nine secrets of top public speakers

nine secrets of top public speakers
Photo by Teemu Paananen / Unsplash
“What’s the first thing you should do when creating a PowerPoint presentation? If you’re like many people you’ll say, 'Open PowerPoint.' Wrong answer. You should plan the story first. Just as a movie director storyboards the scenes before he begins shooting, you should create the story before you open the tool. You’ll have plenty of time to design pretty slides once the story is complete, but if the story is boring, you’ve lost your audience before you’ve spoken a word.” ― Carmine Gallo, Talk Like TED

One of the core skills that we all need to succeed in the twenty-first century marketplace is the ability to present ideas in a persuasive manner. Every day people are constantly bombarded with information, therefore, for an idea to shine and resonate with the masses, it needs to be pushed hard by the person who owns it. In other words, coming up with a groundbreaking idea is not enough, you must also learn how to sell it. As author Daniel Pink highlights in his book To Sell is Human, we’re all in sales now, whether we like it or not.

So, how do we learn how to best sell our ideas in this day and age? Do we have a reliable and easily accessible resource at hand? Yes, we do: just watch TED talks and model the speakers.

TED talks feature some of the brightest and most successful minds on the planet. All speakers are nothing short of remarkable — they not only captivate live audiences of several hundred to thousands but their videos also get replayed online by millions each day. So, if you want to become a better speaker, it’s wise to learn the skills and strategies that the presenters on the TED stage use to get their message across.

Here are the nine secrets of the world’s most influential public speakers:

  1. Find your inner passion: You can’t expect your listeners to be interested if you’re not interested first.
  2. Tell great stories: Storytelling allows others to relate to you and trust you more — it helps you connect with your listeners by making your presentation less abstract and more identifiable.
  3. Engage in conversation: Keep in mind that it’s not about giving a monologue, rather it’s an opportunity for meaningful dialogue.
  4. Teach your audience something new: Make sure you weave novel and surprising information in your presentation. This will make your talk worth the time of your listeners.
  5. Build shock and surprise into your presentations: Extreme moments are unforgettable and help keep your listeners’ attention.
  6. Use humor: Avoid being boring and monotonous — take it easy and lighten up!
  7. The 18-minute rule: You must keep your presentations around 18 minutes long. This makes it far easier for your audience to be engaged and remember the content.
  8. Create multisensory experiences: People remember things more vividly when they experience them with all of their senses.
  9. Be authentic: As cliché as it sounds, just be yourself. You can’t be someone you’re not, therefore you must always focus on being the best presenter you can be.