How to Sound Smart During Your TED Talk

Will Stephen has nothing to say, but he won't let that stop him.
By Christine Linnell
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    Earlier this year, comedian Will Stephen was invited to give a TEDx Talk in New York – but he had absolutely nothing to say whatsoever. Was he going to let that stop him? Hell no.

    “Through my manner of speaking, I will make it seem like I do,” he said, pacing the stage thoughtfully as he spoke into his little yellow earpiece. “Like what I am saying is brilliant. And maybe, just maybe, you will feel like you’ve learned something.”

    He then demonstrated how to pretend you’re smart and well-researched by using hand gestures, adjusting your glasses, asking the audience a question by show of hands, telling an endearing personal anecdote and showing a picture of a random scientist he found on Google. He went on to display a list of accurate but completely irrelevant numbers and a pie chart of similarly irrelevant data.

    “If you were, say, watching this on YouTube with the sound off, you might think, ‘Huh, okay! This guy knows what he’s talking about.’ But I don’t. I’m floundering, panicking, I’ve got nothing. I’m a total and utter phony.”