Tuesday, August 19, 2014

[How to Deliver a Great TED Talk] Post 1: Pick a Story

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Everyone has a great story

     There are two types of great speakers. The first group has amazing talents. They are, for example, great scientists, great artists, great leaders, and so on. The second group are ordinary people, like you and me, with amazing stories. You might not be a great scientist. But you sure have amazing story. You just have to dig it up. Or, we will dig it up together.

Inspire People

     TED’s slogan is ‘the idea worth spreading.’ But, even if you don’t speak at TED, you still should have this slogan in mind. Your goal is to sell your seed of inspiration, which make people think differently or make them get up and do something.

"Your objective is to sell a seed of inspiration."

What If I Don’t Have Amazing Story?

     Do not ask questions like 'what is the most amazing story I can tell?' Better questions would be 'what is the greatest thing I've ever learned?', 'What is the greatest joy/misery I've ever experienced?', or  'What is my life mission and how can I ask others to join?’ Once you've got your question, work backward to create presentation.

"The problem is not you do not have enough stories. It's that you have too many.”


     Pick just one message you want to deliver. Then, search through your experience to find and add emotion side to the message. Your experience needs to support the message. If not, you need to omit it, even if it is so amazing. Stay focus. Once you find a message, you need to deliver it in a way that people don't forget.

Characteristics of Great Catch Phrases

     Here is the guideline to create unforgettable message (i.e., catch phrase):

  1. Short: Three words is the best. But twelve words would still be alright.
  2. Call to action: It asks people to do something.
  3. Rhythmic: You can make it repeat at the beginning, at the end, at the beginning and the end, or at different places
  4. Great contrast: For a two-part catch phrase, make the second one positive and sharply different from the first one.
  5. Strong: Put the punch phrase at the end. (e.g.,)   

     Example great catch phrase are ‘start with why,’ ‘yes, we can,’ ‘it was the best of time. It was the worst of time,’ or ’People don't buy what you do. They buy why you do it.’

Audience Centric

      An amazing story isn’t so amazing, if the listeners don’t care. Put yourself in your audience's shoes. Keep asking yourself 'so what?' and 'why should I care?' Seven out of ten most watched TED talks inspire people to change themselves (e.g., mental illness, creativity, self-worth, motivation, success, leadership, happiness). The other three call upon people to make change the society.

"The speakers who gave these talks were not the first to explore those subjects, and they will not be the last. They touched us by giving their perspective on why these ideas matter and how you can make a difference."

Four Things People Need

     To answer the question ‘why should I care?,’ you should know that people need four following things. Make your topic relate to these needs and people will be interested:

  1. Love and belonging
  2. Desire and Self-interest, e.g., physical pleasure, exercise, financial well-being
  3. Self improvement: People love to know and to push limitation. You may talk about your recipe for success. But, what people are interested in is how you fall and got back on your feet.
  4. Hope and Change

Source: How to Deliver a TED Talk: Secrets of the World's Most Inspiring Presentations by Jeremey Donovan

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