Preparing for my 3 minutes on the ‘Red Circle’ by Tim Kelly

We've asked three of the Pop-up Talks participants to write a post about their experience with process of preparing and giving a Pop-up Talk. Tim Kelly was one of the brave speakers to go up the "Red Circle" and sharing his idea with the audience that came earlier that morning. 


"My experience of preparing for my pop-up talk. Overall I like presenting (once I get through the first 15-30 seconds and my nerves settle), and combined with just starting a blog this year I felt like I had something that I could talk about.  And the three minute format was a relatively low risk way to have the TED experience, so I went for it! 

But translating my thoughts into an interesting and engaging talk was interesting.  We hear that using storytelling is a great way to give a talk but it also takes some creativity to find that place for a story, to have it come across as natural and also linked and in fact support the point of the talk.

The hardest part was memorizing it and ensuring I was making all the points I wanted to.  It’s really different running through it in your head versus standing up and saying it out loud.  I would practice it on my walk to and from the tram each day the week before TEDxBasel.  I had a pretty funny moment when I was practicing out loud while doing yard work and my wife came up behind me and wanted to be sure I was OK or just talking to myself (yes and yes).  And I practiced it in front of my twelve year old son, who was great with his honest feedback.

The morning of the talk I definitely had butterflies in my stomach, especially when I saw I was first on the list to present – yikes!   I met a number of the other ‘Pop-up speakers’ as we were gathering near the podium and there was an instant and very supportive community – I even borrowed someone’s water bottle when I needed a quick sip as my throat dried up.  While the format was really casual, standing on a one-meter block was pretty limiting for someone who likes to walk while presenting. And in the back of my mind was the threat of being cut-off at 3 minutes sharp!

It took me a moment to adjust the microphone so it wasn’t at my chin, which gave me those few seconds to get the lump out of my throat and start into the talk.  I wanted to look around at everyone there, to try to connect my message with them, while also remembering each word and point of what I had worked to memorized.  I knew there were a few places too where I’d had a tough time remembering the exact words, but it came out OK.  People were spread across a 90 degree arc around the lobby, and even some people up on the stairs, but the words kept coming out.  In the back of my mind I did remember the clock – 3 minutes isn’t long and since I was going first they could use me as the example to cut off the mic – so I did skip a few phrases that I could have, in hindsight, kept in.  And I also missed the chance to slow down just a little bit more and talk like I felt it rather than as something I memorized, so things to remember for next time.  But it felt great to get to the end, to have people looking and nodding, and affirming they had understood my points, and to hear that clapping afterwards as I stepped off the podium and back into the crowd.  Done!

So what did I learn afterwards?  I was so flattered to get votes from people supporting my talk, wow, because I was really inspired by some of my co-presenters topics.  And three minute limit was tough to get momentum and connect with the audience – but it’s a good challenge and a fun way to extend the “TED talk” experience to more people."

If you want to learn more about the idea he shared, check his blog Under the Curve.