Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds

Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds

by Carmine Gallo

Talk Like TED provides the tools for mastering the art of storytelling. After carefully analyzing the content and delivery of the most popular TED talks of all time, the author has identified the most important elements of impactful and memorable speeches. This book serves as a step-by-step guide to becoming a presenter who can engage with their audience, inspire others to pursue their dreams and ambitions, and stimulate the mind with novelty and jaw-dropping moments.

Summary Notes

Unleash the Master Within

“The most popular TED speakers share something in common with the most engaging communicators in any field—a passion, an obsession they must share with others.”

True passion is more than just a fleeting interest or hobby - it's a core part of who we are and helps us feel alive. The best TED speakers are invited to share their ideas with the public and communicate their core beliefs, hoping that they can inspire people to search for their own driving force in life.

Passionate people are strongly motivated and approach life with a problem-solving mindset. If we accept that happiness is a choice we consciously make, we can tackle any obstacle in life and turn it into an opportunity for growth and satisfaction.

To stay positive, inspired, and motivated, you need to surround yourself with like-minded, passionate people. Once you’ve identified your passion, reach out to friends, colleagues, and family members and talk to them about what drives you in life. Communicate your goals and your enthusiasm to accomplish them. You might be surprised by the powerful response your passion can inspire.

Actions to take

Master the Art of Storytelling

“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.”

Your stories engage the brains of your listeners and help you connect with your audience on a deeper level and make an impact on them.

According to Aristotle, there are three components of persuasion: ethos (credibility), logos (evidence and data), and pathos (emotional appeal). Every component should be (almost) equally present if you want your stories to be unforgettable and impactful.

When designing a presentation, categorize the content into these three categories first. If you notice that your presentation lacks pathos, try including more anecdotes, insights, or stories that elicit an emotional response from your intended audience.

To make your stories come alive, on the other hand, provide well-crafted, detailed descriptions, but avoid using meaningless buzzwords or clichés - they won't add value to your presentation and will dull the emotional impact. And don't forget to lighten things up with some humor! Adding comic elements can help your audience relax and relieve stress. The anecdotes you use to appeal to their emotions can be packed with humor, too.

Actions to take

Have a Conversation

“Practice relentlessly and internalize your content so that you can deliver the presentation as comfortably as having a conversation with a close friend.”

When delivering a presentation, your nonverbal communication should always match your verbal communication. Your persuasion skills will only work with the people in your audience after you’ve gained their trust.

To become more confident in the message you are planning to share, you need to spend enough time practicing. Set up a camera or a phone, record your presentation, and watch it back. If you can, ask friends and family members to watch you present and give you some honest, constructive feedback. Then, review your presentation with their comments in mind.

Pay attention to your pace - not too fast or too slow - and your tone. Are you using a conversational tone? The best TED speakers know how to connect with their audience and share their message in a language that anyone can understand. And as a general rule, the sweet spot for TED speeches is around 18 minutes. So, remember to time yourself while practicing.

Actions to take

Teach Me Something New

“Neuroscientists have found that only through bombarding the brain with new experiences do we force our minds to look at the world through a new lens.”

Curiosity fuels evolution. The unquenched desire for acquiring knowledge, learning skills, and finding creative solutions to existing problems is necessary for brain development.

So, when you’re giving a presentation, try to shake things up by introducing novel or unexpected elements. That's the best way to give your audience a fresh perspective on a topic. And if you really want to make your presentation memorable, don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and expose yourself to new people, places, and experiences. Creativity requires novelty, after all.

Once you’ve developed your presentation, it might be helpful to ask yourself, “What is the one thing I want the audience to know or learn about my topic?” The answer should be informative and simple enough to fit in the 140-character limit of a Tweet because Twitter is a fantastic marketing platform.

Actions to take

Deliver Jaw-Dropping Moments

“The brain remembers the emotional components of an experience better than any other aspect.”

Jaw-dropping moments are so emotionally charged that they make a lasting imprint on our minds. The best presentations contain jaw-dropping moments because people tend to remember the emotional aspect of the whole experience.

Instead of using a PowerPoint presentation to deliver a message, try using props. Unlike PowerPoint presentations, props introduce novelty, and they can be used to make or prove a key point.

Some people would hardly consider statistical data as a part of a jaw-dropping moment, but when it’s done correctly and creatively, it can shake people’s views, notions, and beliefs to the core.

Actions to take

Paint a Mental Picture with Multisensory Experiences

“Remember, the brain does not pay attention to boring things.”

Make sure that your presentation is anything but boring. Since the human mind craves novelty and stimulating experiences, you need to play with your audience’s senses. Use visually stunning images, riveting videos, voices, sounds, and carefully chosen words to convey a message.

If you make the slides of your presentation wordy, you will divide the focus. People will struggle to focus either on your words and message or on the packed PowerPoint presentation. For the best impact, you want your audience to give you their undivided attention. And remember, relying solely on PowerPoint isn't going to make you a great presenter.

Every once in a while, stop your presentation to show a product or a service, make a little experiment, or ask the audience to participate. Multisensory experiences tend to be more memorable and impactful for the people listening to your presentation.

Actions to take

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