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How to present like TED

Posted by Steve Ferris on 18 July 2014


TED (Technology, Education and Design) spreads new and exciting ideas to the public. People who present are highly esteemed, or at least they are after they speak.

What's impressive about these presentations is how great they can influence an audience. Yes, it's very impressive, but it's no secret. There is a formula, and now it's yours.

I just finished "Talk Like Ted" by Carmine Gallo, who is also a public speaking coach, and this is what I learned about talking like TED.

Here are the 9 parts that make a TED-worthy presentation



1.Be the passionate expert.

You must know your topic well, and have an emotional response yourself. Authenticity is hard to fake, and many people can see through an act. When you are enthusiastic or happy, or convicted and full of angst about your topic, your audience will connect with your emotions and your message will be heard.

2. Be a storyteller

Stories have emotional and sensory ques that light up many parts of your listener's brains. This wide array of ques makes it much easier for the brain to recieve and retain the new information. When you weave your message around a well-crafted story, your words will be remembered.

3. Practice like a maniac!

Why not practice a moderate amount? Because nobody remembers moderate! Not really. When you can speak without looking at the cards, and you can give a consistent presentation, this means you know your content. Now the next thing that happens is you internalize it, begin to add your emotions and personality to it. It actually becomes more genuine with rehearsal! That's just the opposite of what we think when we say "just go be yourself." That freedom to be our self is released after we press through memorizing our stuff and arrive at a deep understanding of it all.

4. Bring something new

We are slammed with new information everyday. Our poor brains have adapted to this by ignoring quite a lot of it. If you want to be heard, you must present a new perspective, or something that is unusual and remarkable. The brain notices, "Hey, that's new!", and starts to absorb and understand.

5. Bring the WOW!

These are the moments that cause a strong emotional response. How will you shock or amaze your audience? Bill Gates once released mosquitos into a venue where he was talking about malaria. It could a stylistic way of revealing a product, see Steve Jobs. It could be a dramatic use of props to make your point, like this anti-drug commercial that forever marked me as a child. It was later updated in the 90's

6. Be Funny

Humor lowers people's defenses. When you are precieved as a funny, people will also think of you as friendly, trustworthy and positive. There's no pressure to tell jokes, in fact the moment you start telling jokes people can begin to resist. They know you're trying to make them laugh. You have to sneak it in. Humorous observations and funny stories go a long way. Picking fun at yourself is also a good way to make others more comfortable. When they are laughing, they are open, and that's when you hit them with your ideas.

7. 18 minutes

That's the optimum amount of time our minds can process and retain new information. The science is there, and it is a pillar of TED talks, 18min. If you don't feel that you are able to stay in that time frame, that is a good indicator that you need to try and understand it better.“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.”
Albert Einstein

8. Use pictures

Keep your slides clean. No bullets or lines of text. Let images dominate the slide. If you need words, use as few as possible and keep them BIG. Have some numbers to share? Share them BIG. Our brains remember better when there are images to associate the information to.

9. Be you

Be honest, be genuine, and even vulnerable. If you can show people that something has touched you or has had an impact on you, they will be more inclined to pay attention. You shouldn't morph into a professional presenting machine when you stand in front of your audience. You are real, you have real ideas, and in this modern age, your ideas are valuable.

There it is, how to present like TED. And I can condense it even more.

Get excited, practice, and be authentic.

The book has a lot more great information to help you be a better speaker and presentor. You can get it in the link below.

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

What have you done in a presentation that really made an impact? We want to hear in the comments below.

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Topics: Marketing Strategy

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