Practice Makes Eli Pariser Almost “Perfect” for his Talk at a TED Conference

Being asked to speak at a TED conference is a very big deal. So when author Eli Pariser was given his nine minutes of fame in front of an influential TED audience, he needed to make the most of the opportunity to promote the ideas in his book, The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You.Practice Ted Ideas Worth Spreading

TED conferences are prestigious events attended by industry leaders who come to hear “riveting talks by remarkable people,” as the organization says on its website.

In The Filter Bubble, Eli discusses how search engines have become the curators of what they think is relevant to you, not necessarily what you need or want. His ideas are important and he wanted to communicate them forcefully so his publisher suggested he sign on for presentation training.

Best known as a political organizer for, The TED conference presented a huge challenge to Eli and was timed with the publication of his book. He had spoken before large audiences but not with the degree of polish he felt was needed in this situation.

Practice, practice, practice

A key to any speaker’s success is to practice, and then practice some more, then practice again in front of a third party.

The Internet enables online coaching and feedback. After two sessions, Eli used his iPhone to send links to us of his video rehearsals for critiquing. He rehearsed at night in his hotel room while attending the TED conference all day (he spoke on the final day).

You will see in the video below how he takes command of the stage. His authentic, true self comes through clearly. He is warm and personable. Notice his use of gestures for emphasis and his effective use of pauses. Eli started out with a strong grabber and closed with a call to action.  Additionally, he personalized the presentation by mentioning people whose names resonated with the audience.

How Our Information is Filtered

Eli practiced until he was almost “perfect” (being totally perfect is boring), and owned his remarks. His authenticity allowed the audience to focus on his key messages, and not his presentation style. He received an enthusiastic standing ovation.

According to Eli, “the rush to build the filter bubble is driven by commercial interests to create the most comprehensive portrait of each of us to drive personalized products and not to respond to our information needs.”

USA TODAY reported that consumers are fighting back to maintain their privacy, More Web surfers tell trackers of keep out, by using online tools and services — most of them free — designed to block online behavioral tracking.

“The Filter Bubble” is a compelling read. We’re confident that you will enjoy Eli’s thought-provoking talk.

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One Comment

  1. Eli Pariser’s Ted Talk was provocative and captivating. Thank you for sharing it. And thank you for reminding us that what may seem relaxed and off the cuff is a practiced and professional presentation honed to that special tipping point of “almost “perfect”. Thank you for the work you do.

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