Ask the Expert: How to get a TEDx Talk with Adam Lewis Walker | POP 734

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A photo of Adam Lewis Walker is captured. Adam Lewis Walker is a TEDx keynote speaker, coach and best-selling author. Adam Lewis Walker is featured on Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Do you want to become a TEDx speaker? Have you decided that you want to do it, or are you thinking about it? Which information should you look for about the event checklist?

In this Ask the Expert podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about how to get a TEDx Talk with Adam Lewis Walker.

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Meet Adam Lewis Walker

A photo of Adam Lewis Walker is captured. He is a TEDx keynote speaker, coach and best-selling author. Adam is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Adam Lewis Walker is a TEDx keynote speaker, coach and best-selling author. He hosts the top-ranked podcast Awaken Your Alpha, interviewing the world’s elite minds in over 350 episodes since early 2014. In addition, Adam recently launched The TalkXcelerator Podcast for aspiring TEDx Speakers to learn how to achieve their talk. This accompanies The TalkXcelerator Program that takes clients hand in hand to achieve their goals.

Adam’s book, “Awaken Your Alpha – Tales & Tactics To Thrive” became an international bestseller on its release. He also gave the TEDx talk Awaken Your Alpha, How to Rise Up and has been featured in The Huffington Post, ESPN, PodFest, Influencers Radio, and many other media outlets.

Visit Awaken Your Alpha, TalkXcelerator, and connect on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

In this Podcast:

  • How to put a TEDx Talk together
  • Decide and go
  • Study your event checklist
  • Adam’s tips for your TEDx Talk

How to put a TEDx Talk together

1 – Mindset

2 – Idea formula

There is a formula to at least improve what you’ve got. If you’ve got something legendary, I’m sure you can tweak it [because] we can all improve. (Adam Lewis Walker)

3 – Event checklist

What is unique about your perspective, your idea? It’s there for all of us, but you just have to do a little bit of work … it’s the mix of you, your idea, [and] the event.

Why is your idea specific to the event? What about your background makes your input valuable to this event?

Decide and go

Getting into a TEDx event is difficult because:

  • The organizers don’t make it easy so that you can prove you want it
  • The organizers are volunteers and therefore have other things to do as well

If you want to speak at a TEDx event, it will be difficult to get in, but that is how you prove that you are committed. You need to research.

Talking about mindset, it is definitely a decision … not, “I’m going to do a TEDx Talk one day”, that’s too [vague] because that never generally happens … [when you say], “I’m going to do a TEDx Talk, I’m going to be a TEDx speaker in the next year”, that’s different. (Adam Lewis Walker)

Study your event checklist

  • Location: do you have some link to the area where the event is happening?
  • Date: are you available for the set date? Where will you be in the world, and what would be happening in your life?
  • Theme: is there a theme to this TEDx event? Is it broad or focused?
  • Type: TEDx Live, University, Women, Connect, Kids, Internal … there are many different types of events.

Adam’s tips for your TEDx Talk

  • Record your talk and listen back to it

Know that your first or when you think you’ve got your final draft, that it needs a few runs over it, to say the least, because the more work you put into it the better it becomes. (Adam Lewis Walker)

  • A TEDx Talk is great practice and experience for becoming a better public speaker
  • Repurpose content for other streams such as YouTube or starting a podcast on your passion topic

Books mentioned in this episode:

BOOK | Adam Lewis Walker – Awaken Your Alpha: Tales and Tactics to Thrive

BOOK | Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan – The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

Useful Links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK] This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 734. I’m Joe Sanok, your host, and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I hope you are doing great today. We have just a couple episodes that are going between our series. We just had about diverse clinicians that covered a bunch of amazing different topics like working with couples. We talked about the confidence project. We talked about providing therapy to black, native American, Hispanic, and Latino adults and teenagers, and also wellness and self-care in high stress occupations. So if you missed any of those, that series kicked off on 729, that was episode 729. Then we’ve got another really big series that’s going to be going all the way through. It looks like mid to late July of how I got through it. So it’s all people who have had really tough things happen to them and how they got through it. We’re going to have a trigger warning before every single one. We’re trying to accurately name those as well, so that you can just be aware of who’s around you or what you choose to listen to. We have this episode in the next one that are bridges between this series. Today we’re going to be having one of our experts from our Ask the Expert series that we do with the Next Level Practice and Group Practice Boss. Every single month on the third Wednesday of the month, we bring in an expert. We pay them. We often buy their books. We’ve had people like Daniel Pink, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman and today we’re going to be playing a portion of the interview with Adam Lewis Walker, who has been on the show. I’ve been on his show. He and I are friends. We became friends through a podcasting conference and he lives like an hour and a half away. So a few times a year we see each other and he’s going to be talking about how to get a TED Talk. This is something that for me, was such a game changer when I got my TEDx Talk to be able to have that video, to be able to level up in a number of different ways. If you can get a TED Talk, it really does help you stand out in a very competitive field. So today without any further ado here is our Ask the Expert from Next Level Practice and Group Practice Boss with Adam Lewis Walker. Well, welcome everybody. This is Ask the Expert. We’ve got Adam Lewis Walker with us here today. Thanks for showing up on time. We are not going to delay, so you get to be in here right from the get go. If you haven’t been to an Ask the Expert, the way it works is the first 10 or 15 minutes I’m going to ask Adam questions about public speaking, TEDx Talks, things like that all of those expertise areas that I’ll share in just a minute about Adam and then for the rest of the time you get to just ask questions. So there’s two ways that you can ask questions. You can raise your hand either virtually or just wave at us if your video is on. That means that you want to engage with Adam a little bit. Maybe you have a question, you want a little bit of laser coaching, it’s probably a little more in-depth. If you just have a question that you’re like, I know he can just answer this, I don’t need to be on screen, I don’t need to ask him, just put that in the chat. Then Dana’s going to be paying attention to those and jump in and say, oh, hold on a second, we have a quick question here. When we get to that Q&A portion for the last three quarters of our time together. So my friend, Adam Lewis Walker, fellow podcaster, a friend, our families have hung out together, he is an expert when it comes to public speaking, when it comes to getting a TEDx Talk when it comes to launching podcasts. I mean, the guy knows so much and he’s been a competitive athlete. So if you want him to coach your kid’s basketball team, he can definitely do that as well because I know he’s looking to volunteer in new areas of basketball. [JOE] Adam, welcome to Ask the Expert. [ADAM LEWIS WALKER] Thanks, Joe, always good to spend time with you and your crew. [JOE] Yes, yes. I just saw you, was that last weekend? [ADAM] Yes. My parents were from England to visit, so yes. They’re upstairs now. [JOE] That’s awesome. Well, Adam, before we really dive into the strategy stuff tell us how you got into public speaking, how that became something that you do. [ADAM] I mean, you touched on I was a competitive athlete. I was a pole vaulter, PE teacher for sort of 10 years. That was my main goal. My drive was very singular focus to get to the Olympics. Then in 2008, yes, I was trying to get to the Olympics, spoiler alert, didn’t make it. Pole vaulted in the rain in England, because that’s what happens in England. It rains a lot. So yes, bad pole vault accident in front of a lot of people and that was the end. I mentioned that in my TED Talk, actually it comes across. But yes, so that was the end of pole vault and then I was lost and through teaching and being on crutches and not being run around so much had to expand other areas. So through obviously, public speaking, if you’re a teacher they’re ruthless, they’re brutal so that’s a good way to practice. If you’re not entertaining that day, they will let you know even if you’ve been on form for like 365 days before. They will sense weakness and get you. So then I started thinking about, okay. And I use TED Talks then to engage them on specific subjects and all of a sudden, they paid attention because TED had ultimately deemed this person worthy on a subject. They’d obviously dedicated a lot of time to this specific niche and it got attention and it got my attention and I thought, oh, I’m going to do one of them at some stage. That was the idea. I like to set these goals and then work out how that’s going to happen later. So it took about three years, lots of trial and error, but I did my TED Talk in 2016. Obviously, I moved across as well. My podcast is eight years old, almost, same name Awaken Your Alpha, top 1% of podcasts, downloading about 195 countries. I didn’t know there was that many countries. Then it was TED Talk in 2016 and then bestselling book off the back of the TED Talk in 2018. That’s it really. Oh yes, people started asking me, how do you get a TED Talk? That’s ultimately, obviously I’m coaching people and that evolved a bit because I usually get how to do a podcast, how to do a TED Talk and I can help with both, but you notice what fires you up a little bit more. So that’s why I dig more into that and I created a process behind that and yes, so I help people amplify their message and their mission because obviously there’s a lot of mindset stuff in there getting on the TEDx stage. It’s a big thing for everyone. Even I know public speakers have been doing it for like 15 years or professional speakers, I should say, when you get a little red dot, it makes you raise your eyebrows a little bit and you got to be prepared. You got to be confident and it’s yes, it’s all good. [JOE] I know when I did my TEDx Talk man, I was so nervous. I had it minute by minute. I knew exactly where I needed to be in it. It’s just like, there’s this giant red clock counting down. I found out a week afterwards that a third of the speakers, all the video had been lost from the TEDx. So they’re like, can you come back in and do the video again to an empty auditorium and we’ll splice in the audience so luckily I had — [ADAM] You got to do a do-over. [JOE] Oh man, so it’s funny because there’s little things you can notice between the audience and like me and stuff that is quite off a little bit but only if you know it. So let’s start with just talking about TEDx as like a brand, getting a talk. Should you come up with your talk first? Should you come up with connections first? Take us through just the basic process, big picture. I’m sure there’ll be lots of questions that people have, but take us through big picture what the big flow is for getting a TEDx Talk, prepping and then doing one. [ADAM] So I mean, I go big picture, three key things would be firstly as touched on the mindset sort of thing, so really be like TEDx hack in the mindset around it and kind going through a process, someone’s process even mind your own, but committing to that. That is definitely a mindset thing. Then, let’s say secret two is the idea formula. It’s so many people, because I do weekly, I did one yesterday and it’s very common. I’ve got this great message, which I think is different, which we talk about, people can agree or disagree on this. I’ve got this great message. I want to put it on TEDx. I’m like good luck. That’s never going to make it on TEDx. I’ll tell you why. But again, you can keep banging your head against a brick wall or you can armory play the game and tell them what they want to hear and work on your idea, improve your idea. The idea formula is a formula to at least improve what you’ve got. If you’ve got something legendary, I’m sure you could tweak it, we can all improve. Then the third thing would be event checklists. So again, there’s lots of events, they’re not all the ones for you. I think it’s good to take action and go after it, which is huge. But again, if you are going after say a hundred events and 90 of them are really wasting your time, then the 10 where you should have been focusing on, they’re going to get a little bit of your time. So I’m more about focused intentional effort, so more efficient so I don’t go for applying for hundreds. I know that’s annoying for them as well. I know Ted’s not a fan of that because they get flooded and TEDx organizers are volunteers. So around the TEDx hacking, I say the mindset side of things is the general public sees Ted and TEDx as the same thing, entirely the same thing. So when you get like a Tony Robbins or a Brené brown or a Simon Sinek, actually Simon Sinek did TEDx, but say like a Tony Robbins or the TED Conference, which is slightly different to a TED geek, but to everyone else is no real difference. That’s the big four- or five-day event they do once a year where they invite presidents, prime ministers, et cetera, to do a TED Talk. It looks exactly the same. It’s the same format. So it’s that credibility by association. Obviously, it’s very credible to a TED Talk or TEDx Talk either. You do not have to be a celebrity to get a TEDx Talk. That’s the important thing. Also it’s the shift around this TEDx hacking. They will not find you. This is something I used to do try and do all these great things and then obviously they’ll get you because these people I see on TEDx, they must have done something great to get there. Then they were found or discovered. Yes, they want to discover the next big thing but the reality is they’re people like me and you and if they’re getting a couple of hundred applications, they don’t need to go looking. They can look in their in their applications so they won’t go and find you unless you are something, a celebrity or a world leader. And at that point you won’t really care about a TEDx. That’s the reality. So that shift, Ted won’t find you, you find Ted and that links to what I was saying about the events and finding the right events, doing the work on your idea. So we can, I suppose, move into that idea formulation and the formula around just being a good person, having a good message does not mean it’s TEDx worthy. That’s why I do idea clarity calls all the time for people and almost the better someone’s message is, the better the person is the less effort they’ve put into their idea in a weird way, because I’m like, this is a great message. This is a great mission. It might not be unique though. The TEDx Thing is what is your unique idea worth sharing? Not great idea, not like what is, yes, you want to improve the world that’s a given with TEDx stuff but if it’s another, okay, I mean, yes, I had it yesterday. If it’s, what’s your talk on overcome adversity, I get that a lot and Ted gets that a lot and it needs, it can’t just be that. That will generally go through a lot of talks because it’s like your origin story. You are on a TEDx stage for starters if you end up talking about yourself a little bit, so you you’ve overcome something to get there, because it don’t just drop in your lap. So that’s a given. It’s going to be a great talk. That’s a given. You’re on aesthetic stage. What is unique about your perspective, your idea? And that’s where it is there for all of us, but you just have to do a little bit of work. So it’s that combination if I’m going to be reasonably basic on it just to be quick. So it’s the mix of you, your idea, the event, is that combination because you obviously got your background, that’s unique to you. Then you’ve got the event you’re applying to. Why is your idea specific to that event? Because that’s what the organizer wants to know. They want to know, oh I’ve got this great idea. I’m looking for a landing platform. Anyone will do. No one wants to feel like that. It wants to be like, okay, this is your, this idea, so you got to work on your idea, work on the idea to make sure, clearly that’s unique. This is my background. This is unique to my idea why I’m credible to speak about this and then also not just that in TED in general. Oh, your event. This is why I’m specifically uniquely positioned to talk at your event because either of your theme or because of your location or because of the cut of your gym, I don’t know, but it needs to be specific to that organizer. Because they do get a lot of average and good and excellent applications. [JOE] Let me ask you a question there before we move on to that last third step, how do you find what’s unique about each TEDx event? Do they typically say like our theme is fill in the blank or do you have to do some research on the organizer or how do you figure that out? [ADAM] Great question. So this is the unique thing. Really, I shouldn’t need to help people get their TEDxs. I should just be coaching people structure and prepare for their TEDxs. The reason I do is because obviously that’s the big hurdle number one, but the organizers don’t make it easy. I think it’s massively, it’s a combination of intentionally and because they’re too busy. It’s a voluntary position for them. So it’s like, I’m not going to put the effort in to make this obvious. If you can’t do a little bit of research, if you can’t jump through a few hoops intentionally or just because they haven’t organized their event as efficiently as they need to, or they just are putting their focus somewhere else, then you weren’t that bothered about getting that event or doing that TEDx Talk. So it’s a combination of that, but definitely research. A lot of my clients when it’s ridiculously hard to find some information, because it usually is, I’m saying, well yes, how many people are going to stop? So when you get that piece of information, they’ve already filed the herd for you because it is competitive to get a TEDx Talk. But it’s definitely talking about the mindset thing. It’s definitely a, I believe a decision and that’s a lot of people think, oh I want to do a TEDx Talk one day. The difference is, and not even I’m going to do a TEDx Talk one day. That’s too vague. That’s too tomorrow, tomorrow because that never generally happens when it’s in that category. When you say I’m going to do a TEDx Talk, I’m going to be a TEDx speaker in the next year, that’s different. So then it’s your approach to, okay, I got knocked from that event. That was expected, anticipated. I’m going to move on. I’m not going to let it slow me down and sit there and have a little think about it. If you get it on your first application, result, but let’s be realistic that might not happen. [JOE] I’m glad you bring that up because in Traverse City they had a TEDx pitch night and I think you got three minutes to talk about your talk. My first year I thought mine was amazing. I even had like my friend, Pete and I, we had a voting block of people that were coming and they’re going to vote for both of us. We did all this social media around it. We didn’t get in a spot and neither of us did. [ADAM] It’s tough as a gut punch, isn’t it? [JOE] Yes, especially when I saw how bad some of the other pitches were, it was like, oh my word. [ADAM] This is the other thing. But this is the interesting thing about that. So say you do go put some effort in and put a real good one together. Then a lot of people then take that as that almost as an excuse to be like, well I tried and I gave it my best shot. It didn’t happen. There’s one go but obviously that didn’t happen. You stayed. But I’m saying like if people put in an application, I speak to a lot of people and I say, how long have you wanted to give a TEDx Talk? It might be like five years, et cetera. Have you done to get a TEDx Talk? A lot of times the answer is at zero. When people say I have, oh yes, I applied a year ago to something I didn’t get it or two years ago or I applied twice and so that’s it. I’m like, okay. So what’s different now and it’s, but people do sometimes think I’ll apply and that’s it. I can say, I want to be a TEDx speaker. I’ve taken action and it hasn’t happened, so that’s that. [JOE] All right. Take us through that conference checklist a little bit. That’s going to be my last question so get ready folks for asking questions, raising your hands. If you know you want to talk to Adam virtually raise your hand if you want to have a little back and forth or drop your questions in the chat. So take us through that conference checklist that you were talking through. [ADAM] We probably skirted around certain aspects naturally it came out, but so the conference checklist or event checklist, number one, I mean, this sounds really obvious, but this will help you condense your efforts to certain events. Obviously, the location. This sounds silly as well, but the date. So it might be the perfect location you’re like, oh, that theme’s brilliant. For me, for example, anything in July next year, I don’t care if it’s the TED main conference I’m in England. So obviously with the last year or two we’ve had, July is out for me. So little things like that. Also link to the date. It might not, you might be available on that date, but it might be say like, for me in that scenario might be like August 1st, I don’t want to be doing that intense prep because there’s no way it’s not intense right before. I don’t want to be doing that when you’re not available. So certain dates and times. That’s something to look at, that’d be one, at least one thing. Location, you need to have some link to the area. The obvious stuff is, this is where I’m from or this is where I live, so that could be two places. This is where I went to university. This is where my parents are from. I have family from this place. There needs to be some reason. So that again will either make it very broad if you’ve moved around a lot or it might make it very focused in because again, that again comes down to a question, why are you applying to my event? Because I live here, is a good answer or because my parents live here, because my auntie lives there, because I went to university there. These are all good answers, not something else like because, and it doesn’t have to be the location because it could be because my idea fits your event so perfectly. So that ties into themes as you touched on, is there a theme? Not all of them, but 95% of TEDx events have a theme. This is again, the reason why there’s someone like me helping people. It’s broad because some have a focus, fixed theme, some decide on their theme after they’ve got their speakers, some have a theme and they literally said to me yes, we have a theme, but it’s intentionally broad. We haven’t really paid attention to it. Again, it’s like how different are people? This is what events can be like. Some don’t have a theme, they just say, I know we’re supposed to, but we’re just not because they’re just so intentionally broad so they think I’m not going to do that. But that’s something to look into. It’s a reason to reach out to events if they don’t have an obvious theme. They don’t usually put it obviously for you to find link to what I said about before, about researching. Maybe they think if they don’t put it out there, then that will get rid of a load of people. So that’s the theme, location, type of TEDx event. The sake of time, I’m just trying to give a quick rundown, TED Ed, TEDx Women, TEDx Library, TEDx University, TEDx Connect, TEDx Studio, something like that. [JOE] TEDx Kids. [ADAM] Yes, there’s all different types of TEDx events. They’re not all created equal. There’s pluses and minuses to all of them. So the TEDx is more, the studio is more like a workshop. Then when we went through the pandemic, they that got that hybrid one where it’s a TEDx event, but then it was virtual. Maybe not an audience or you don’t even know if it’s virtual or in-person. It is what it is. They’re going to do what they can do or they postpone it. So like everything, I think I saw something on LinkedIn yesterday say in 20, the last year, the amount of remote jobs doubled, which is, yes, so again, that affected TED as well. Obviously, helped a lot people get virtual TEDx, is an thought, ah, they’re going to be like, oh, I want to do the real one. Some people, some of my clients were like, yes, virtual, I don’t have to stand on stage and get scared. And you can record it as many times as you want. So yes, what type of event, and in that your event checklist, there’s also some events that I couldn’t believe this, that do not release the video, which is the main thing if you’re trying to spread your message. It’s an internal TEDx event. I know a friend and client who spoke at an event, she did not ask the questions, do these sort of things we’re talking about now and she spoke at this event and she said she smashed it and then she realized when she’s like, when can I get the video? Oh no, it was some government organization or was hosted by that. This is an internal. So the video was shared internally, but not out there to the world. Ouch. So little things, I basically try and help people avoid those sorts of moments that I had as well, mistakes with my own TED Talks that I would like to change, but you can’t go back, but it’s ideally you do one. You’ve minimized the mistakes or the errors that you will have and you’re like I’m happy with this. I’ll show my kids, my grandkids down the line. [HEARD] As a therapist, you’re probably too preoccupied with your caseload to want to think about bookkeeping or tax filing. Heard can help you out with that. Heard is a bookkeeping and tax platform built specifically for therapists in private practice that helps you track and improve your practice’s financial health. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned clinician or in the first year of your practice, Heard will help you to identify areas for growth and streamline best financial practices for your business. When you sign up with Heard, you’ll work directly with financial specialists to track your income and expenses, file taxes online and grow your business. You’ll also receive financial insights, such as profit and loss statements and personalized monthly reports. You can say goodbye to pouring over spreadsheets and guessing your tax deductions or quarterly payments, focus on your clients Heard will take care of the rest. Plans begin at $149 per month and can easily be tailored to fit your business’ financial needs. Sign up now at [JOE SANOK] Well, so now you got a sense of Adam Lewis Walker and his skillset around getting a TEDx and developing a TEDx. So what questions do you have for Adam? Go ahead and either virtually raise your hand, wave at me if you are on video or if it’s a question that you think we can just read, just drop that in the chat. It always happens. We start out slow and then we run out of time so get it in now, if you have questions. You have Adam Lewis Walker at your fingertips. [ADAM] I’m going to continue painting the basement, I think. [JOE] Well, while we’re waiting for those to come, so say someone gets a TEDx Talk. I know that, like I read the book Talk Like Ted and other speaking books, how do you think that perfect, Great Storyteller Secret by him also is a great book? Michael’s Steal the Show, it’s like the trifecta of speaking books. What should people think through when they’re preparing their talk? I’m going to just ask questions till y’all ask questions. So if you have questions, this is your time with Adam, but I’m not going to let them just sit there quietly. [ADAM] That won’t be a problem with me. [JOE] No, it sure won’t or me. I know my report card always said, Joe talks too much to his neighbors and now I get paid to talk. [ADAM] Okay, so with the talk structure or preparing your TEDx Talk, I would say, I mean, there’s something we can dig into this for ages, but I would say some of the key things to do, there’s a big school of fault between like having it scripted out, writing it all down and some TEDx organizers literally want your script. Then other people are like, oh, I just want to let it flow. I don’t want to over rehearse it. So you feel like you lost, at least internally you’ve lost your magic because you’ve it so much. So I would say, I mean, you’ve got to rehearse more than you think you need, that’s, I mean more than you think you need. So if you think you need to rehearse a little bit, you need to rehearse more. If you think you need to rehearse a huge amount, you probably need to rehearse a little bit more as well. Take that into account. I would find out how quick you speak in that scenario setting. So that’s from recording it. Someone like Tony Robbins, which I’d like to think, oh yes, I’ve got some energy, he’s like 220 words per minute, which if you don’t know about that ratio, that’s nuts. That’s crazy. I thought I was fast and then I actually, okay, I bet I’m something like that because I got some energy. I was like 150 or something like that. I was definitely under 200, maybe not as low as 150, but you don’t know until you know, so check that out because that will affect in planning and structuring your talk. Because if you’re not like a 220, you can say a lot less in the time. But again, and if this is your natural speaking perform invoice, because again, you don’t want to be like, I’m going to, so I can get as much in as I can. I’m going to up it to 200. If you’re naturally like a 120 and there’s nothing wrong with being, if your vibe is like laid back chilled, then that’s, you don’t want to have a TED Talk of you going and then everyone meets you or anything else you do it’s just like, hello. That’s something to check out definitely. Probably I’d say record your talk when you get to that level and listen back to it, because then you start, you got to pass over it time and time. The process of your structure and preparing your TEDx Talk is just painful. Not saying it, but you’ve just got to know that you are first or when you think you got your final draft, it’s got to, it needs a few runs over it to say the least. The more you work you put into it, the better it comes. The good thing is that deadline will come, so it is going to be as good as you can get it by that time. But also linked to that, definitely a pitfall do not start preparing your TEDx Talk if you haven’t secured a TEDx Talk. The timelines, when you have it in the bag, the timelines are at minimum like three, four months. So you’re going to have time. It’s like, it’s almost writing that book and never publishing it. Don’t create this TEDx Talk because by the time you land it will be different. You have to redo it all anyway, because most people are, especially people going for TEDx you’re always evolving and you have new insight. So that would be another thing when you prepare it, obviously the sooner, the better. Once you’ve secured it, leave it for a bit, come back to it. You have some new insight and you want to road test it a little bit or road test aspects of it. That’s, again, the power of a coach or a sounding board because you can’t, many times something you’re saying in there, or that you’ve got within your message in your idea is gold. But to you, it might just be, isn’t that average, isn’t that everyone think like that. I’m like, no, I’ve never heard that before. They’re like, oh, whereas it might have been the thing you was focusing on is reasonably common sense. So yes, that would be just, I mean there’s so much and if questions start flowing or you’ve got some we can dig into details of different things. [JOE] One thing I did when I was prepping for my TEDx was, I bet I went over the talk 20 times and the full length of it and had a timer the entire time counting down full screen. So it was like, I knew the pressure and knew, okay, at one minute, two minute, three I wanted to be here. The other thing I did is I did Facebook lives and I would say on this day I’m going to be doing my first version of my TEDx Talk. I want feedback so then people could prepare for it and say, hey, yes, we’re willing to come. I remember a number of friends that were public speakers came to my first couple times doing that and gave some great feedback on, this section I was talking about being chased by a wild rhino. They’re like you said it very calm and collected. That’s a stressful thing. You need to like amp it up a little bit to talk about you’re getting chased by a wild rhino. Pick up your speed, pick up your voice. So it’s like I was running and then, yes, so just those sorts of things. All right, we’ve got a question here. What advice do you have for someone just starting out in public speaking? Great question. [ADAM] Get a TED Talk. No joke. I mean, this is the mindset shift. If you’re just starting out and you actually want to do it properly, I mean talking about steroids for a speaker, that’s how I look at it. if you’re just starting out, they say, oh, can I see some, where have you spoke? Can I see some footage or if you have done a TEDx Talk, then that goes in your signature. If you look at my LinkedIn, please do connect, if you look at my LinkedIn, it says a TEDx speaker. I mean, if you want to go down that route, whether they watch it or not, which they probably will, that can go into your speaker reel. Then it instantly it’s that credibility authority done as a speaker. I don’t know why a speaker wouldn’t have it even if you don’t want to do a TEDx or, but you want to be a speaker because that you get the video footage that you can either use as you chop into your speaker reel. I just have it in my subject line, I mean my email signature line as well. So you don’t necessarily have to be saying, check out me. I’m a TEDx speaker. I’m awesome. But it’s there. What can you say? So if someone’s interest is on you, event planners and stuff like that, they might just have a little peak. And they know it’s short. No one’s got any time, so that is the power of this. Also if you, like, for me as a podcast, if someone says, if someone has in their line TEDx speaker, they almost walk onto my shows because I know they can be concise and they’ve dedicated at least six months, probably a year to that one message and making sure it’s unique so I don’t have another generic interview. [JOE] Yes. [ADAM] That would be, I would say do that. Again, we said speaking, I was saying, amplify your message. The three things that really move the needle for me podcast, have a guest on your own and then publishing again, coauthoring or have in your own book. Then obviously presenting TEDx being, in my opinion, the world’s biggest stage in terms of global recognition and that stamp of approval. [JOE] Awesome. Keep the questions coming. [ADAM] Yes, that question, actually, the reason why that instantly came to mind is because that’s what I did. I hadn’t spoken anywhere apart from a classroom when I did my TEDx. So it’s focusing on the idea. The organizer will think, where have you spoken or where have you spoken? I can’t even speak now. And you’ll be like, it might be, I haven’t, or this is my, it’s the idea. Focus on the idea. It’s when the other extreme of that is, hey, I’m a 15-year professional speaker. I want to speak at your event. I’m tremendous. Let’s roll. You’re lucky to have me whereas someone else a bit more humble, hasn’t got that arrogance around that, but they’ve got a unique idea. It’s about the idea. It’s not about the individual. That’s another good approach to come at any organizer. I know I’ve interviewed, I got a podcast talking on how to get a TEDx. I’ve interviewed lots of speakers and TEDx organizers on the insider details like that. Surprisingly, it sounds embarrassing, but they do because it’s behind closed doors. They do get applications like that from some bigger names. [JOE] I do think one of, and there’s a bunch of questions that came in and we’ll hit those in just a second, I think one of the really valuable things about doing a TEDx Talk to is meeting the other TEDx speakers. I mean, when I was there, like when I spoke Jay Papasan who wrote The One Thing was one of the speakers and I got to know him and text with him regularly now. John Broman who, Front Row Dads, is the founder of Front Row Dads podcast connected me with all the GoBundance people. [ADAM] Was brother James there? [JOE] Brother James, yes. He’s from Traverse City. He was actually a friend before TEDx, but yes, he was connected to all those people. Brother James — [ADAM] Had him on my podcast. [JOE] He’s such a good guy. My daughter Laken loves Brother James. Like whenever there’s a concert, she’s like we have to go and she just dances for hours and forgets the world. All right, Natasha says, you mentioned the different types of TEDx. How do you know which one to apply for? Is applying for a TEDx all the same process? [ADAM] Good question. No, because like I’ve touched on before officially probably Ted wants it to be all the same process, but unfortunately, they’ve got a deal with people and individuals all over the world who’ve got their license and then they are interpreting their application process and only they create their own application process. So this is another thing in your event. Checklist would be what, finding out what their process is if you can but the other issue is how much time and effort you’re willing to put into an events can sometimes help you narrow it down. So in my process, I actually, because I’m obviously I’m a podcaster, when they highlight their top five events after they’ve gone through a specific checklist that are specifically really relevant to them. I then independently look to interview those organizers, because again, they don’t generally get a lot of interviews because they’re not necessarily entrepreneurs. A lot of them are actually, but not necessarily. Then find out the details, like what is your process? What are the timelines? Some of them like we’ve literally eliminated that event because it’s like, okay, I’m looking for my applicants to be semi-professional TEDx hunters. I want them to come and live down in my area. I want to have rehearsals six months out. Then the weeks before I want to have like days of this and then there’s elimination. It’s like winning the American Idol or something like that. Just to get your spot. Even Joe said, like he almost like a mini–TED Talk to get the TED Talk and other ones would be like, oh, put your idea in, let us know. Any rehearsals, turn up on the day. You get that end of the spectrum. So it is up to you as the individual as well because there’s pluses to turn up on the day. There’s definitely minuses. Mine was a bit like that but you feel like you’re going to get certain support. There’s that unwritten assumption that definitely made an ass of me. I don’t know. So like my TED Talk title was a working title, a pitch. It wasn’t, but that’s the one, they never worked in it. We never worked in it. It just went out and I’m like, oh, can we do something with that? No. These are little things that you don’t think about until it happens to you; that TED Talk is out there and the only way to change it, if you take it down and re-upload it and balance it. I’ll say it’s not a particularly TEDx title. What’s up there because it was like, ah, this is the working in title. We’ll get to that. We never got to that. So it is what it is. But that sort of stuff happens all over the place. Again, if an event organizer doesn’t want you to have much prep or doesn’t give you much support it’s easier, but then what’s the ultimate, the outcome might not be as good as it could be and that’s why, obviously, I help people because it is a very mixed bag. Then you might get too much support. I interviewed a TEDx organizer who’s ex-military and she, I don’t even think she was joking. She said I’m known as the drill instructor. She drills her TEDx speakers. It’d be good talks at the end of it but I don’t know if you want to go through that. It’s just things to be aware of, some of the questioning and what the commitment, expectations is. [JOE] What’s the best way to connect with a TEDx producer? [ADAM] Obviously, in person would be a treat. That would be the best way I’d imagine. That would probably link to, if it’s in your areas, maybe go to an event volunteer, help out that sort of thing. You’re in that circle, like you said, connect with those sort of people more realistic way, all in way. Linkedin’s usually good. I don’t really know TEDx organizers who are not on LinkedIn much. So, yes. [JOE] Although usually, I know that at least in Traverse City, the community college is the main host of TEDx. So they have a whole TEDx page that outlines it. I don’t know if that’s common for most places to have a landing page or is it — [ADAM] When they’re more established, yes, when they’re more established definitely. There’s definitely a lot of TEDx type pages that are dormant over there. Get the constant thing from my clients like I can’t find anything. I can’t believe they haven’t got anything. I’m like, yes, I mean, me neither. I can’t believe it. It’s crazy, but again, it’s just different, different people set out their events different. [JOE] Then I’m interested in ideas of how to pitch public speaking in general, not just TEDx, like public speaking in general. [ADAM] So I’ll start with TEDx and then that’ll probably cover some public speaking in general, obviously. Maybe might not quite specific even about crossover. So I almost have my organizer’s attention checklist, because yes, pitches is huge. You might have a great idea, but if you can’t pitch it, then they’re not going to hear your great idea and they’re already asleep or they’ve already roofless as it is. They’ve already crossed you off mentally. So TEDx organizers, how to stand out, they do not want another motivational speaker. So I wouldn’t lead with that for starters. Take a bold and clear stand on your topic. Again, it comes back to that general generic thing, trying to please everyone, trying to like heal the world and all that sort of stuff. That’s not a bold stand. That’s a safe ground. Can it be an opposing view to the masses? We can dig into any one of these, if any questions come off the back of this, or one with clarification. Don’t be scared to share your biases and your experiences, so again, that comes back to unique viewpoints, your experience. If you’ve been kidnapped or locked up for 10 years and you don’t think that’s worth mentioning, I would argue that that might be interesting to me. Or you might have learned something from that. I’m sure we can get there. We haven’t all been locked away for 20 years or something like that. I’ve had these conversations where someone would, oh, you think that’s worth mentioning? I’m like, what? Yes, that’s more interesting than what we were talking about. Actually, a current client, she escaped a cult. Again, as I said, this is her talk only so she will have the executive decision on this. I’m just here to support. It’s your talks, so no matter what anyone says to you don’t want to get up there and give a talk that Adam told you to do, for example. This is the advice. You own your talk and your idea and you do the best you can. The world does not need any more brand information. And linked to that, pitching it, your talk title can be crucial. I said can because it might not be. Not too long, create curiosity. You can look for patterns from famous TED Talks, not just TED Talks, because there’s a lot of bad ones out there as well. [JOE] Dang, let’s see if we have any other questions. Any resources like books that you would say are must-reads or should-reads, any — [ADAM] I’m writing one, I’m writing another one specifically for this, not a big one, just a little one specifically for this because I’m writing a big one, but specifically on this. So I’d say I wouldn’t get bogged down too much because there are books how to prepare or how to talk like Ted. There are no books on how to land a TEDx Talk, which is the, in my opinion, the important thing. I don’t help clients. I don’t focus with, hey, I’m going to help you prepare a TEDx. We’re going to get it first and then sit secure and smash it. So I would say do not get bogged down with that. Do not substitute information for action. Do not have that crutch because once you’ve secured it, you’re doing it. Unless you run away or you are really awkward to the organizer, which you know has happened, you are doing it so long as you are working with them. That’s another thing that will help you land, if you are coachable. If you have any vibe about this is my idea and you’re not tweaking it, you’re not changing it, I’m right, you are wrong, they’re probably not going to, you’re not going to get it anyway even if the idea is great. So they want to know, whether they change it or not they want to know at least that you are open to that. [JOE] Yes. We have a lot of people within Next Level Practice that are adding coaching in some way to their practice beyond just their counseling. So there’s a question I’d love to hear about your coaching process. When someone hires you to help them prepare for public speaking, what’s your process with them? [ADAM] Okay. Again, specifically for TEDx, because that’s what I like to focus and the ripple effect of all this, once, I feel once you’ve done this everything else feels a lot easier. You don’t say, oh, I’ve done a TEDx, oh, what am I going to say on this podcast or I’ve done a, what am I going to say on this? You’ve been putting the pressure cooker. You can say you most poignant prioritized points in 10 to 15 minutes. So as long as you get slightly more than that or the same, you’re good. You know what to lead with. Once you’ve done a 15 minute, you’re your core idea, then a 30-minute talk is so much easier. A 60-minute is like a walk in the park. If someone says to me right, you got 10 minutes to speak or 60, I need more prep for the 10 minutes in some ways, like if you start, yes, it is such a nice thing. The confidence are ripples from it. So anyway, back to the process, that’s what we were talking about, talking about priorities. The process with me, I have, and again, coming at this, like with what worked for me and what didn’t work, and now I look to what was out there at the time. I felt like there was very much, there’s people helping this, but it was very much focused purely on the one-to-one high end. This has worked with me for six months or a year because that’s how long this process takes in some ways and this is how much cost. Obviously, that’s how everyone wants to work. The best clients, however, there are certain things I found myself repeated. Yes, everyone’s different but there is a process, there is stepping stones, there are fundamentals. So I have my process come, again, three clear things that move the needles, a few other bits, but these are the main core. We have a 10-step training module that literally takes you through half hour modules that again, I broke down into like 10 minutes here and there because everyone I work with is another excuse is busy. If you’re an entrepreneur or you’re looking to do a TEDx, because you want to share your message, you’re busy. And this is TEDx, is what a lot of people want to do, but it’s never go, it’s hard to put it above earning money because you’re not going to get paid to do your TEDx upfront? So it’s always there. Also what I found is people, even if they’re doing the actions, there’s so many things you can do to get a TEDx. I’m this week I’m going to really go for it. Then something happens, they are working on clients or so something personal happens, it always will. Then they drop it, they pick it up a few weeks later, I’m going to get a TEDx. What I do? Probably repeat some of the similar things and you just go around like that. My point is you’ve got step one, watch this. Don’t worry about step six, step one, watch this half-hour module, do this specific short action. Then the second piece of my process, we have a students-only group that then when you watch the module, you have to put the action in a specific thread where everyone else has done that. So there’s no, oh, I’ve done that work. I’m a module 10. Really? You haven’t, I haven’t seen it. So that’s where you get instant feedback. The accountability’s there. Then the other key piece for me, when you do get that individual one to one attention, because what keeps it interesting for me, everyone has similar problems, but no one has the same problem in terms of what’s going on in their TEDx journey. So every two weeks we have office hours. I’ve got it straight off, well, 15 minutes, I’ve got it straight after this. The last one a year for us, every two weeks we have a office hours open Q&A that people are going through that first sort of four to five to six months of the training modules. We drop in questions. You might not have a question. It might be more of a discussion. What are the challenges? What events are opening up to you, things like that. We share our resources. So module three is the TEDx hunt. People have to put like five, even five events that are relevant to them so then we got that, I put that in a spreadsheet. We pull like contact details that are hard to find many times and so then I have a, in the background, so they’re the main three things. I have the training modules, the Q&A live support going through the whole process and then the group where you get instant feedback. So you might have a deadline tomorrow. Can you have a look at this? I’ve shot this two-minute video for an application. Is it good? Or this piece of it, I’m not happy about that. What do you think? Yes, that’s good. Or it’s not good and reshoot this. But all these resources we, have a members’ area so you can look at some of the bonus trains or see what these TEDx organizers are asking for. Because I suppose the competitive advantage again, from my unique situation that I know no one does is because I’m a podcast and it just happens to be that way. When I interview a TEDx organizer for a specific client, it’s never for the podcast, it’s for a client that then six months or eight months down the line, it goes out, edited 18 minutes. That is from a one hour usually video interview with that organizer saying to them, what is not on the website that you’re looking for this year? How many spaces do you have left? When are the closing deadlines? What subtle things put you off an application? What turn you onto it? That goes that day raw video to the client and they watch it with the training, apply and if the timing works out, that is a good success ratio. [JOE] We got just a couple more questions before you jump into your office hours. So thoughts on podcasting, live streams that are posted on YouTube and then audio is used for a podcast or separate effort for these three platforms and channels. It’s probably like Streamyard, doing Streamyard — [ADAM] My thoughts are good, if you want to do it, if you can set it up, I think anything to leverage and multi-use of any of your content, what’s the harm? It can’t do any damage. I haven’t really dug into YouTube too much because I feel like if I’m going to do anything, I want to do it properly. It just, so I have all my podcasts almost, well over 500 episodes. I have all the videos. They’re not on YouTube yet and it’s one of them things that I may flick the switch on that. Well, I may flick the switch on that in terms of getting someone who knows about YouTube and to upload them and do it properly because I wouldn’t want to waste the opportunity. But live streams though, I don’t see the harm in that. I think I’ve done a few sometimes to Facebook — [JOE] The only downside that I see is like platforms like Streamyard, they bring all the audio together whereas like if you’re in, Zencaster, not live streaming, you can have them separate. So if your guest has lower audio, it’s just harder on the audio engineering. [ADAM] I suppose, I just like to focus on one things, for example, podcast is obviously audio generally. I think if the YouTube, if you’ve got it set out properly and doing well and might have like a Joe Rogan, they have clips. It’s known for that. Obviously, they have the whole thing, but they have loads of clips. Obviously, he’s not sitting there cutting them up, but if you do like a half hour podcast episode and someone in your team, or you can have the bandwidth to chop that up into real good sound bites, maybe 10 or 15 pieces of content and chuck them on YouTube or even YouTube shorts, that would be awesome. But that’s time. [JOE] When you’re at that point we happen to have a whole team of eight staff in South Africa can do exactly what you’re asking for. So I’ll pitch the expert on our services. [ADAM] ABC man, always be close. [JOE] Don’t think I, I’ll put in my calendar to text you in a month and say, when are you launching that YouTube channel? [ADAM] I almost commit to 2022 maybe. [JOE] Oh, all right. [ADAM] I’m rebranding and making some tweaks to my podcast. So yes, maybe. [JOE] So what are some of the biggest misconceptions about creating a topic for TEDx? [ADAM] We touched on it a little bit, biggest misconception that if it’s a good message, that that’s good for TEDx. I feel like that’s a given. That’s like saying, oh, I think it’s good that my doctor’s got a degree. No, that’s the given, that’s standard. So biggest misconception that I get that a lot that just, someone has again, because I’m immersed in this world, doesn’t it shock me that people focus so much for Ted that that’s enough. It’s almost like I’m going to focus on why this is good, why this is good and what I want to do with it and all the help I’m trying to help people. That’s something different? I think that’s awesome, but that it doesn’t really improve your chances of TEDx because it should be good. It’s like a given, like that’s the whole point. So I think that’s a big misconception, just emphasize on the goodness and not the idea. It’s about the idea. It really is about the idea. Misconception creates, that’s asking about a specific topic, but that I’m not a big deal to do a TEDx. Talk or who am I to do a TEDx Talk? It’s about the idea, number one and lots of those, what you might think are big deals now were no ones until they did their TEDx Talk, the relatively unknown and the organizer looking. They can be the one who discovers Joe Sanok. Imagine having that on your, imagine having that. They’ll be telling their kids Joe was not famous until I found him [JOE] The touch of God. [ADAM] But yes, the TEDx as well, I feel like it’s, and people like to, again, I feel this is an excuse thing, people like to say, oh, I’m going to do a TEDx at this point. Oh, I’m not, I can’t do it now because I’ve got to do book number three and then I’ve got to launch my podcast in the autumn and then I’m going to, and then I’m going to do the TEDx. I need to slide in here. It happens when it happens. You got to decide to go after it and you know a realistic goal, I mean, look at the time now, if you want to be a TEDx speaker in 2022, that is a realistic goal. You got to do the work, but you don’t get to decide completely, you do in some ways, but you don’t, the event that’s relevant for you, you might think, oh, next autumn is when I’m thinking. Then as we start the process and you’re looking at it might be like, oh, this is the event. They’re like, we want you. It is like, this is it. It happens to be the start of the summer. Are you going to say, sorry, it’s the wrong month? That could be another year. So you start with your best intentions, you have plans and then the reality is what is in front of you. [JOE] So awesome. Adam, if people want to connect with you, if they want to hear more about what you’re offering and coming cohorts, how can they connect with you? [ADAM] Yes, LinkedIn’s always a good one. I mean, we’ve covered a lot. I have a free training, 45-minute webinar, automate on demand that you can watch. Go through those three secrets I touched on. I have an idea checklist that I’ve actually created recently and I haven’t got the, that hasn’t been uploaded yet, but I’ve got that. So just connect from LinkedIn, listen to the podcasts, all anyway, but LinkedIn’s an obvious one and reach out. If anyone wants to speak about their specific idea, which is something I love doing as well, then I have a complimentary idea, clarity call, I call them or consultation half an hour, and that’s the best way to get it. We’ll really hit the ground running, because as I’ve said, though, 90% of these calls, I tell people you need to be more specific. We go into a little bit more detail so we are starting already you’ve got that message. So might be, you look, watch the training or booking a call, watch the training before the call and yes, the idea behind that, obviously, there’s a proportion that going to become a client, but the idea is stand alone. That call is useful to you. You’ll be better for it after it. So then you go and say, yes, I’m not working with him, but it was awesome. [JOE] How can people get that free training? [ADAM] That’s Let me see if I’ve got it. [JOE] Awesome. When you think you’ve practiced enough, practice more, take a bold clear stand on your topic. No wavering. You cannot please everyone. It’s about the idea. Here’s a masterclass on how to get a TEDx talk. Awesome. TEDx is a good launch for a new speaker. My takeaways to think about a view that is opposing. Awesome. So good. So good. Well Adam Lewis Walker, thanks so much for hanging out with us. Don’t forget to connect with him on LinkedIn. It’s always a pleasure to hang out with you. [ADAM] Thanks so much. I think I chucked everything I mentioned in there. I think I put it in there. [JOE] All right. Cool. [ADAM] Awesome. Thanks a lot, guys. If anyone, please do connect and yes, let me know if anything was useful because I haven’t seen all of that and yes, it’s cool. [JOE] Awesome. Thank you so much, everyone. Thanks so much, Adam and we’ll talk to you soon. Bye. What an amazing Ask the Expert. If you are interested in signing up for Next Level Practice or Group Practice Boss to get on that wait list, this fall we’re going to have level up week one when we open those up. We’re only going to be having 50 Next Level Practice people come in in the next cohort. We want to limit it to make sure that it’s the exact people that are ready to run full tilt towards starting a private practice. So you can head on over to if you want access to that when that opens up. Also, we are going to be opening up Group Practice Boss. So over at You can head on over there. As well. We could not do this show without our sponsors and today’s sponsor is Heard. When you sign up for Heard, you’ll work directly with a financial specialist to track your income and expenses, file taxes online and grow your business. You’ll also receive financial insights, like a profit and loss statement and personalized monthly reports. Plans begin at $149 per month. Sign up now over at Again, that’s Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the producers, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.