Would you rather be handed a brochure… or a ticket?

On balance, their material value is the same. In fact, brochures are more expensive to create and produce than a ticket (usually).

And yet the inherent value couldn’t be more different. Brochures (most of them) give you a bunch of information about things you could do, or might want to do, at some point, maybe. They give you info. The end.

But a ticket?

A ticket is an invitation.

It’s not what you could do, but what you’re about to do.

And that means the ticket itself implies action. It means you’re going somewhere. Tickets are the currency of travel, of experience, and you can’t usually get where you want to go, whether it’s a flight to Paris or a Broadway show, without one. It represents the journey and the destination. 

A brochure? Hmm. I know it’s around here somewhere. Where is it? Maybe I tossed it.

See? That’s the problem.

Your talk should not be a brochure; it should be a ticket.

That is to say, your talk should take the recipient somewhere. It’s an invitation to go somewhere, see something new, think something new. There’s excitement in a ticket. Someone gives you a ticket for something, or if you buy it yourself, you’re not going to lose it. You’re going to know where that thing is at all times.

When you step onto a stage, you have the power to give someone a brochure — or hand them a ticket.

You have access to a world they may not know, ideas they’ve never considered, perspectives they’ve never had. You don’t want to give a talk that gets tucked under their windshield wipers and left there in the rain. You want them ready to take that ticket and go where you’re going.

How you know your talk is a ticket

  • It has a clear destination. Ask yourself, do you know not just where you’re going, but where you’re taking them? What is the itinerary? It has to be purposeful and clear. Not just some thing they “could” do. That means you know what you need them to see, and then you leave most stuff out. A talk, like a trip, is curated, and specific. You don’t go to see all of Italy; you pick a few places. That’s what your talk should do, too.
  • It’s an invitation. Not an “agenda” or “instructions.” The best talks get people excited because they feel they, too, can go where you’re going—in fact, they want to. That means you give them what they need (insights, permission, strategies) to take action themselves; they’re not being told to do a thing. People hate that.

You give people what they need (insights, permission, strategies) to take action themselves; they’re not being told to do a thing. People hate that.

  • It has urgency. Tickets are about now, not later. And your talk must make a case for why now, not five years ago, and not five years in the future. There’s a reason why what you’re sharing with your audience matters right now, and you don’t want them to stuff it away in a file drawer like a brochure (which is what most people do with most talks they hear). You want them to take it—and run.

Want to get your TED-worthy idea out of your head and onto the page (and stage)? Join us at Tapped to Speak LIVE, April 4&5 in Boston. Learn more now! 

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