In “What memorizing a TED talk did to my brain,” Alexis Madrigal, a TED 2015 speaker, describes what has been so unusual—and compelling—about TED conferences:
The strangest thing about TED, which is running this week in Vancouver, British Columbia, is not the four-figure price tag or earnest, almost cultish following. It’s that almost everyone on stage has memorized their lines. At most conferences, you get a mix of people reading from PowerPoint decks, using teleprompters, or simply ad-libbing around loose outlines. But not at TED. Here, memory reigns.
In his article, Madrigal provides a useful description of his memorization process and notes something that good coaches know: Practice and memorization will make your talk better.
From the article:
All the live practice began to reshape the talk itself. Every difficult phrasing got changed or cut. Other people’s direct quotes were the hardest to memorize, so I cut some of those, too. At one point, I had to recite a series of strange computer-generated phrases, which I would not recommend putting in your memorized talk. Without semantic meaning, strings of words are so, so hard to remember.