A few weeks ago, the annual Mashable Connect conference took place in Orlando. The most committed communications gurus attended and presented to the audience.
One of the talks that has captured the attention of the social media outlets has been the presentation given by June Cohen, TED’s Executive Producer of TED Media (@junecohen). June talked about how TED’s brand has evolved, particularly in the last couple of years, and which were the key elements that allowed for this brand to become a global phenomenon embraced by many individuals committed to the sharing of ideas worth spreading.
Having attended the TEDxSummit in Doha last month, I can tell you that TED is a magnet for like-minded people. Individuals who are innovative, energetic, love learning and are committed, are the kind of people that gravitate towards TED and its brand. So how did they do it? How was TED able to attract such a talented crowd? Here are few of the tips June accredits for this success:
- Feed the Hunger of Participation.
People want to participate in inspiring/life-changing sensations. TED was able to become a global marvel for 2 reasons: (a) it was able to recruit the best inspirational minds; and (b) it empowered them to participate in the process by allowing volunteers to translate talks, recreate events in their hometowns, and engage in communities of practice (for lack of a better word) that are constantly providing feedback to each other.
2. Encourage Sharing
This one is my favorite since knowledge sharing is one of my favorite areas of expertise. Currently, TED has about 1200 talks that have been viewed, on average, 800 million times!! June explained that social media has, without a doubt, played a crucial role in the sharing of ideas. She also explained how they were flexible with their knowledge sharing strategy, always embracing new trends in an effort to reduce the hurdles between the ideas and their community.
3. Listen to your users
In my opinion, TED has been incredibly successful because they listen to us. At the TEDxSummit, one of things that was constantly stressed was that they have brought us together so we can learn from each other, but also because they (the TED core team) wanted to learn from us. This is a key element to outstanding leadership! One of my favorite quotes from June was that she said that “No one has monopoly over good ideas” and that is why they are compelled to listen to their audience to whom she accredited most of their best innovative ideas.
4. Reach people everywhere
TED saw their ability to reach people everywhere and not just online. They expanded their platform to allow individuals to recreate a TED event in their own community. These are the world famous TEDx events (organizers, we call ourselves “Tedxers”). TED really empowered individuals to come together and organize these events. At the same time, this allowed TED to continue spreading their message to broader audiences. It was a win-win situation!
5. Telling a story
The way in which TED has reinvented the conference has been outstanding. The best trick of it is “storytelling”. The most inspiring talks are the ones telling a story to which people can relate and engage in the process. During the TEDxSummit, I took an action lab with Chris Anderson, TED’s curator, in which he talked about the “A, B, Cs of a terrible TED Talk”. One of these points was “not telling a story”. He stressed the importance of presenting what you can share with the world in your own way. Telling a story and making it authentic. And this has been TED’s greatest success: allowing individuals to tell their personal stories while inspiring and moving others.
6. Engage Emotionally
This, I think we all can very well relate. When we engage with something we believe in, we fall in love with those projects (and in this case, the TED core team is genuinely in love with their jobs. I can attest to that!)the results are overwhelmingly positive. TED is a good example of that.
Another point that was constantly stressed during the TEDxSummit and that June pointed out in her presentation is to never lose focus. We should concentrate and envision what we want the outcomes to be.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why TED has become a global phenomenon. Do you have other ideas on how TED became a successful venture? Do share!