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5 Tips on How to Talk like TED

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If you’ve ever watched or attended a TED Talk, you can clearly tell how well each speaker delivers their presentation. Maybe at one point during the talk, it captured your attention, and somehow sparked a bit of curiosity, wonder, or perhaps, even action.

TED Talks have always been like that—they showcase moving, insightful, and powerful presentations on subjects that affect us all. It also means that, whether you like it or not, your next presentation would likely be compared to one.

So how do you turn yourself into a compelling speaker just like the TED speakers? Follow these tips and secrets from the speakers themselves and harness them to change any pitch or presentation you’ll ever do in the future:

1. Unleash the Master Within

Be passionate about what you’re trying to impart, because mastery forms the foundation for an extraordinary presentation. In order for you to become an inspiration to the five or one hundred people in the room, you have to feel like you inspire yourself too. Exude confidence with powerful body language and a commanding presence accompanied by a conversational and engaging tone. That’s the only way for you to persuade them to listen to the message you’re trying to communicate.

In this TED Talk, Why We Do What We Do, Tony Robbins, a psychologist and life coach, discusses the “invisible forces” that drives us to do what we do. These forces, usually grounded in emotion, can motivate ourselves and others. He invites us to explore our minds so we’ll have more to give, but more importantly, so we can understand and appreciate what drives other people too.

2. Stories Connect Us

This is backed by science, too! Brain scans reveal that stories stimulate and engage the human brain, so by telling compelling stories related to the topic, this helps the speaker connect with the audience by reaching into their hearts and minds.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg did this during her talk about women in the workforce. In order for her to be in sync with her audience, she had to connect with them in an emotional level. So she told this story of her three-year-old daughter tugging her leg and had asked her not to leave for work. This, she was sure, a lot of her female audience could relate to.

While statistics and data may support your argument, it’s the stories that connect you to your listeners. They illuminate, inform, and inspire. Tell more of them.

3. Stick to the 18-minute rule

TED speakers can speak for no longer than 18 minutes, and for a reason. Dr. Paul King, a scholar in the field of communication at Texas Christian University calls it “cognitive backlog,” a process where too much information actually creates anxiety. In other words, giving out too much for a long period of time wouldn’t be that effective anymore—your listeners simply cannot remember them all.

TED Curator Chris Anderson said that a presentation should only be long enough to be serious and get the message out, but short enough to hold people’s attention.

4. Deliver jaw-dropping moments

Jaw-dropping moments are anything in a presentation that evokes strong emotional response such as joy, fear, or surprise. These actually grab the audience’s attention and are the moments that will stick to the audience long after the presentation is over.

Bill GatesMosquitos, Malaria and Education is one good example of a jaw-dropping moment. During his talk about malaria in third world countries, he presented the audience with a glass jar containing mosquitoes, and told them that he was going to set them free so that they, too, can experience malaria. Despite the fact that those mosquitoes weren’t carriers of the disease, the stunt still brought his listeners to attention.

5. Practice relentlessly

No TED speaker became an expert in public speaking overnight. It took them probably since the beginning of their careers to hone those skills. Practice relentlessly and internalize the content or message you want to communicate. Most successful speakers in the world practice their talks more than a hundred times before delivering them to the public. When you know your presentation well, it’ll just be like having a conversation with a close friend.

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.