The lowdown: Learn everything you need to plan the perfect speech with this TED Talks summary.
Unless you’re living under some kind of rock, you’ve probably come across a TED Talk by now.
TED Talks give experts in their field a platform to discuss what they’re passionate about.
Every TED Talk is interesting at the very least, and at
However, the one thing that stops most people giving TED-quality talks is that public speaking can seem terrifying.
The sad part of that is so many great ideas never see the light of day because people are scared to share them. In TED Talks, TED founder, Chris Anderson gives the advice to improve your public speaking.
- Audible Audiobook
- Chris Anderson (Author) – Chris Anderson, Tom Rielly, Kelly Stoetzel (Narrators)
- English (Publication Language)
- 05/03/2016 (Publication Date) – Brilliance Audio (Publisher)
The three main lessons from the book are:
- Earn your audience’s trust be making eye contact
- The five-step process in explaining complex messages
- Consider what you wear
Lesson One: Earn your audience’s trust be making eye contact
While you may have a speech or presentation that you give time and time again, no two presentations will be the same.
The reason…. the audience.
To truly connect with your audience, you’ll need to meet them on a personal level.
People are protective of their views and will usually meet any argument with skepticism. For example, if you were a five-coffee-a-day type of person, and your professor mentioned in a lecture that coffee leads to cancer, would you instantly give up drinking coffee? Probably not.
But if you connect with your audience, there is a likelihood that you’ll break down the emotional wall of doubt an audience automatically puts up. The best ways to connect to an audience is to maintain eye contact and to show your vulnerability.
Choose a few people and keep eye contact with them, it shows that you’re talking to someone… and not at a group of people. You should also look to show a little vulnerability yourself, in order to get the audience to do the same.
Lesson Two: The five-step process in explaining complex messages
If you’ve seen a TED Talk, you’ll probably notice that many of the ideas covered are incredibly complicated but somehow seem simple when explained… Well, this isn’t luck. It is a process that you can copy yourself. The process is as follows:
- Meet the audience where they are: To connect with the audience, you’ll have to start the speech with something that is relevant to them.
- Spark their curiosity: Offer a fact or a statistic that will get your audience to ask’why’ or ‘how’.
- Go over your concepts individually: We can only understand one concept at a time, so make sure you take your time going over your concepts individually.
- Use metaphors: Metaphors are great because we use concepts we are familiar with to explain ideas we are not familiar with.
- Find examples: Make up hypothetical examples that the audience will remember. Use brands, characters and concepts that the audience are already familiar with.
Lesson Three: Consider what you wear
You should ask the host of the event you’re speaking at if there is a dress code. You don’t want to show up looking completely different to everyone there.
Another thing to think about is if the speech will be recorded or not; that will dictate what you should and shouldn’t wear.
If you’re being filmed avoid the following:
- All white because you’ll like a shining ball of light
- All black because you’ll look like a floating head
- Small patters because they usually have a weird shimmering effect on the camera
Once you know what the dress code is and if you’re being filmed, choose something that you’re comfortable in.
My Personal Takeaway
I think the book’s method of explaining a complicated idea is great. I often see a TED Talk about neuroscience or something I know zero about, and by the end, I actually understand the point that the speaker is making. That five-step method is one I will use.
Put it into action
While this isn’t one of the lessons from the book summary, the most important thing you can do today is to focus on putting variations in your voice.
You’ve all had that lecturer or speaker who mono-tones their way though a presentation.
They suck, don’t be like them.
You should consider buying this book if…
Business owners who want to share their ideas would love this book. However, anybody who wants to improve their public speaking will learn something from TED Talks.
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