As a matter of disclosure I read this book as part of my role as discussion leader and moderator for the Credit Union Leaders Book Club on LinkedIn. The book is a very quick read and contains a number of highlighted tips.
Part One of the book deals with developing the content for a TED talk. There are seven fairly short chapters that address everything from choosing your idea to concluding your talk. While focused on developing a TED talk there are several nuggets that can be culled for those of you who have to do staff training or presentations to community groups.
Of the six different change agents that the author discusses in Part 1, I’m a cross between the explorer and the authority. When I speak I’m most comfortable discussing my personal experiences and what I do on a daily basis.
Part Two author Jeremy Donovan deals with developing a delivery style for a TED talk. There are six fairly short chapters that address projecting emotion, adding humor and moving around the stage. As in part one, while focused on developing a TED talk there are several nuggets that can be culled for those of you who have to do staff training or presentations to community groups.
Tip 57 is about using questions. The two I use most often are polling and provoking thought. I have found that these two work best for me in engaging the audience and holding their attention.
The last three chapters deal with verbal and nonverbal communication and ends with how to move about the stage or presentation area. I typically vary the volume at which I am speaking as I am normally talking to small groups and don’t have to worry about a microphone. If I am not on a stage, I tend to walk through and around where the audience is as I have found that it helps in engaging them in a two way dialogue. What has been your experience?
Part Three deals with incorporating media into a TED talk. There are five very short chapters that address slides, video, props, the lectern and dress. As in parts One and Two, while focused on developing a TED talk there are several nuggets that can be culled for those of you who have to do staff training or presentations to community groups.
I have only used video when they came as part of training package. After reading this chapter I am now tempted to try including some in my future talks. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
I found the chapter on props to be almost too brief. I have rarely used props. In fact I have to go back years to remember a time that I used one. They can be effective, but I have often found with speakers that they tend to be more of a distraction. What has been your experience?
I rarely use a lectern, unless I am trapped behind it. I like to move about and interact with the audience. Too often I have observed speakers who “hide” behind the comfort of a lectern when they really don’t need too. I can understand why they do, it’s just not my style. How do you feel about lecterns?
The final chapter on dress for success I found to be mostly common sense. I have to admit the few times I slopped something on my shirt (I can be a klutz) I was able to work it into my presentation. I myself like loose comfortable clothes when I am speaking. What kind of outfits do you prefer?
Part Four on “The Journey to th Stage and Beyond” is not a parody of Buzz Lightyear and his famous catch phrase. I also found this last section to be the least helpful of the four parts of the book. It deals with how to get selected to give a TED Talk, overcoming the fear of giving a TED Talk, how you want to be introduced and how to get your TED Talk to go viral.
In a nutshell – don’t try to get selected, if you have an idea worth spreading it will happen; try and control your introduction (to the point of overkill) and most likely your TED Talk will never go viral.
The last chapter deals briefly with the fact that you have to practice to become an accomplished speaker. My two cents, if you want to really improve your speaking/presentation skills reading a book will only take you so far. Hopefully, you have an active Toastmasters group where you live. It is a group that is well worth your time and effort. And no, I have never attended a Toastmasters meeting, but I have witnessed the results in others multiple times.
- 5 TED Talks Every CEO Should Watch (ceo.com)
- Feed Your Mind: TED Talks Everyone Should Watch (dameswhodish.com)
- How to Deliver a TED Talk (mheasiabusiness.com)