Tuesday, September 2, 2014

[How to Deliver a Great TED Talk] Post 3: Tell A Story

< Previous Post | Book review | Next Post ->

Right Brain and Left Brain

    We are drawn mostly by feeling, but convinced by reason. Use stories and activities to appeal feeling, and use facts, strategies, tips, and techniques to convince reasoning.

Story Comes First

     Everyone loves story. So, tell great story and you will rivet people to their seat. The best story is your story. Tell people your experience and how did you feel it. Put passion into your talk. Let the audience re-experience it with you.

Storytelling Structure

     Make your story three parts. Start by introducing a character. Set up an emotion-provoking conflict for the character. Finish up with a conclusion. Also, as a general rule, start by telling ‘why’ your idea is important. Then, move to how to do achieve it. Finally, close out with what would it be at the end.

The Character

     Make your audience feel as if they are your character. Explain the needs and/or desires of your character to set up a scene for conflict. Use using highly descriptive language, your gesture, body language, and your tone to make the character more authentic.
Give your character a fixed position on a stage. When you want to narrate, step forward towards the audience. Then, you can move back to the same place, when you need to play a role of the character.

Setting Up A Hero

     If you want to establish someone's credibility, tell something closer to your audience, e.g., he invented light bulbs. Do not put yourself up as a hero. You don't want to shine spotlight on yourself so that people can attack you. In addition, people want to listen to someone at the same level, not to someone from the higher lever.

The Conflict

     An obstacle crates an empathy and desire to know the solution/result. Put an obstacle
between your character and his/her desire. The stronger the obstacle, the more the audience will feel.

The End

     There are two kind of good ending. Positive ending gives people inspiration. Negative ending provides a cautionary tale, which is good for teaching. Try to use positive ending, since pleasure is more effective in long term. But, if you want to grab audience's attention quickly, say something like 'You might be the next one'. If you choose negative ending, suggest what your character could have done to avoid the negative ending.

Good or Evil

     Choosing between good or evils is an easy choice. It doesn’t create suspense. It is more exciting to see your character choose between two goods or between two evils.

Show, Don't Tell.

     It’s not easy to listen to something. Your brain needs to translate what you hear into insight. When you listen to content-rich story, this task becomes even harder on your brain.  Sensing—visual,sound,smell,taste,touch—is easier for humans. Make your content sensory, and it will be easier for consumption. Do not tell quality like he’s got a Ph.D. from MIT. Say something like he has thinning grey hair, he likes operas, etc. It is more visible to people. It is more interesting to people.

Layers of Stories and Interpretation

      Great stories let the listeners interpret layers of wisdom. Once they peel of one layer, there is another layer of wisdom waiting for them. If this happens over and over, the listeners would expect the next layer of wisdom with anticipation. They would sit up and listen to you attentively. The key here is interpretation. Do not tell something overtly. Obscure the fact, and let the listeners interpret themselves. Telling a story objectively is efficient, but boring. Tell the story subjectively. Put your own belief and passion into it.

"People crave speakers and stories that are authentic, yes, but also passionate and fun. "

Example Story Telling.

  • Point A: Explain your character and context.
  • Point B: Your character encounters first obstacle.
  • Point C: She overcomes the obstacle.
  • Point D: She encounters another obstacle and realizes that the previous solution was good but not enough. 
  • Point E: She finds another solution.
  • Point F: She realize the the solution is, again, not sufficient. 
  • Point G: This is the pinnacle, where she combines all her solutions and solve the ultimate problem.


     Put the context into number. People are not good at number. Accompany your statistics with stories, and people will listen attentively.

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

      No comments:

      Post a Comment