Book - Ted Talks by Chris Anderson

book speaking

I am a huge fan of TED talks. There are many unique, inspiring and memorable performances, though If I had to choose one, I would pick a talk by Sir Ken Robinson “Do schools kill creativity?”

Sir Ken Robinson is an educator and a comedian in one person, mixing humor and knowledge fabulously. I fell in love with his style, later I found even more great performances on TED scenes, and eventually, I decided to buy a book written by the TED owner - Chris Anderson. Chris discusses the best public speaking practices and shares his passion for original ideas and the TED organization.

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Presentation literacy isn’t an optional extra for the few. It’s a core skill for the twenty-first century.

Chris J. Anderson

Short book review by Valdas

  1. Chris reveals his personal story, the beginnings of TED, the importance of public speaking - I LOVED IT! I WANTED MORE!

  2. Chris discusses public speaking tips, what makes a great speech great - 4/5 The author investigates the most famous speakers on TED and explains nuances what a speaker did well. The tips and practices are valuable, but I, as a TED follower, have ended up watching the talks instead of reading about how cool they are.

Key takeaways:

The questions to ask yourself before speaking

  • Am I interested/competent/educated on the topic?
  • Do listeners need to know this?
  • Will listeners get unique insights?
  • Is my speech a gift, or a request?
  • Describe your talk in 15 words, is it still interesting?

“Find something more important than you are and dedicate your life to it” - Daniel Dennett

  • And then inspiring speaking is just a matter of showing up.

Don’t mimic others style

  • Audiences value when speakers act naturally and when they reveal their weaknesses and secrets.

Don’t speak about how cool you or your organization are

  • Instead, focus on how you make the world a better place.

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

  • Speakers on TED scene look amazing, so inspiring. It’s not because they are natural born speakers (some of them are), but they care about the listeners and prepare adequately.
  • Collect reviews and improve.

Explain complex aspects

  • Start with what your audience understands.
  • Intrigue.
  • Explain terms.
  • Use metaphors.
  • Use examples.

Help to believe in your story

  • Use humor and stories.
  • Use great looking visuals.
  • Include affirmations of others.
  • Don’t forget about rational arguments and logic.
  • Give them a detective story and solve it together.

Public speaking in the age of technology is getting even more critical, because of the rising importance of:

  • Understanding the context and “Why?”
  • Creativity, need to connect new dots.
  • Understanding humanity.

Prepare your outfit, feel comfortable in it

  • Try your outfit beforehand.
  • Don’t overdress (TED is against ties, very formal outfit).

Speech = Text + Emotions

  • What is the difference between reading and watching a live performance? A speaker is not a robot, but an emotional human being who you can sympathize with.

Use stories (example) Synchronous execution means tasks get executed sequentially. In the asynchronous world, tasks get performed independently. That’s like putting on your pants before an underwear.

I'm Valdas Maksimavicius. I write about data, cloud technologies and personal development. You can find more about me here.