Simon Willison’s Weblog


Why does TED refer to its speeches as “talks”?

8th December 2013

My answer to Why does TED refer to its speeches as “talks”? on Quora

I think this reflects a more general trend in the tech conference world which TED emerged from.

Content at tech conferences is usually referred to as “talks”, “presentations” or sometimes “keynotes”. The term “speach” I think has somewhat negative connotations—it implies reading a pre-prepared script with little-to-no audience interaction, and more of an emphasis on rhetoric than education. Politicians give speeches.

I’ve spoken at over 100 tech conferences, including a couple of keynotes, and I’ve never thought of one of my presentations as being a “speach”.

Or maybe it’s just the “TED talk” sounds better than “TED speach”.