? How to Talk Like a TED Speaker

? How to Talk Like a TED Speaker

? How to Talk Like a TED Speaker

? How to Talk Like a TED Speaker

? How to Talk Like a TED Speaker

How to Talk Like a TED Speaker

If you’ve ever watched or attended a TED Talk, you can clearly tell  how well each speaker delivers their presentation . Maybe at one point during the talk, it captured your attention, and somehow sparked a bit of curiosity, wonder, or perhaps, even action.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a conference series about “ideas worth spreading” that started in 1990.

In 2006,  after several TV networks rejected a series pitch, TED started posting videos  of their talks online and within a short space of time, TED was a household name for anyone who cared about ideas, innovation, what makes us who we are, and what will contribute to our futures. Not only were people captivated by the ideas shared, but by the way the speakers delivered them.

"Vision begins with the eyes, but it truly takes place in the brain. " — Fei-Fei Li Share on X

There’s no question about it:  TED Talks have raised the bar sky-high  for what’s considered a memorable and compelling business presentation. Thanks to the quality of its speakers — the already famous and the not-so-famous alike — the invitation-only “big”  TED and TEDx events are consistent sellouts .

Great public speakers motivate their audience and inspire them to take action.

There are a handful of TED Talks speakers so talented that they almost make the rest seem dull and uninspired.  What makes them so special and popular ?

How to talk like a TED speaker?

ImportantIn all of the talks, the content of the presentations was novel; the speakers managed to  connect emotionally to their audience ; and the content was presented in a way that made it easy to remember.

So how do you turn yourself into a compelling speaker just like the TED speakers? How to talk like a TED speaker? Follow these tips and secrets and harness them to change any pitch or presentation you’ll ever do in the future!

rabbits against magic unleash master
Unleash The Master Within
Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate.Job Bon Jovi

Passion leads to mastery and mastery forms the foundation of an extraordinary presentation.  You cannot inspire others unless you are inspired yourself .

ImportantWhen it comes to engaging an audience of any kind and talk like a TED speaker, whether it’s a classroom, a group of your colleagues, or audience members at a conference,  passion is infectious .

When you really, deeply care about something, you’ll work hard to achieve it. If you can get across how much you care about a topic, people will stop and listen.

Passion is the foundation of a persuasive and successful presentation.

 Feel like that’s tough to do? Practice . The more opportunities you have to practice public speaking, the better you’ll get at gauging your crowd, and the more natural it will feel for you to share your passion with them.

"Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change." — Brene Brown Share on X

 Exude confidence with powerful body language  and a commanding presence accompanied by a conversational and engaging tone. That’s the only way for you to persuade them to listen to the message you’re trying to communicate.

Passion is the intense, positive feeling you get from pursuing activities that are deeply meaningful to you. 

ImportantThe human brain changes constantly in response to the input it receives. If you put yourself in a position where you have to speak passionately on a regular basis, your brain will adapt to the task, and you’ll improve at it.

So ask yourself these two questions:

When you’re able to answer that, you are on a good path to delivering a great presentation!

You can be passionate about quite a few things, but maybe not everything makes your heart sing.

Why We Do What We Do

In this TED Talk, Why We Do What We Do, Tony Robbins, a psychologist and life coach, discusses the “invisible forces” that drives us to do what we do. These forces, usually grounded in emotion, can motivate ourselves and others. He invites us to explore our minds so we’ll have more to give, but more importantly, so we can understand and appreciate what drives other people too.

garfield comic strip storytelling
Tell Stories
Good stories surprise us. They make us think and feel. They stick in our minds and help us remember ideas and concepts in a way that a PowerPoint crammed with bar graphs never can.Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow, The Storytelling Edge

TTo talk like a TED speaker,  tell stories to reach people’s hearts and minds . Brain scans reveal that stories stimulate the human brain, helping the speaker connect with the audience and making it much more likely that the audience will agree with the speaker’s point of view.

Stories connect us to our compassion and help us to put ourselves in the shoes of the storyteller.

Most people would agree that Steve Jobs was one of the world’s best public speakers. But what made his presentations so persuasive? His talks were always  brimming with pathos – as all successful, persuasive presentations are .

“I am obsessed with giving the audience something they do not see coming.” — Jordan Peele Share on X

ImportantBetween pathos (emotion), logos (logic) and ethos (character) try to have a ratio of 65 / 25 / 10. That means that emotions are about ⅔ of the presentation. That might feel like a lot, but for a presentation in front of an audience, that’s what moves people.

But how do you inject more pathos into your talk? The best way is through storytelling. Stories illustrate, illuminate, and inspire.

 Storytelling helps you to connect with your audience  by making your presentation less abstract and more identifiable. There are three types of stories that can help you accomplish this:

A powerful personal story is one that answers a question such as, “What’s your earliest memory of childhood?”

Such as a story about a friend whose first idea for a start-up failed miserably, but whose next idea attracted many investors.

In one TED talk, Ludwick Marshane – the inventor of DryBath, a skin gel that cleans without water – entertained the audience with the tale of how his brand helped people in countries suffering from water shortages.

WarningHowever,  stories need to be accompanied by the right delivery  to wield their maximum impact. To do justice to your story, you need to think about speed, stature, and body language. The most engaging story in the world will have no power if you race through it in a bored voice.

HacksYou would  use concepts like heroes and villains . Your audience will be able to relate and won’t forget you and your story.

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Unlike many other TED Talks speakers, Sir Ken Robinson doesn’t have a dynamic physical presence. In the midst of his humor, he relates his personal experience at the conference to that of the attendees. This further humanizes him and brings him into the community of the audience. He establishes such a strong rapport with the audience that he doesn’t need visuals or graphics to make his points.  This is a testament to how well he manages to capture and then hold the audience’s attention.

garfield comic strip jaw-dropping
Deliver Jaw-dropping Moments
I’ve learned about the poetry and the wisdom and the grace that can be found in the words of people all around us when we simply take the time to listen.Dave Isey

Jaw-dropping moments are anything in a presentation that evokes strong emotional response such as joy, fear, or surprise. These actually  grab the audience’s attention  and are the moments that will stick to the audience long after the presentation is over.

Are you watching the news? Do you want to know what’s going on? Are you interested in trends, developments, discoveries?

Most of us are curious. We want to be on the forefront of what’s happening.

Important The human brain loves novelty . An unfamiliar, unusual, or unexpected element in a presentation jolts the audience out of their preconceived notions, and quickly gives them a new way of looking at the world.

"You may use your power to build walls…or you may use it to break barriers." — Shahrukh Khan Share on X

If you want to capture the attention of your audience and talk like a TED speaker,  you should weave novel and surprising information into your presentation .

Think about the last time you heard new information that made you think, ‘Wow!’ You were completely engaged in that moment and in that information because it made you sit up and take notice.

Hacks Shocking statistics also can grab your audience’s attention . While you prepare your presentation, it’s worthwhile searching for interesting facts or statistics that illustrate your argument.

New and interesting information makes people sit up and take notice. And the information can be remembered more easily, too.

HacksSo  integrate new information into your presentation . Something that your audience hasn’t heard before. And the best way to deliver it is in a Twitter friendly headline. Try to use no more than 140 characters! This grabs attention.

The Mosquito Effect

When Bill Gates wanted to make a point at TED about the dangers of malaria, he brought along a jar of mosquitos. During his talk, he presented the audience with this jar, and told them that he was going to set them free so that they, too, can experience malaria. Despite the fact that those mosquitoes weren’t carriers of the disease, the stunt still brought his listeners to attention.

garfield comic strip funny joke
Be Funny
Being funny, it turns out, is like being a bank. It’s a confidence trick. As long as everyone believes in you, you are fine.Evan Davis

Think back to the last presentation you truly enjoyed. Was it at all funny? Studies show that we attribute such positive traits as friendliness, intelligence and emotional stability to people who have a good sense of humor.

ImportantBecause the brain loves humor,  speakers should give the audience something to smile about . This is because humor lowers defenses, making audiences more receptive to a message.

"Facebook and Twitter are not the real problems in the office. The real problems are what I like to call the M&Ms, the Managers and the Meetings." — Jason Fried Share on X

If you aim to talk like a TED speaker,  using humor can make all the difference  to whether or not people engage with it or not. You don’t have to be a stand-up or go for big laughs, but if you can get a smile or a little chuckle out of people, then you’re onto a winner.

Given the power of humor, it makes sense that you should learn to incorporate it in your own presentations.

In one study published in Harvard Business Review, humor was shown to reduce hostility, relieve tension and improve morale among colleagues. Another study that examined the differences between average and outstanding business executives demonstrated that, on average, those  executives ranked as outstanding used humor  more than twice as often as did average executives.

Use humor in your presentation. The more laughs you get, the better you’ll be remembered.

Hacks Think back to anecdotes, stories, observations, or insights  that have made you or your colleagues smile in the past. If they worked there and are appropriate to your presentation, weave them into your narrative and practice telling it.

You’re Kidding Me?

In a talk about the negative societal effects of economic inequality, University of Nottingham professor Richard Wilkinson described how Denmark has a low level of inequality and a healthy, happy population. Not exactly the kind of material you’d expect to get a laugh with. However, Wilkinson found one with this incisive observation: “Americans who want to live the American dream should go to Denmark.”

peanizles comic strip time machine
Stick to The 18-minute Rule
Virality isn’t luck. It’s not magic. And it’s not random. There’s a science behind why people talk and share. A recipe. A formula, even.Jonah Berger

A TED presentation can be no longer than 18 minutes.  Eighteen minutes is the ideal length of time to get your point across .

Ever noticed that after sitting through a long talk you feel exhausted and physically depleted? Your audience may face the same problem. Researchers have discovered that  “cognitive backlog,” too much information, prevents the successful transmission of ideas .

The reason for the 18 min rule is simple: Our brain is an energy hog. 

Warning Concentration fades quickly after a while . Keeping a full room alert and attentive is a big challenge. And when you want to be remembered, it’s better to have a short and great presentation.

Keep your presentation short. This makes it far easier for audiences to remember the content.

ImportantTED Curator Chris Anderson said that a presentation should only be long enough to be serious and get the message out, but short enough to hold people’s attention.

"There is zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas." — Susan Cain Share on X

WarningIn addition to keeping your presentation short, keep in mind that  it should not cover more than three separate themes . These aspects can be organized in a message map:

Create a Twitter-friendly headline. You must answer the question: “What’s the single most-important message I want my audience to take away?”

Next, you have to find the three (or fewer) messages which support your headline message.

Reinforce the three messages with stories, statistics, and examples.

Draw Me a Picture

You’ve probably noticed that the best TED talks use pictures rather than PowerPoint presentations that are often dense with text. This makes sense, as we have a limited capacity for absorbing information. Thus, a PowerPoint presentation filled with words can overwhelm and distract your audience. Instead, use pictures to support your presentation, paired with a few focused keywords that support your argument.

How to Talk Like a TED Speaker
Final Thoughts
Your number-one mission as a speaker is to take something that matters deeply to you and to rebuild it inside the minds of your listeners. We’ll call that something an idea.Chris J. Anderson
The most inspiring TED speakers are open, authentic, and, at times, vulnerable. The ability to present ideas in a persuasive way is one of the core skills needed in the twenty-first century.

ImportantWhen you deliver a presentation, it’s important to make it stand out; to do so,  you need to connect emotionally with your audience . And if you want your audience to remember your talk, keep it short, cover no more than three themes and appeal to your audience’s senses.

“A successful talk is a little miracle – people see the world differently afterwards.” ― Chris J. Anderson Share on X

To talk like a TED speaker,  practice relentlessly and internalize the content or message you want to communicate . Most successful speakers in the world practice their talks more than a hundred times before delivering them to the public!

WarningMake no mistake. Your ability to persuasively  sell your ideas is the single greatest skill that will help you achieve your dreams . The next time you have a speaking engagement, try these tips to deliver your message like a TED Talk presenter.

Follow these rules and you’ll astonish, electrify, and inspire your audiences.

Tell us what you think of these tips and tricks. If you would like to share other public speaking strategies, please feel free to share your opinion in the comments section below.

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