Every Tuesday morning, I review a book that I read recently. If you missed any, you can read past reviews here.
This week’s book is How to Deliver a TEDTalk (kindle version) by Jeremy Donovan. If you are unfamiliar with TED, it is a conference with the goal of spreading ideas. It is also one of the places where some of the greatest communicators of our time have given some great talks. You can watch them all here.
If you speak as a pastor or in your job, Jeremy Donovan has done us a great service. He spent hours watching talks from the best and worst of TED and compiled what they did in a simple, 100 page book. While some ideas are not brand new, they are helpful.
Here are a few:
- You must have planted one seed that either awakens their consciousness to a new way of thinking or persuades them to take action. Your objective is to sow a single seed of inspiration.
- To captivate your audience, help them make an enemy of the status quo and see the positive promise of tomorrow that is just out of reach and worth the effort.
- The first ten or twenty seconds of your speech is the peak of your audience’s engagement level.
- The most consistently successful opening is the personal story. Though we will go in to much greater depth on storytelling in an upcoming chapter, here is what you need to remember. First, your personal story should really be personal. Tell your own story and share your observations. It is a good idea to make others the heroes in your stories. Second, make sure your story is directly relevant to your core message.
- If you go the powerful question route, I recommend that you use “why” questions and “how” questions. “Why” questions are by far the most enticing since they tap into our natural curiosity to understand the world around us. Once we know why things happen, then we want to know how to make good things happen and how to prevent bad things from happening. If the “why” is implied or well understood, then you can open with a “how” question.
- In the reformulated “why” and “how” openings I constructed for Jamie Oliver’s speech, you probably noticed that I snuck the word “you” in a few times. That magic word transforms a good question into a great question by putting your listeners in introspective mode. You want them thinking about themselves and their world.
- To successfully string multiple questions together in an opening, they must all have the same answer.
- Do not open with a quote – it is cliché even if it is relevant. Do not open with a joke, for the same reason. Do not open with anything even mildly offensive to your audience. Do not open with a Dilbert cartoon – oh, if I had a penny for that one … Do not open with “Thank you …” – if you want to thank your audience, do it at the end. Do not open with “Before I begin …” – since you just began.
- Your goal should be to reinforce the benefit to your audience, the “why”, in your conclusion.
- Since change is hard, give your audience an easy next step they can take today to get moving in the right direction.
- resist all temptation to introduce new material at the end.
- As a speaker, one of the worst things you can do is put yourself on a pedestal. Position yourself as an equal, perhaps a guide, but not superior to your listeners.
- You should “come across as similar (to your audience) but with a special process.” The special process is the ‘how’ that you are selflessly sharing.
As I said, if you preach, this is a book worth reading.