Brad Garnett

Welcome to my Digital Forensics and Incident Response oasis!

Digital Forensics, Incident Response, and Information Security

My TEDxEvansville 2016 Talk & Experience

After months of preparation, TEDxEvansville 2016 has come and gone. Thank you to the community for getting behind this event! I am fortunate to have been selected as a speaker this year and what an experience! WOW. A special thank you to Jenn, Heather, Lori, Zac, Stacey, and all the volunteers that made this event truly awesome! Also, thank you to the sponsors that supported this event.

For those of you not familiar with TED talks, TED is a non-profit that is devoted to sharing ideas  through short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TEDx= independently organized TED event (TEDxEvansville is operated under a license by TED).

The title of my talk, "The Era of Cyber Insecurity: Protecting our Digital Community" was inspired by my experiences as a former law enforcement officer and DFIR practitioner. The goal of my talk was to provide some common things any citizen can do to protect his/her personal information.

If you are in digital forensics and incident response (DFIR), you know how easy it is for someone have to have their personal identifiable information (PII) stolen. If you enjoyed my talk, please feel free to share it in your talks, or point family, friends, or neighbors to it when it comes to protecting their PII. I had  numerous folks come up to me afterwards and share kind words (thank you). In particular, I spoke with a nice lady who has a son that works in infosec for a large corporation that doesn't make it home often. She spoke very highly of him and couldn't be more proud of the career path that has chosen him (very awesome to hear and glad she could relate to my talk! Keep up the good fight my fellow responder!)


Preparing for a TED Talk (technology topic)

  1. Know your Audience (Community): TED talks are community-driven, so your talk must be focused on your community and audience. A talk that would be delivered at a security, or forensic conference is probably not the format you want to talk.

  2. The Beginning and End: Focus on the beginning and end of your talk. Powerful opening with a powerful closing. If you opt for slides, or a "Prezi" a powerful opening and closing will help your flow, memorization of your talk, and the content for the middle of your talk. As I mentioned earlier, TED talks are 18 minutes or less, so having a powerful opening and closing will allow you to judge how much time you have for the middle of your talk. My talk was slotted for 12-14 minutes, so I had an idea of how to target and tailor my content for that timeframe. (Yes, depending on the # of speakers selected for the event that will allow the organizers to give you more, or less time for you talk).

  3. Listen to your Coach: Most TED events will assign coaches to each speaker (Thank you Lori). Your coach will help you prepare, and give you honest feedback. My coach helped me juggle the balancing act between technology and the intended audience. Your coach's most important investment is his/her time. Be open-minded and listen to what they are telling you. Come the day of your talk, the time and preparation you have put in will shine.

  4. Practice, Practice, and Practice: This is the most important part in preparing for a talk. There are no shortcuts when it comes to getting your talk into muscle memory. I would practice my talk sometime between 4-5 times on weekends and then daily leading up to my actual talk. Depending on the deadlines associated with your talk, your preparation will start months before your actual talk. I began preparing 4 months ahead of my talk. 

  5. The Balancing Act: This was something that I had to constantly change. If you are giving a TED talk on a technology, or STEM topic remember the audience. You want to establish why you are the expert (usually established by the M.C. introducing you) to talk on the subject. Don't turn it into a lecture, or a how-to per se. You want to tell a story and keep the audience immensely focused on you. Does that sound intimidating? Yes, however consider it as a confirmation that they are listening and intimately relating to the story as you deliver it.


 Resources :

  1. How to Give a Killer Presentation-
  2. Chris Anderson: "TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking" | Talks to Google- 



I wanted to keep this list to just five (5) things that really helped me prepare my talk. I hope that you find it useful. Please leave a comment, or ping me on Twitter (@brgarnett) if this information has been helpful to you. I may turn this into a series, based upon any feedback that I receive.