Student/Customer Mail: TJ is too Simplistic

(Email from a student in my How to Give a Ted Talk Online Course)

Dear TJ,

I applaud all your achievements- they are awesome! But I would like to be honest about the video content. Unfortunately I found them all to be very basic and common sense practises. I understand that common sense is not always common practice for many but I was genuinely disappointed by the video content, I expected a lot more advanced expert advice. I am going to now read all the e-books in hope of finding some added value 🙁


Dear Halim,

Thanks for taking my course and taking the time to give feedback.

You are right in that much of my advice is common sense. But you are wrong in your assertion that “common sense is not always common practice.”

The problem isn’t that the common sense advice I suggest isn’t normally or always followed. The problem is that it isn’t followed 99.999999% of the time. It’s actually extremely rare for people to follow the basic principles I have outlined:

1. Focus on no more than 5 ideas.
2. Illustrate each message with a story.
3. Don’t use text on any slide, use photos only.
4. Practice your speech on video until you love what you see.

By the way, you mention that all of my advice is essentially normal and typical. There are 10,000 books on public speaking on amazon. Many suggest videotaping yourself when rehearsing. But how many suggest that the most important thing is to keep re-doing the video and watching the speech until you love your own speech? That is an advanced tip that you will rarely find and it is one that solves virtually every speaking problem. Have you ever tired it?

If you follow the tips I advocate in my class, my bet is that you will be perceived as “advanced” and as a highly skilled public speaker. Quite often, it is the quest for some sort of advanced tip, or gimmick or app, or PPT special effect that causes most speakers to lose site of the fundamentals of delivering a good speech.


TJ Walker

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