TED’s Excellent Adventure
By Kelsey Judd, Intern
TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a U.S. private nonprofit foundation well renowned for its conferences held in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. They are enthusiastically devoted to what they call “Ideas Worth Spreading.”
Over the last four years, more than 300 million viewers worldwide have watched their conference talks that are posted after the conferences on TED.com. From a PR stance, the best way to help clients is by building rapport by allocating appropriate exposure through various forms of media. TED.com is doing just that, and is paving a new road for ideas. One of my responsibilities as a Fusion PR intern is to locate tradeshows for our clients to attend. I look at TED and think “Fusion’s clients need to be featured by TED. Our clients have ideas worth spreading.” Anyone, not just PR professionals, can nominate a speaker through the speaker recommendation form.
TED speakers use superb PR skills to influence others’ opinions. They take topics (not always easily understood) and make them clear, straightforward, and spellbinding. Within the PR world, clients may specialize in areas hard to comprehend, and it is our job to make sure the public understands what our clients are all about. Most recently, I learned about cutting edge technology for doctors from a talk on TED.com. I’m not an expert in explaining virtual autopsies, but thanks to Anders Ynnerman’s TED talk, I’m almost there!
TED speakers are riveting and engaging because they generally use conversational language, just simple and direct. Having a “mind opening” experience is not possible if the subject is not understood. Ynnerman and so many other TED speakers effectively employ this method of speaking to spread their message. It’s an important skill that PR professionals use on a daily basis and that we can all learn from.
I was introduced to TED.com three years ago from a professor. Looking at it now from a PR perspective, I salute TED for being a successful outlet that exposes remarkable thinkers and doers. To be able to explain virtual autopsies like Ynnerman did is a skill and technique that not all of us have yet obtained.