This article from Fast Company needs to be studied thoroughly if you’re in the business of communicating. The author gives 7 Steps to Delivering a Mind Blowing TED Talk.
If you’ve taken a class in homiletics before, then some of these will sound familiar. I won’t mention all seven of the steps (I’ll leave some reading for you!), but two of them stood out as being worthy of high-lighting: Being clear and being compelling.
This is where most people fail. The author says, “Can listeners repeat your big idea word for word? If they can, they’ll become your advocates. If they can’t, your big idea will be in one ear, out the other.”
I can’t tell you how many sermons, speeches, and other messages I’ve heard in which I can’t figure out the main idea. This is endlessly frustrating. And yet clarity is one of the things that make TED talks so successful. The people work hard on developing a clear main idea.
By the way, I’ve found that clarity is directly proportional to length of the message as well. The longer a message is, the less clear it seems to be. The shorter it is, the easier it is to keep focus. In fact, one of the great principles behind TED talks is that they’re mostly 18 minutes or less. Jeff Tatarchuck wrote a guest blog post here where he makes the case that every communicator should follow that principle as well. Most of the greatest speeches in history were less than 18 minutes in length.
You’ve got 60 seconds to capture an audience’s attention or else they’ll start checking email. -Sam Horn
If you’ve ever spoken in front of crowds before there’s likely been a moment in which you see heads dip down. I always hope that in those moments they’re tweeting something I’m saying as opposed to checking ESPN stats.
So what kills compelling? Taking time when you first get to the mic to thank everyone. Don’t thank the audience. Instead, jump right into your story or premise. John Acuff writes about this here. He says, “No one doubts that you’re excited to be there. No one needs you to reintroduce yourself right after the host of the event did. But you’ve heard speeches start that same way.”
There’s so many great lessons in this article. I repeat: every communicator must become a student of TED speeches. Make sure to read the whole thing here.
Question: So what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from a TED talk? To leave a comment click here.
[image by tedxsomerville]