Chris Anderson, Foundation Chairman and Curator of TED, has recently written on the ingredients behind the popularity of the TED talks. More than simply a book on presentations, TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking focuses on what makes TED different from other forms of public presentation. His main message is that “presentation literacy”, thanks to the widespread availability of videos online, is a true 21st-century competence: Getting your message across to a worldwide audience is more important than ever.
The book is divided into three main parts, including the Foundation, Talk Tools, and Preparation. Each section goes into detail on why each is important – here are a few highlights:
- Your talk needs a throughline, the “journey” the talk will take us on in 15 words or less. From some popular TED talks: More choice makes us less happy; Terrible city flags reveal design secrets
- Talks must offer connection; to do so requires eye contact, trust, and permission. A good talk is not about sharing your wisdom and experience, but rather asking others to join you for a moment on a journey.
- TED talks – differently from B2B presentations, for example – focus on ONE single idea. It should appeal to the audience’s identity and offer emotional, not intellectual, impact.
- Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse: Most speakers put in 5-6 hours of rehearsal (preparation not included!) for their 10-minute talk. This level of “learning by heart” helps speakers to a) deliver when they are extremely nervous and b) be more present during their talk, since they are not trying to remember their lines.
Read this book for the many behind-the-scenes anecdotes on TED talks you have surely seen. You will also be impressed by the level of attention TED pays to speakers’ performances (including the TED dress code) and for insights into new forms of visual presentation that they are experimenting with.
Did you know? We have our very own TEDx event on May 24, 2017 – check it out here: TEDxHochschuleLuzern