It’s no secret that some of the most enduring, captivating presentations are made on the TED platform. So if you need to get your point across in a presentation, and make your audience care, you need to study what makes millions of people watch TED’s most compelling talks.
I read a fascinating book that breaks down what goes into a successful TED talk—and reveals secrets of connecting deeply with listeners. “Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds,” by Carmine Gallo, is what he learned from interviewing scientists and communications experts to determine why some of the TED talks were so successful. What he found is a great resource for taking your presentation skills to the next level.
Here are my favorite points from this book that definitely are worth spreading. I feel strongly that our next presentations will be better—potentially a whole lot better and more confident—if we understand these points and prepare accordingly.
1. Define Your Mastery. It’s important to do this first. When you pinpoint your unique journey to this moment, you are also identifying your passion. You’re speaking because people need and want to hear what you have to say. You must find the source of your inspiration before you can give it to others. No great presentation happens without passion and belief. People listening can tell if you believe and they won’t believe unless they know your believe.
2. Communicate Something New. To suffocate boredom, you want to reveal information that is completely new to your audience, or packaged a new way. It can also offer a new way to solve an old problem. Challenge yourself to unleash your creativity and find an innovative approach to your next presentation.
3. Make it a Conversation. We’ve been conditioned to take information from speaker to listener, without a dialogue. A great presentation is delivered with the passion of someone speaking directly to you about something they care deeply about. A true conversational style brings what is on the inside—your heart, your core understanding of your topic and why it matters and is worth acting on—and makes your audience see and feel it.
4. Tell Great Stories. Like the previous point, a story is the path beyond facts and into hearts and minds. The TED speakers with the longest standing ovations are often the ones who tell the most stories. “Brain scans reveal that stories stimulate and engage 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,” Gallo says. (As an example, here’s my fearless living story.)
5. Deliver Jaw-Dropping Moments. This is the moving, memorable moment that a listener cannot forget. In the brain, this emotionally charged event is a heightened state of awareness. It can come from a shocking, impressive or surprising moment in the presentation.
6. Paint a Multisensory Picture of the Point You’re Trying to Make. We’re in a world where sound, images, text and more are increasingly combined for fresh storytelling. The best presentations command attention through mesmerizing images, captivating videos, interesting props, beautiful words, and multiple voices bringing the story to life. For many audiences, this element is the intangible element that makes a presentation memorable. As Gallo puts it, “The brain craves multisensory experiences.” By touching on multiple senses (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell), you face far less chance of your audience being bored.
7. Resist Changing Lanes. The most effective TED speakers don’t try to be (or promise) anything they are not. Don’t get talked into a presentation that isn’t in your wheelhouse. It’s hard enough when you are passionate; giving a great speech is incredibly more difficult if you’re not putting your best self out there.
“Each person must find his or her own passion about the topic to make an authentic connection with the audience,” Gallo writes. “Don’t try to be Tony Robbins, Dr. Jill, Bono, Sheryl Sandberg, Richard Branson, or any of the other people you’ve read about… They carved out a lane for themselves and drove in it exceptionally well. Stay in your lane.”
8. Lighten Up. Humor lowers defenses and enhances connection. Self-deprecating humor used in the right dosage, makes you approachable and likable. We all love to laugh, find fun, authentic ways to weave in humor and you will connect.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
Ideas are the currency of this century, and TED offers a blueprint for how to connect our ideas to those who need to hear them and act upon them. We change the world when we fearlessly deliver a bold idea. Use these secrets to package and deliver your ideas for optimal effect. Let me know what works for you!
The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to kick-start growth. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company’s Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops teach business people the framework for successful negotiating, so that you can close more deals while building stronger relationships. Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter and subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast on iTunes.