If there is one thing I believe that drastically excels your professional success it is public speaking. With that in mind, I decided that PropelHer’s Book Club would read Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo.
TED Talks are watched my millions are considered the leaders when it comes to presentations so a book that analyses the best of the best will surely help anyone improve their public speaking, right?
Carmine opens by stating that “Ideas are the currency of the twenty first century” but are ideas are only powerful if you are able to communicate them. That is why being a good communicator and a good public speaker is becoming increasingly important.
The 9 tips are broken down into three categories: Emotional, Novel and Memorable
“The first step to inspiring others is to make sure you are inspired yourself”.
Carmine is passionate that a speaker needs to find a “unique and meaningful connection” to their presentation topic. Whilst this makes sense in a TED context, I am sure there are lots of people who have to deliver speeches they aren’t particularly passionate about. In that situation, Carmine encourages you to try “dig deep” and that through exploration a connection can be found.
At numerous times the book suggests that “great communicators reach your head and touch your heart” and this can be achieved through storytelling, which is “the ultimate tool for persuasion”. Carmine argues that “Personal stories actually cause the brain of both the storyteller and the listener to sync up”. Lots of great communicators emphasise the importance of storytelling, but Carmine goes further by exploring the three types of stories you can use: personal stories, stories about other people and stories about brands and products.
Scientifically we are designed to enjoy learning new things. In fact, “Learning something new activates the same reward areas of the brand as do drugs and gambling”. So as a presenter you need to “reveal information that’s completely new to your audience” or if the information you are sharing is known then it is your responsibility to package it different or offer “fresh and novel way to solve an old problem”.
Another way to make your presentation novel is to add humour. Now as someone who doesn’t describe themselves as funny I really like that Carmine said “You don’t have to be funny to be humourous”. In fact, being humourous isn’t about telling jokes, which you are advised to avoid.
For most people you don’t just want listeners to engage in your presentation, but you want them to remember it when they leave. To make a talk more memorable you should look at being able to “touch more than one of the senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell”. A great way to be able to appeal to more senses is through a prop and one of the most memorable props is Bill Gates mosquito in Mosquitoes, malaria and education.
Overall, I found Talk Like Ted really useful. With TED being the best of the best in terms of public speakers I was worried that it may seem a bit unrealistic for the average person, but Carmine gives really simple and actionable information. For example, introduce humour, aim for 190 words per minutes, appeal to as many senses as possible and keep words on powerpoint slides to a minimum. It doesn’t what stage you are at you can apply this information and because of that it is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone wanting to improve their public speaking.