TEDxColumbus Saves the Cat

Two weeks ago we produced the second TEDxColumbus.  Huzzah!!!  A wonderfully moving and inspiring afternoon of 13 different short talks and performances over 5 hours.  I adored helping talented, articulate people find their inner voice to share their riveting ideas.   And from our feedback and evaluations, we gave 400 enlightened audience members a moment (or two, or ten!) that they’ll likely not forget.

My observations to this exhausting but exhilarating experience was similar to last year:  those speakers that took the time to answer one key question, use slides only to support (not tell), and killed all their ‘little darlings’ resonated with the audience best.

But unlike last year,  I overlaid each talk with an additional storytelling lens and found came up with another predictor of success.  For each topic being addressed, I asked myself do they have a hero and a villain?  Do they have a path that people will follow and cheer for?  Do they address primal needs that the audience can relate to?    Sure enough, the same questions that screenwriters answer for full-length screenplay pitch also applies to a 15 minute TEDx talk.

Instead of “Tell me a story about a guy who…” I just inserted “Tell me a story about an idea which…”  Thanks to author Blake Snyder of Save the Cat, I’ve got one more way to help our speakers excel not only at how they tell their story, but what they tell.   No wonder when TED was founded, it was halfway between Silicon Valley and Hollywood.

To see the amazing array of TEDxColumbus talks from this year’s event, click here.  We’ll let you be the judge which ones became superheroes to the audience.