Are you familiar with TED talks? Founded in 1984 they emerged into a series of annual conferences in which attendees hear extremely competent speakers talk about issues and ideas that “change attitudes, lives and ultimately the world.” At the beginning the focus was on technology, entertainment and design (hence the name TED) but the conference mission expanded to become “a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers” committed to disseminating “ideas worth spreading.” Speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways that they can. In 2006 TED talks were offered for free viewing online and in November 2012 TED talks passed a record after being watched one billion times worldwide. Consistently interesting and often entertaining, you can find them at www.TED.com.
If you are a speaker, an aspiring public communicator or someone who appreciates hearing good talks you can benefit from watching. If you are like me, constantly striving to be a better speaker, probably you will appreciate Jeremy Donovan’s new (2012) book How to Deliver A TED Talk: Secrets of The World’s Most Inspiring Presentations. Like the talks themselves, the book is short (112 pages) and to the point. You can order a Kindle edition for only three bucks.
The book starts with ten commandments for TED-type speakers, including:
- Thou shalt dream a great dream, or show forth a wondrous new thing, or share something thou hast never shared before.
- Thou shalt tell a story
- Thou shalt not sell from the stage: neither thy company, thy goods, thy writings, nor thy desperate need for funding.
- Thou shalt reveal thy curiosity and thy passion.
- Thou shalt not flaunt thy ego. Be thou vulnerable. Speak of thy failure as well as thy success.
- Thou shalt not read thy speech.
- Thou shalt not steal the time of them that follow thee.
Fourteen practical chapters discuss the basics such as how to select a topic, open and close your talk, build the speech’s body and transitions, master your verbal delivery, use humor effectively, create inspiring visuals, and overcome your fear.
Has anybody watched a TED talk or read this book? Please comment on what you learned from this.