Lessons Learned From Giving a TEDx Talk

There are quite a few rules when it comes to giving a TED talk. Talk for no longer than 18 minutes. Stay on or near the red circular carpet as much as you can. Remain in the audience throughout the conference. Head backstage to mic up just before your turn. Make sure that your topic is genuine. Make sure that you've got an idea worth spreading. Make it good. Slides are optional but encouraged. Don't wear formal attire, and definitely skip white or patterns so that you don't look like a blob in your video. Don't ask the audience any questions unless they're rhetorical. And according to the TED talk I watched on how to give a good TED talk, don't ever say the words "the United States of America" or you'll lose the audience right then and there.

When I was asked to speak at TEDxNaperville, I went out of my mind with excitement. I've been a TED fan and advocate for years. I incorporate a TED talk in each newsletter I send to my membership and in each email to my Dad. They are the most educational, awe-inspiring talks I've ever watched. And now I had to give one?

On 11/11/11, I gave said TED talk. I delivered one called "Why Moms Make The Best Entrepreneurs." It takes the audience through three of my entrepreneurial stories and it invokes three lessons to ensure that everyone knows exactly why moms make the best entrepreneurs. I shot for two parts tongue-in-cheek, three parts autobiographical and one part statistics. I aimed to get the message across that entrepreneurship does include an entire sector of the population not commonly thought of as business people -- and that even we busy moms can build companies of our own.

Was I nervous? Unbelievably so. I've been on a stage hundreds of times in my life, but nothing gave me as many butterflies as this task did. I adhered to almost all of TED's policies (I went over the 18-minute limit by 22 seconds), and being on the other side, I now realize those rules were very well thought out. They're tailored to the limits that those of us with ADHD, OCD, PTSD, CAPD, CTS and LBP all have. The conference flows tremendously easily, and keeping speakers in the audience really mixes it up from the traditional pedestal-driven conferences that we've been to before.

I've only been able to watch the video once -- don't you hate the sound of your own voice? -- but it's spectacular to add to my resume and share my message with anyone who can get to YouTube. Have a mouse? You can get there, too -- click here.

Jill Salzman

Jill Salzman is currently growing her third entrepreneurial venture, The Founding Moms, the world’s first and only kid-friendly collective of monthly meetups for mom entrepreneurs.  A graduate of Brown University and law school, she started a music management firm and then launched a baby jewelry company before creating her current venture. Jill has been featured in national media outlets including People Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Daily Candy Kids, NBC5 and WGN TV. She is the author of Found It: A Field Guide for Mom Entrepreneurs, a columnist for NBC Chicago,  and she gave her own TED talk on 11/11/11. In her spare time, Jill enjoys kloofing, baking, and erasing her daughters’ crayon artwork from the kitchen walls.

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