TED Talk of the Week: Chancelier “Xero” Skidmore

Big Fish Presentations prides itself on the cultivation of excellent presentations. In order to achieve excellence, we must strive to grow and learn every day. One way to do that is to study great speakers around us.
TED Talk of the Week is a series that allows us to explore strengths found in speeches covering a number of topics.
We listen, we learn, we grow.

The Speaker

Chancelier “Xero” Skidmore is an Executive Director of Forward Arts with over 15 years of experience as a trained teaching-artist, facilitator, curriculum writer, and youth worker. As a spoken word artist, Chancelier has been ranked twice among the top five slam poets in the United States and in October of 2013, he ranked 1st at the Individual World Poetry Slam Festival.

The Topic

“Why Artists Love Change”

According to Chancelier Skidmore, to live is to change. In this talk, Skidmore uses his skills as a talented slam poet to illustrate the relationship between art, change, and society.

Who Should Watch and Why

This speech is for anyone interested in slam poetry, art’s influence in society, or the nature of change within humanity.

Strengths of the Presentation

Skidmore begins his talk with one of his slam poems. The cold open into that piece is exciting and enticing, and the rhythm keeps the audience interested. He uses strong imagery and fervent emotion to hold the audience throughout the entire poem, and each sentence drips with sincerity.

Furthermore, his ability to use storytelling within the poem crafts a narrative that intrigues the listener, but is still relevant to the topic. This allows for a seamless transition into the presentation portion of his talk.

After finishing his poem, Skidmore shifts gears, adopting a more relaxed tone and sprinkling in humor as a new tool to captivate his audience. Though his subject matter was complex and intangible – change as it relates to art and human nature – he is able to masterfully articulate with no visual aides.

With only his words to guide the audience, he expertly explains the science behind change and conflict. He then moves the audience to explore how we can relate our own human chemistry to the relationship between art, change, and society. His words color the stage, inspiring the audience in a logical, yet creative way.

By the end of the presentation, Skidmore gracefully falls back into the rhythm heard in his poem. He artfully crafts the entire talk to be two interdependent parts – the poem and the presentation — that eventually meld into one.


  • Using an art form like poetry to spice up your presentation is a creative way to get your audience interested from the beginning.
  • Successful storytelling can make a conceptual topic relatable.
  • Sometimes, strong and powerful words can paint a better picture than any photograph could.
  • Thinking of your presentation as an art form in itself can give way to a masterpiece.

We’re so excited to hear from Chancelier “Xero” Skidmore at Assembly Required: Masters of the Story on November 10. As an award-winning poet, Skidmore has proven his mastery of storytelling. We encourage everyone to attend Assembly Required to hear from Chancelier and other speakers who have mastered the art of the story.

Tickets are available now! Get yours today here and keep being inspired.

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