Episode 72 | Posted on

Elevate Your Speaking Skills to Get Your Message Across with Tamsen Webster

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This Week’s Guest:

Tamsen Webster is a brilliant keynote speaker and change strategist, but she’s also an insightful “idea whisperer” who knows how to bring a talk or presentation to life. Her experience with the topic runs deep; she’s the executive director of the oldest (and one of the largest) locally organized TED talk events in the world.


In addition, Tamsen has 20 years of experience in marketing, and spent 13 years as a Weight Watchers leader. This marketing experience, combined with her passion for compelling and effective talks, makes her an in-demand consultant on finding the ideas that move people to action. She’s particularly noteworthy for her simple yet powerful “red thread” framework, which she’ll explore in depth in this episode.


Find Out More About Tamsen Here:

@tamadear on Twitter
@TamsenWebster on Facebook
Find the Red Thread on YouTube


In This Episode:


  • [01:21] – Tamsen describes her framework, called the “red thread.”
  • [02:43] – The “red thread” is a Scandinavian phase related to the Greek myth of the minotaur and the labyrinth. Tamsen explains the origin, and then explores how it relates to her framework.
  • [06:28] – Tamsen walks us through her framework in more detail, mapping the various steps back to the labyrinth myth and her red thread concept. She explores the process of identifying the goal, the problem, the idea or diagnosis, and the change or solution.
  • [15:32] – We reach the last piece in putting a talk together: actions.
  • [17:04] – Stephan gives Tamsen an example: she’s trying to convince someone who doesn’t believe they have a problem as a speaker that this framework is the change that is required. What would be the goal, problem, idea, change, and actions in that scenario?
  • [20:04] – In response to Tamsen’s answer to his question, Stephan talks about the concept of the “wall of context” he’s been exploring on his other podcast, the Optimized Geek. Tamsen then expands on what Stephan has been saying, explaining that the audience needs to have its goal met on two levels: intellectual and emotional.
  • [23:23] – How could you match Tamsen’s framework with Stephan’s recent talk, “Seven Steps to Hiring an Insanely Great SEO”?
  • [25:11] – Tamsen explains what she means when she says that details obscure meaning.
  • [29:06] – We learn what the most important word in your mind when putting together a talk or a message should be.
  • [33:33] – Stephan expands on what Tamsen has been saying.
  • [34:31] – Stephan returns to the example of redoing his talk to use Tamsen’s framework. He gives an example of one of his steps, and she explains how to fit it into her red thread concept by walking her through her thought process. She asks questions to help get to insightful answers, which serves as a great example of questions to ask yourself about your talks.
  • [43:21] – After hearing Tamsen’s answer, Stephan unfolds what she has been saying and draws out another aspect of it. She then digs deeper into the structure of using her framework for a talk.
  • [46:38] – Tamsen offers some thoughts and insight for people who have been doing how-based talks instead of why-based talks, and wants to get keynote speaking gigs instead of just breakout sessions.
  • [52:48] – How can people reach Tamsen? She recommends going to her site at TamsenWebster.com.


Links and Resources:

@tamadear on Twitter
@TamsenWebster on Facebook
Find the Red Thread on YouTube
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
The Optimized Geek
Ann Handley
Bigger, Braver, Bolder Content Marketing


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