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The Most Effective TED Talks and What You Can Learn from Them

Public speaking is not an innate talent that people are born with. It’s a skill that takes patience and constant practice to master. Many would agree that TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), an organization dedicated to spreading powerful ideas, is a pacesetter in producing the best presentations in the world. TED talks have been translated to more than a hundred languages, and TED events have been held in over 145 countries. Undoubtedly, the organization sets the bar higher in organized presentations.

This massive success begs the question: What does TED do differently that it manages to blow people’s minds over and over again? The answer lies in the speakers and the ideas they spread. TED speakers come onstage armed not only with powerful concepts and inspiring words but also with effective methods to get their message across. Here are eight lessons you can learn from the most successful TED talks ever held.

8 Public Speaking Lessons from the Most Viewed TED Talks

1. Hook the audience with one big idea

Everything, no matter how great, starts with a tiny spark of idea. Even the most elaborate TED talks begin with a simple concept that holds promise. As Jeremy Donovan, a TEdx organizer, said, “If you had to say there was one magical element to the best TED talks, it’s that those speakers picked one really, really big idea.” When giving a presentation, you don’t want to bombard your audience with a flurry of information. Choose one specific and interesting topic, then work around it. Attack it from a unique angle and give your audience something to think about. 

2. Start with an interesting opener

Don’t go onstage thinking that it’s the audience’s job to listen. You must earn the audience’s attention every time you take the limelight. The best TED speakers know this so they make their talks interesting from the moment they drop the first word.

  • Begin with an anecdote. Brene Brown opened her talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” with a story that was relevant to her point. This helped the audience understand Brown and her message.
  • State an incredible fact. Dan Gilbert is no stranger to the TED stage. One of the reasons why he captivates the audience every time he speaks is that he begins with an interesting statistic that turns heads.
  • Pause for ten seconds. Seth Godin advises public speakers to pause not for two, three or five seconds but for ten whole seconds to get everyone’s attention. And Godin should know since he’s one of America’s most respected marketing gurus.

8 Public Speaking Lessons from the Most Viewed TED Talks | Group of audience

3. Share a story that resonates with the audience

Everybody loves stories, especially those that appeal to the emotions. When you tell a story, make sure to not only relay the events but also the emotions you experienced. When you share genuine feelings, you establish a connection with the audience. This is exactly what Elizabeth Gilbert did in her inspiring TED talk, “Your Elusive Creative Genius.”

4. Establish rapport using humor

To establish a connection with the audience, the speaker should lower his defenses and let the audience into his personal bubble. One of the most effective ways to do this is to use humor. In the most viewed TED talk of all time, “Do Schools Kill Creativity,” Sir Ken Robinson used self-deprecating humor to make the audience feel more comfortable around him. You can apply the same principle to endear yourself to the audience and make them want to listen to your message. 

5. Design your slides with care

Good speakers use pictures instead of texts to reinforce their message. Just look at Kelly McGonigal’s TED talk entitled, “How to Make Stress Your Friend.” Observe how she effectively used images to strengthen her claims. If you plan to accompany your talk with a PowerPoint presentation, make sure to do away with large chunks of text and instead focus on the audience’s visual experience. Remember, you’re already overwhelming your audience with words by simply talking; don’t tire them out by forcing them to read your slides.

8 Public Speaking Lessons from the Most Viewed TED Talks | the winner

6. Reinforce your point throughout the talk

Contrary to popular opinion, you should consistently repeat yourself throughout the presentation. If you establish your point over and over, your audience will eventually catch on to what you’re trying to say. This is what Richard St. John did in his short TED talk about success. He gave away the eight secrets to success while staying true to one core message: Success doesn’t come easy. You need to have the passion, the courage and the resilience to pursue it.

7. Leave your audience a gift before you go

The audience always sit in anticipation of something new to bring home. They lend their ears because they expect to be entertained or blown away by a novel idea or a fresh perspective they’ve never thought of before. Remember, although the presentation is your moment, it’s not entirely about you. You stand onstage not to bask under the spotlight but to share something that is worth your audience’s time.

The words of Robert Ballard, the explorer who discovered Titanic, are very fitting in this case. He said, “Your mission in any presentation is to inform, educate, and inspire. You can only inspire when you give people a new way of looking at the world in which they live.” Take for example Susan Cain’s “The Power of Introverts.” Cain dared to look at introversion from a different light, and the response she got was positively overwhelming. 

8. Waste no one’s time

It’s common courtesy among public speakers to end their talk before the time limit. TED talks run for an average of eighteen minutes, which TED curator Chris Anderson finds “long enough to be serious and short enough to hold people’s attention.” So if you’re given thirty minutes, prepare for a presentation that runs for twenty-five minutes or less. You can allot the extra time for unforeseen events or unsolicited questions from the audience.

Public speaking is not easy, but if you follow these tips, you’ll be a few steps closer to delivering an electrifying TED-like presentation that you’ll cherish for life. 

 

Resources:

Gallo, Carmine. “9 Public Speaking Lessons from the World’s Greatest TED Talks.” Forbes. March 4, 2014. www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2014/03/04/9-public-speaking-lessons-from-the-worlds-greatest-ted-talks/#3e8ca62212ea

Haden, Jeff. “20 Public Speaking Tips of the Best TED Talks.” Inc. www.inc.com/ss/jeff-haden/20-public-speaking-tips-best-ted-talks

James, Geoffrey. “11 Public Speaking Tips from the Best TED Talks Speakers.” Inc. July 26, 2016. www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/11-public-speaking-tips-from-the-best-ted-talks-speakers.html

May, Kate Torgovnick & Ludolph, Emily. “A TED Speaker Coach Shares 11 Tips for Right Before You Go Onstage.” TED Blog. February 14, 2016. blog.ted.com/a-ted-speaker-coach-shares-11-tips-for-right-before-you-go-on-stage

Stillman, Jessica. “5 Secrets of Public Speaking from the Best TED Presenters.” Inc. November 8, 2013. www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/ted-speakers-on-presenting-public-speaking.html

 

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How to Bounce Back from a Presentation Meltdown

This is a guest post from Kalibrr.com.

Imagine yourself in front of a crowded room. The lights turn down low so that only the stage and projector screen are in focus. You hear murmurs and whispers from the audience, patiently waiting for the next speaker to talk about the importance of building your network. They’re waiting for you.

Your hands start to sweat. The room suddenly feels warm even if you’re already in front of the AC, and the index cards (a.k.a. cheat sheets) you’re holding are starting to moisten at the sides. You prepared for this talk all your life — well, maybe just for a couple of days — but the experiences you’ve gathered since the start of your career make up for it.

This is a common problem whenever you’re about to do a presentation: anxiety. But when you can’t tame that anxiety, guess what will happen?

You’ll freeze up. You’ll experience mental block. And, worst of all, you’ll have it right in the middle of your presentation, just as you’re about to make an important point.

There’s a secret weapon you could use to bounce back:

ABSORB.

It’s not just a word or an acronym. It’s a process conceptualized by Terry Gault, Vice President of the Henderson Group, an investment management company.

Let’s see how these six letters can keep us grounded:

A – Aware

1-ABSORB-Aware

First things first: be aware that something’s gone wrong. You’re in an awkward situation, so don’t panic. If you do, you end up choking, and embarrassing yourself in front of your audience even more. Instead, what you should do is to…

B – Breathe

2-ABSORB-Breathe

Panicking can make you forget to breathe, or start breathing too fast. In fact, worried pacing or shallow breathing contributes to more panic. Calm down and breathe slowly. Take two deep breaths, and smile so you won’t look too tense. Remember: the mind needs a good supply of oxygen to function well.

S – Stillness and Silence

3-ABSORB-Stillness-Silence

It’s best not to tell your audience that something has happened, or that you forgot what to say. Instead, keep quiet, and again, keep calm. Silence creates anticipation and lets your audience absorb information you presented. That should buy you a couple of seconds to…

O – (Consider Your) Options

4-ABSORB-Consider-Options

What are your best possible options to casually get back on track?

Should you skip the slide? Should you make a joke? Should you scan through your notes?

Our advice: scan through your cheat sheets without looking like a total fool for forgetting. Casually walk towards where you placed your notes (and, hopefully, a glass of water), take a sip of water while scanning through them, then put down the glass and scan again.

R – Respond

5-ABSORB-Respond

If you’ve figured out what to do, act on it quickly but casually. Talk slowly after a few seconds of awkward silence just so your audience could also get back on track with you.

B – Breathe again

6-ABSORB-Breathe-Again

Take another deep breath to eliminate any remaining anxiety. Swiftly evaluate whether your response was effective. If not, try another approach. But if it was, remain calm and celebrate your victory!

When presenting, losing your nerve can be inevitable. Letting this get the best of you is not.

Develop this strategy when you’re prone to anxiety during presentations, and find a way to transform that energy into a positive approach. Otherwise, you’ll keep running into mental blocks.

Master your presentation so that you won’t even need to look at the slides. All it takes is practice, practice, practice!

Kalibrr is an online job matching platform based in the Philippines with over 5,000 customers worldwide. Kalibrr’s vision is to connect talent to opportunity at scale. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for more career advice.

5 Presentation Speaking Tips from Winston Churchill

One of the most effective speakers we can learn from is Winston Churchill. In fact, both advertising agency gurus and presentation experts have cited his skills, be it crafting and rehearsing a presentation speech, as brand communications expert, Carmine Gallo lauded, or for writing persuasive advertising copy, according to creativity mentor, Luke Sullivan.

Churchill’s speeches have always been powerful and persuasive. These can be used as inspiration for more convincing business or sales presentations, especially if you’re selling something. Use these five presentation speaking tips to get the most out of your pitch:

1. Begin Strongly

Start with a question, cite a relevant quotation or challenge your audience. Whichever way you pick, be sure to give your audience a strong and credible impression. You also need to empathize and show that you’re willing to help solve their problems.

Remember that you need clients or partners to invest in you. Giving a confident impression and backing it up with an effective pitch make for a strong introduction.

2. Have One Theme

A compelling idea is the cornerstone of an effective business presentation. Being able to centralize your speech around one idea describes and clarifies what you want to say. Sullivan suggests that in order to find that one idea, look at your product and find the best way you can describe it.

If you can summarize that within one description, putting in the supporting points to back up your claims will be easier to make. Your audience will also have an easier time following your pitch too.

3. Use Simple language

Using a conversational tone, together with simple and easy-to-understand language gives potential partners an easier time following your presentation. This saves you time in reiterating your key points and explaining them to the audience.

Rather than giving a technical explanation, stick to highlighting what your product or service can offer your clients. Gallo suggests you let them know what they get out of it and why they should care about your pitch.

4. Leave a Picture in the Audiences’ Minds

Words are more than just a means to convince your clients. They can also be used to paint pictures in the audience’s minds. This is important because people buy what they can see, more than hearing the description, more than reading about it, clients and prospects need to visualize the product and the situations where it can help them.

To help you get the most out of this, try to find out what a professional presentation design specialist can do to enhance your PowerPoint Deck.

5. End Dramatically

As with your beginning, you need to make a dramatic ending. It can be a call to action, a challenge for your clients to invest in your proposal, or an important fact they can associate with your brand.

When you make your conclusion, always refer to your main idea and how it is organized. If your presentation is structured with the strategy of highlighting your best selling point, you already have an edge against the competition.

One Last Thing

Leaving a lasting impression can potentially be as powerful as an initial impression. Learning to apply these tips will give you the same edge that Winston Churchill enjoyed.

To help you make your speech work with a matching PowerPoint presentation, take a few minutes to get in touch with us, all for free!

 

References

Audio Archive.” Winston Churchill. Accessed August 18, 2015.
Gallo, Carmine. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.
Sullivan, Luke. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads. 3rd ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

 

Featured Image: “NY – Hyde Park: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library – Winston Churchill Portrait” by Wally Gobetz on flickr.com

4 Tips on Speaking like a Professional PowerPoint Presenter

A well-crafted and rehearsed speech is crucial for an effective professional PowerPoint presenter. Once you’ve made your deck, sync up your words with your slides.

Use these four tips to get effective presentation ideas for your speech:

1. Begin with Your Basic Argument

Start with your idea, then build it up. One effective way to give a sales or business presentation is to craft it into a story. From introducing new product clients to reporting your company’s latest market shares to your superiors, narratives are a great way to close a sale or get your recommendations approved.

Once you’ve achieved this, add supporting points to solidify your argument. According to creativity mentor, Luke Sullivan, it’s more effective to put it in a sequence from your first to last points. This will make your pitch easier to follow.

2. Get to the Point

The first three minutes of your presentation are often the most crucial. It may depend on the crowd you’re facing, but for business presentations, once you start talking, get your introductions over and done with, and start your pitch. As speech coach Joey Asher suggests, today’s busy work schedules pull people’s attentions away from your pitch and back towards their own lives and work desks.

Throw in your main point and the reasons why your clients should be invested. If you can be interesting or persuasive from your first lines, do so. Even with ten to fifteen minutes at your disposal, you need to get your audiences hooked from the start. It saves time if a host or emcee will do the introductions for you.

3. Write the Way You Talk

If a conversational tone works best for presentations, then writing the way you talk gives you a more persuasive speech. A smooth and easy rhythm makes you sound more natural and easier to understand.

Stick with the rules of grammar to sound professional and use your adjectives wisely. Be clear about the features and points you’ll be talking about. Remember: you’re selling something.

4. Add Your Brand’s Personality

As a presenter, you are the representative of your company and your brand. One trick to bring in your brand’s voice is to find out its own distinct personality. Try to describe it in one adjective or in one word if you can.

This allows you to put your proposal on a different level away from the competition, making it stick long enough in your client’s minds for a possible second look. If you want people to invest in you, give off a presentable image and follow through with convincing reasons. The first step is to make your sales presentation different and effective.

To get your presentation speech and presentation to the level of the pros, take a few minutes to get in touch with us for free!

 

References

Asher, Joey. “For Presentations, Half As Long Is Twice As Good.” Fast Company. December 20, 2012. Accessed August 17, 2015.
Craft Your Corporate Presentations into a Great Story.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 15, 2015. Accessed August 17, 2015.
Sullivan, Luke. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads. 3rd ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.