I did my doctoral studies in the field of preaching, and consequently have read approximately 100 books on the topic. Each one of these has contributed to my thinking and practice of preaching and public speaking. Some time ago my friend Cliff Jenkins recommended a book by Carmine Gallo that may be one of the most practical helps for those who speak to audiences whether religious or secular. The name of the book is Talk Like TED.
For years “TED Talks” have served as an influential platform for sharing insights and ideas. Some of the most popular presentations have garnered millions of views on YouTube and other media outlets. They have propelled the careers and book sales of presenters. Regardless of the topic or the presenter, these TED talks share one common denominator: they are all outstanding. Carmine Gallo has evaluated hundreds of TED talks and gleaned nine distinguishing features of each to help each of us become better communicators.
#1 UNLEASH THE MASTER WITHIN. You can’t inspire others if you’re not inspired by the topic. Each presenter is clearly passionate about their subject matter.
#2 MASTER THE ART OF STORYTELLING. Passion is best expressed through storytelling, not imperatives. The best stories illustrate and illuminate the subject and inspire listeners to take action.
#3 HAVE A CONVERSATION. Become so familiar with your subject matter that your pace, timing, and gestures become natural and unforced.
#4 TEACH SOMETHING NEW. Reveal information that is either completely new, is packaged differently, or offers a novel way to solve an old problem.
#5 DELIVER JAW DROPPING MOMENTS. Make your presentation memorable and stamp it in their minds.
#6 LIGHTEN UP. Use humor to poke fun at yourself as well as your topic.
#7 CONFINE YOUR PRESENTATION TO 18 MINUTES. Constrained presentations require greater creativity. What is left unsaid makes what is said even stronger.
#8 PAINT A MENTAL PICTURE WITH MULTISENSORY EXPERIENCES. Since the brain doesn’t think without a picture, create images through images, videos and props. Give your topic multiple voices to engage the minds of the listeners.
#9 STAY IN YOUR LANE. Don’t be something other than who you are. Be authentic, open and transparent. People can generally spot inauthenticity. Authenticity is the key ingredient to gaining the trust of the listener.
Gallo’s book should be considered a must read for anyone who speaks publicly. His insights from the presenters of TED talks are both timely and timeless. If you think about it, you’ll find at 2,000 years ago Jesus Christ implemented these principles, and we’re still talking about his presentations today.