Every 17 seconds, someone, somewhere in the world, is watching a TED talk. If you have access to the Internet, it’s likely you either heard of one or watched one.
Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) is the cool, modern lecture series on a variety of topics delivered by practitioners worldwide. They inform, entertain, and often inspire—always in 18 minutes or less. To watch a good TED talk is to feel inspired. There is no room for wasted words. No endless droning. Even if you are watching on YouTube, there is something about their approach that makes you feel you are there. No distance, just connection!
Numerous articles have been written about the wild success and allure of the TED talks. What is it that makes them so appealing?
While there are a number of reasons these talks are so successful, Forbes wrote the following that really gets at the heart of why, “The TED philosophy, according to Lara Stein, the Founder and Director of TEDx, consists of one sentence, ‘it’s about simplified, authentic storytelling.’ Which seems to fit well with its mission of, ‘ideas worth spreading’. Combine both with a remarkable TEDx organizer and speaker and you get the 18 minute presentation equivalent of a Hollywood blockbuster
It’s true – the people speaking and sharing information and ideas are telling a story, a story they are passionate and educated about. You’ll notice after watching several talks, most TED speakers don’t appear like the typical “talking heads” you see on television. To the contrary, they come across as the complete opposite of what we are accustomed to seeing in church, class, or business meetings. As the presenters stand on a large stage with an enormous screen behind them, what do you notice?
- They are hands free
- With microphone attached, their entire body is on view as there is no podium or other barrier to inhibit their delivery.
- They are in motion. They look natural and often look right into the eyes of the audience to ensure they build rapport and connect.
As even the best marketing minds know, gaining the attention of an audience for even 30 seconds is a tall order. Through the formula of keeping things short, lively, and entertaining, Ted producers have figured out how to make viewers feel like they are part of the event.
I can promise this: if you spend a little more time with TED, not only paying attention to the topics that are addressed, but how they are delivered, your presentation skills will improve if you adopt what you see. Take a look at my TOP 5 Pick for the most effective TED talks:
- Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?
- Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
- Stacy Kramer: The Best Gift I Ever Survived
- Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability
- Dan Ariely: Are we in Control of our Own Emotions?