What Makes A Great TED Talk

peter orszag ted talksTED Talks have become very popular in recent years, helping to make the recreational consumption of presentations mainstream among a variety of audiences.  Public speakers are invited to TED conferences and filmed for digital distribution in the form of videos and audio & visual podcasts.  Their site has amassed over a billion views.

The mission of TED Talks is…

We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.

A recent slideshow shares a series of best practices for people who are interested in developing a TED talk, characteristics of what separates a good presentation from a great presentation.  Some of these are applicable for any successful public speaking engagement.

A TED talk wants to be under twelve minutes.  While the most favorited videos average at eighteen minutes,  there are also outstanding ones that are under five.  The rule here is to be efficient, and only take the time you need to effectively communicate your points.

Make sure your presentation has the following characteristics:

  • persuasive – convince a skeptic, excite people to action, make something complex clear
  • fascinating – find what’s interesting about your presentation and highlight it
  • inspiring – communicate what’s important about your topic
  • informative – make sure the audience leaves with information that illuminates
  • courageous – make a stand for what’s right, even when it’s not the norm
  • they also throw in that talks should be beautiful, jaw-dropping, funny, and ingenious – good luck

A TED talk should be clear and focused.  Many of the most favorited talks are presented as a narrative or journey.  Alternate between this narrative and the main points.  Use a broad range of emotions, including humor, to strategically bring your audience along for the ride.

It’s also important not to be afraid of silence.  The slideshow calls it ‘embracing the power of the pause.’  Really, it’s that the audience sometimes needs time for something to sink in.  Pauses are also the most effective tool in switching gears dramatically.

Interestingly, speakers tended to fare better in shares and favorites if they had longer than average hair, wore glasses, or were dressed up a little more than the average speaker.  The slideshow even goes to share the words most commonly used in the most favorited presentations.

from Peter Orszag http://ift.tt/1q1F7Df


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