In one of her speech evaluations, Assel Stambekova mentioned a book she recommended to read to master the art of public speaking, “Talk Like TED” by Carmine Gallo. I followed her advice and thank her for this recommendation.
“Talk Like TED” is a book about emotional, novel and memorable presentations and how to give them. The author referred to many TED talks that excelled the art of effective communication. Having watched most examples of exceptional speeches, I thought to myself that our members do possess and masterfully apply these techniques in their speeches. In this post I will go through the 9 chapters of the book with a brief description and my own examples.
The most popular TED presentations share nine common elements that can be grouped in three parts: emotional – they touch our heart, novel – they teach something new, and memorable – they present content in ways that’s hard to forget.
Chapter 1: Unleash the master within
This chapter is about passion in speeches and that sharing and expressing it is what makes your audience listen to you. “Passion is not a passing interest or even a hobby. A passion is something that is intensely meaningful and core to your identity.”
I see many ATC members express their passion in presentations. A recent example is of Indira Kyilybayeva when she talked about her project Pro Bono, a service that lets professionals provide services to those who are unable to afford them. In her speech, Indira showed her passion in being able to offer unpaid help to other people by doing something she was best at. Her message was so clear and powerful that motivated other people to join the project.
Chapter 2: Master the art of storytelling
The power of stories is indisputable. Stories help to appeal to audience, make a point, deliver a message and persuade.
“Persuasion occurs when three components are represented: ethos, logos and pathos. Ethos is credibility. We tend to agree with people whom we respect for their achievements, title, experience, etc. Logos is the means of persuasion through logic, data, and statistics. Pathos is the act of appealing to emotions.”
The best storyteller that I know in ATC is Korlan Bektassova. I love to hear stories she shares and extremely liked her speeches from Storytelling manual. The most memorable of them was a story about King Arthur and his search for an answer to “What do women want?” The story was very intriguing, was beautifully performed and had an unexpected twist. No wonder on that day Korlan was awarded as the best prepared speaker.
Chapter 3: Have a Conversation
This chapter was the most eye-opening for me and it changed the way I prepare to speech presentations now. It says that to appear natural and be authentic I should practice for hours, not particularly memorizing every word that I am going to say, but giving my speech as often as I could. Practice it in front of people, change content if it’s needed depending of their reaction, record it, watch it back. It might sound like a hell of preparation but I believe it will pay off.
I realized that almost every time I prepared for my speech I did my work in half: worked on my content, but lacked its rehearsal. The author compares it to “having a ferrari, without knowing how to ride it”. That is what my mentor also commented on when I presented my last project, very emotional for me that at one point I struggled to handle my emotions, thus, felt nervous and exceeded my time limit.
Chapter 4: Teach me something new
Some presentations that I watched had a message that contradicted or questioned the conventional wisdom. Those were the speeches that I liked the most, those that taught me something new. According to the author, the information can be not that new, but “packaged differently, or offers a fresh and novel way to solve an old problem”.
The example that I want to give is not of a prepared speech, but from a table topic session, when speakers answer a question related to one theme in 1-2 minute time frame. The theme of that meeting was related to book reading. I don’t remember the question itself, but remember how the speaker, Asset Omirzhanov, caught everyone’s attention by saying that he thought reading was not that important. He then later explained his view by talking about meditation and I’m sure if he had time he would masterfully make a whole speech on this topic.
Chapter 5: Deliver jaw-dropping moments
Every presentation has or should have a jaw-dropping moment, a shocking, impressive, or surprising moment. It is “so moving and memorable, it grabs the listener’s attention and is remembered long after the presentation is over”.
Azamat Makhsudov in his second project talked about schools and how he would make a class on joggling to teach children a lesson of learning. Azamat used some prop: he brought tennis balls and joggled while giving his speech. At one point at his presentation it looked like he dropped the ball because he didn’t play that well and we already started to feel sorry for him. But after a while the audience realized it was made intentionally to show how it might be hard at first to make something work and learn a new skill. I remember this moment very clearly, because it was an “emotionally charged moment”.
These jaw-dropping moments can be some shocking statistics, props, a video, a rhetorical device or personal stories so impactful that everyone remembers it long after your presentation.
End of Part 1
by Damira Kulakhmetova