    There’s some tips from my past press conferences I’ve done (It’s not the same thing, but well…):

    – Speak slowly. And clearly.
    -Practice in front of people, as if you were with your audience. (If you speak too fast in practice, you’ll speak too quickly in the conference too.)
    – If you stammer, rephrase your sentence, but do not apologize. Do not talk about your mistake.
    – Your sentences should be shorter in oral than written – otherwise, your audience will be lost.

    That’s all what I think. You have past experience in this field. Have you ever done a personal debriefing shortly after them ? Reflect on your good shots and your bad ones, what might be improved…

    I wish you good luck!


    (Sorry for my English, it’s not my mother tongue. :))

  5. In addition to what Nadia has said, here are a few more things to keep in mind.

    Make sure your speech is extemporaneous and not recalled word-for-word because your audience will know if you’re trying to rehearse your entire speech. The use of slide presentations can help but only state key points you can briefly explain.

    In case you may end up thinking of what to say next, remember that a bit of pausing is much better than using the “um” or “uh” words. If you don’t try to avoid those filler words, you run the risk of losing your audience’s attention.

    But I know most importantly, just relax and have fun with it. Due to all of your hard work, you deserve the spot light so remember that you earned this opportunity to inspire the next generation!

    I had one of the most influential public speaking professors in college and each lecture was a remarkable performance in terms of human communication.

    Good luck with the conference and looking forward to watching the videos!

    Jamie Wayne

  6. Jacob,

    This is awesome. I love it when speakers share personal experiences that move me, inspire me and make me feel the same emotion. I think that’s awesome, if you can do that for the audience. There is a TED speaker I noticed recently for this specific reason is Neil Pasricha.

  7. Wow, that’s awesome! Congrats and best of luck!

    Btw, how did you get to speak at this event? Did they just contact you or are you a member of TED?

  8. This is fantastic! I had to do a double take. I’m at CMU studying design and I’ve been reading your blog since…I don’t even know. Maybe three years ago? A long time ago. Before I actually decided to pursue design. I can’t wait to hear you speak! You’ll be great! Best of luck.

  9. Thank you for the tips Zachary, Nadia! I’m still in the process of writing the speech which doesn’t leave much time for practice but anyway, we will see how it goes.

    They just contacted me, I don’t think you can become a member?

    Thanks Maggie!

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