How to beat the TED time limit: Fellows give 20-second TEDTalks


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012, June 23, 2012, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: Ryan Lash

It’s been an intense first full day for the TEDGlobal Fellows, starting with a morning workshop on public speaking from coach Richard Mullholland. The South African former roadie’s methods were rapid-fire and unconventional -– at one point he ended up on all fours on a table! But he helped the Fellows work through the TED speaker’s biggest bugaboo, the time limit, by asking them to reframe their talks in a new way, via a statement framed as “You know … ? / Well …” As he said: “If you can make your presentation interesting in 20 seconds, 4 minutes will seem easy.” The results are riveting:

You know how when you’re 10 minutes away from the presentation of your life and your device has stopped working and you can’t get tech support on the phone? Well, I support and promote open-source practices which will allow you to fix those problems yourself. – Catarina Mota

You know how when you listen to rap music and every rapper wants to rep their hood? Well, my hood is planet Earth. (Laughter) – Hakeem Oluseyi

You know how when you read the newspaper and you have no idea what’s going on halfway around the world, because all you see are depressing statistics, death, and suffering? Well, what I do is photograph these stories so you can put a human face to what’s happening. – Ed Ou

You know you just wish they had a product, a service or a solution? What I do is think about products and make them a reality. – Bel Pesce

So you know when you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere with no access to transport? We provide that transport, and we do it in Africa. – Joel Jackson

You know when you’re playing basketball, football, any kind of sport, and you get injured, and then the doctors tell you, “Let’s see if there is cartilage damage,” and you hope there’s not, but usually there is? Well, I work on the ways to treat the damage. – Ivana Gadjanski

You know how people complain that today’s society is experiencing an information overload thanks to the internet and social media? Well, what I do is try to show people what is possible with access to all this unlimited knowledge and how it can be used to make works of art. – Aman Mojadidi

You know when you’ve been arbitrarily imprisoned, tortured, rejected by society, and every day is a living hell? I work to bring you dignity and hope through, health, education, justice, and reintegration. – Alexander McLean

Do you know when you see dead people on the street and you do nothing about it? I spray graffiti on the walls of Cairo to create awareness about the revolution. – Bahia Shehab

Let’s say you’re in a car accident in the middle of Africa and the nearest hospital that could treat you was 10 hours away? Well, what we do is provide air ambulances to take you to the nearest hospital. – Ola Orekunrin

You know how in the movies and on TV you see the police and other government agencies spying on people? Well, I try and expose the methods that they use to do that and encourage companies to protect you from that surveillance. – Christopher Soghoian

You know when people have great ideas, but these ideas die with them and nobody else can use them? I turn them into usable knowledge for the rest of the planet. – Salvatore Iaconesci

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