TEDxSantaBarbara Scott Mann, Speaker

In Collaborating, Speaker by Mark Sylvester

The Hack: Get the story in your bones. Practice six times as much as you think.


Retired Green Beret, Scott Mann gave the talk of his life about Rooftop Leadership at the 2016 TEDxSantaBarbara. Here's a behind-the-scenes discussion from someone inside the event, but outside the production. A unique point of view that helps you understand what your Speakers are going through as they make their road to the red circle. He talks about his work with Kymberlee Weil, TEDxSantaBarbara's speaker coach, from Strategic Samurai.

Scott is a storyteller. Since he left active duty, he works on leadership development with incoming soldiers with his Mann Camp project. Scott understands the power of storytelling and makes a convincing case about how important high-stakes communications are. He felt that his TEDtalk was one of the scarier things he's done in life. Really? I'd rather be in the red circle than circling in a helicopter waiting to parachute down, that's for sure.

The Lightning Round

  • Tell us a bit about your background and your TEDx origin story.

    Scott is a decorated veteran and leader. He met Kymberlee Weil, TEDxSantaBarbara's speaker coach and head of Strategic Samurai in April 2013, when she picked him to be on the stage. Scott confided that he was terrified. He approached the challenge like he would any mission.

  • How many TEDx events have you worked with or produced?

    Just one, TEDxSantaBarbara

  • What made your TEDx experience unique?

    Scott speaks all over the United States, what made this talk unique was the high-stakes nature of it. He knew that the audience had been curated, and was packed with high-powered, influential people. He learned the nuances and differences between a TEDx talk and other talks he's given in the past.

  • What’s your Superpower?

    Collaborating. Scott believes that working with a coach is the only way to prepare for this type of talk. He practices something he calls the Three R's. Regimen, Rigor, and Ritual. He rehearsed every day.

  • What was the biggest surprise while working on your event?

    How much he relied on his coach, Kymberlee. He said he was, "aggressively coached." Yep, that sounds like Kymberlee.

  • Every event has its challenges, what was the biggest dragon you had to overcome?

    Scott's from Tampa, Florida and a Southern background. He wasn't sure how his military-slanted talk was going to go over in Southern California. He also confessed to having stage fright and an excess of nervous energy. Turns out, he didn't need to worry about either.

  • What’s one piece of advice you have for TEDx speakers?

    Connect as deeply as you can to your audience. Scott talked about something he calls the Storyteller's Triangle. The story was fantastic and worth the entire episode. It's about connecting the speaker to the audience to the story; it's quite remarkable.

  • The show is called Hacking the Red Circle, so what's your best hack?

    Do six times as much prep as you'd normally do for a talk.

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