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7 TED Talks on how to improve your presentations

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It’s a hard truth of the digital age: Capturing and keeping another person’s attention is getting more difficult. While the empirical evidence on the average person's attention span during a presentation is limited, the phrase "death by PowerPoint" rings all too true. IT leaders know from experience that audiences lack patience for ineffective speakers. That’s why it’s more important than ever for all of us to be thoughtful about how to deliver information.

[ Which IT roles are vanishing? Read our article,  4 dying IT jobs . ]

Thankfully for CIOs and other leaders in training, there are abundant tips from skilled presenters on how to elevate your performance before your next appearance – on stage at a conference, before the board or executive team, or even in front of your own organization. This no-nonsense advice will help you win – and keep – your audience.

1. The secret structure of great talks

Speaker: Nancy Duarte

Why do we sit with rapt attention listening to a compelling story yet find ourselves nodding off during most presentations? Communication expert Nancy Duarte spent time digging into the best stories from history, cinema, and literature – and also suffering through some of the worst presentations she could get her hands on – to explore the differences and come up with a winning model for great presentations. In this talk, Duarte explores the secrets and structures of the greatest communicators and their public speaking efforts – from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech to Steve Job’s public unveiling of the iPhone. She shares with the audience the common storytelling structure utilized by compelling presenters that you can apply to your next effort.

2. The beauty of data visualization

Speaker: David McCandless

Data is the lifeblood of IT, the business, and many an IT leader presentation. But on its own, data can be lifeless – or worse, ineffective or misleading.

British data journalist David McCandless is skilled at transforming complex data sets into engaging data visualizations that are not only lovely to look at but also instantly bring to life the stories within the data. Data is not the new oil, he says, but the new soil – “a fertile, creative medium” – if you know how to manipulate and design it. McCandless shares his tips for visualizing information so that an audience can see the patterns and connections that matter.

3. How to speak so that people want to listen

Speaker: Julian Treasure

The first thing IT leaders consider when preparing for a presentation might be the visuals, the words, or even the best outfit to wear – all important components. But they may be overlooking one of the most important instruments in their toolkits: Their voices. Sound and communication expert (and five-time TED speaker) Julian Treasure argues that what you say may be less important than how you say it, and outlines some of the most important aspects of vocal delivery.

4. Your body language may shape who you are

Speaker: Amy Cuddy

With nearly 50 million views, social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s now well-known TED Global 2012 Talk can help IT leaders harness another important aspect of presenting: body language. Her talk is not simply about how body language impacts how others see us, but also how we see ourselves. In this video, IT leaders can learn all about the “power pose” – a way of standing confidently like Superman or Wonder Woman. While there was some criticism of the science behind Cuddy’s research about power positions and their impact on hormones, which she has since refuted, IT leaders can try the posing advice out for themselves before stepping on the stage or into the boardroom.

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Mastering the art of a powerful TED Talk presentation

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Anete Ezera August 08, 2023

TED Talks have become synonymous with captivating storytelling, inspiring ideas, and thought-provoking presentations. Delivering a successful TED Talk requires more than just having great content; it demands excellent presentation skills and a well-designed presentation. In this article, we’ll explore some essential tips and techniques for how to do a TED Talk presentation. We’ll delve into inspiring examples from past TED Talks, including Prezi presentations, and highlight the latest TED Talk presentations that showcase exceptional presentation skills. Whether you’re an aspiring TED speaker or simply interested in improving your presentation abilities, this article will equip you with the knowledge you need to shine on the TED stage.

Young professional woman giving presentation during a presentation night

The evolution of TED Talk presentations

TED Talks have evolved over the years, with speakers continually pushing boundaries and experimenting with new presentation styles. This section explores the evolving landscape of TED Talk presentations and how speakers have embraced innovative approaches to captivate audiences.

Unconventional presentation formats

While traditional TED Talk presentations often feature a single speaker on stage, there has been a rise in unconventional formats that add a unique twist to the storytelling experience. Some speakers have incorporated multimedia elements, interactive displays, or live demonstrations to create a more immersive and dynamic presentation. These innovative formats not only engage the audience but also leave a lasting impression.

Engaging visual storytelling techniques

Visual storytelling has always been a key aspect of TED Talk presentations, but speakers have been finding new ways to captivate their audience visually. They utilize compelling visuals, animations, and data visualizations to simplify complex concepts and enhance the impact of their message. By using innovative visual storytelling techniques, speakers can create a visually stimulating experience that keeps the audience engaged throughout their talk.

A man presenting on stage, giving a Ted Talk presentation.

Embracing technology

As technology continues to advance, TED Talk speakers have embraced its potential to enhance their presentations. From incorporating virtual reality and augmented reality elements to utilizing interactive apps and tools, speakers have found creative ways to leverage technology to immerse their audience in their ideas. These technological innovations elevate the overall experience and make TED Talks more engaging and memorable.

Collaborative and crowd-sourced talks

In recent years, TED has experimented with collaborative and crowd-sourced talks, where multiple speakers come together to present a cohesive narrative. These talks bring together diverse perspectives and foster a sense of collective storytelling. By collaborating with other experts and involving the audience in the creation process, speakers can tap into collective wisdom that enriches their presentations and brings a fresh dimension to TED Talks. If you’re planning to co-present, discover essential co-presenting tips . 

The power of micro TED Talks

Micro TED Talks, also known as TEDx Shorts , have gained popularity for their concise and impactful nature. These shorter talks, often under 10 minutes, focus on delivering a powerful message in a concentrated format. Speakers must distill their ideas to their essence, resulting in talks that are concise, thought-provoking, and easily shareable. The rise of micro TED Talks showcases the evolving preferences of audiences who value impactful content in bite-sized formats.

By embracing unconventional presentation formats, engaging visual storytelling techniques , leveraging technology, exploring collaborative approaches, and recognizing the power of micro TED Talks, speakers are pushing the boundaries of traditional TED Talk presentations. These innovative approaches demonstrate the ever-evolving nature of TED Talks and the creativity of speakers in captivating and inspiring their audiences.

An audience of people watching someone present

Amplify your TED Talk using the power of Prezi

While storytelling and engaging delivery are crucial components of a TED Talk, the visual aspect plays a significant role in amplifying the impact of your presentation. In this section, we’ll explore how Prezi , a dynamic presentation tool, can take your ted talk to the next level by enabling visually stunning and immersive storytelling experiences .

Leveraging the power of non-linear presentations

Traditional slide decks often follow a linear format, limiting the flow and creativity of the presentation. Prezi allows speakers to break free from these constraints and create non-linear presentations that offer a more fluid and engaging narrative. By utilizing zooming, panning, and path animations, speakers can guide the audience through a visual journey that enhances the storytelling experience.

Creating engaging visual metaphors

Metaphors have the power to convey complex ideas in a relatable and memorable way. With Prezi, speakers can utilize visual metaphors to make abstract concepts more tangible and accessible to the audience. By seamlessly transitioning between different visual representations, speakers can create a deeper connection and understanding of their ideas.

Incorporating multimedia elements

Prezi allows for the seamless integration of multimedia elements such as videos, images, and audio into your TED Talk presentation. By strategically incorporating these elements, speakers can enhance the emotional impact of their message, provide supporting evidence, or add a touch of creativity to captivate the audience. Thoughtful use of multimedia can evoke powerful emotions and create a multi-sensory experience. 

Amplifying data visualization

Data visualization is an effective way to present complex information in a clear and compelling manner. With Prezi’s dynamic and interactive features, speakers can transform data into engaging visuals that help the audience grasp key insights. With interactive charts and graphs, Prezi enables speakers to present data in an impactful way that enhances the overall TED Talk experience.

Enhancing collaboration and co-creation

Prezi offers collaborative features that enable speakers to involve others in the creation process. Whether it’s co-creating the presentation with a team or seeking feedback from trusted individuals, collaboration can lead to richer and more diverse perspectives. By leveraging Prezi’s collaboration tools, speakers can refine their ideas, strengthen their narrative, and ensure a more polished TED Talk presentation.

Students co presenting in a classroom.

How to take your TED Talk to the next level

Before diving into examples and the presentation tips TED Talks require, it’s crucial to grasp the fundamental elements that make a TED Talk truly remarkable. TED Talks are renowned for their captivating storytelling, brevity, and ability to connect with the audience on an emotional level. By incorporating personal anecdotes, relatable examples, and powerful metaphors, speakers can create a memorable and engaging TED Talk presentation that resonates with their listeners.

Top tips for a successful TED Talk presentation

A TED Talk is an opportunity to share unique insights and inspire audiences around the world. Here are some tips that can help you craft a compelling and memorable presentation.

Choose a topic you are passionate about

TED Talks are about sharing your passions and insights. Choose a topic that you are passionate about and that you believe will inspire and captivate your audience.

Create a strong narrative

Your talk should tell a story. Structure your presentation with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Draw in your audience with personal anecdotes and relatable experiences. 

Learn how to effectively structure your presentation in the following video:

Practice your delivery

The way you deliver your presentation can be just as important as the content itself. Practice speaking clearly and confidently, maintaining eye contact with your audience, and using your body language to convey enthusiasm and emotion.

Use visuals effectively

Using engaging visuals can greatly enhance your presentation. A tool like Prezi allows you to create dynamic, interactive TED Talk presentation slides that can add depth and richness to your narrative.

A women presenting a presentation with a school presentation theme

Steps to create an engaging TED Talk presentation

Crafting a TED Talk presentation that resonates with your audience requires careful planning and preparation. Here are some key steps to help you on this journey.

Identify your key message

What is the one key message you want your audience to take away from your talk? Identify this early on and make sure every element of your presentation supports this message.

Plan your content

Outline your presentation, ensuring you have a clear structure and flow. Make sure to include a strong introduction that captures the audience’s attention. Establish a main body where you explore your topic in-depth and add a compelling conclusion that reinforces your key message.

Design your slides

Use a tool like Prezi to create engaging and visually appealing slides. Your slides should enhance your narrative, not distract from it. Keep text minimal and use images, charts, and videos where appropriate.

Discover the best presentation design practices by watching this video:

Rehearse your talk

Practice your presentation several times to get comfortable with your content and delivery. Consider timing your rehearsal to ensure you stay within the allocated time for your talk.

Engage your audience

During your presentation, aim to engage your audience by maintaining eye contact, using appropriate body language, and inviting interaction where possible. The more engaged your audience, the more impactful your talk will be.

Inspiring TED Talk presentation examples featuring Prezi

Prezi presentations have been utilized in TED Talks to create captivating visual experiences. “Blackout: The Hidden Structures of Modern Society” by Marc Elsberg is a prime example of how Prezi can be used to unravel complex societal issues through visually engaging content. 

Another notable example, “The Air We Breathe” by Mark Turrel, employs Prezi to raise awareness about air pollution and its impact on public health. 

These TED Talks demonstrate the versatility of Prezi in enhancing the overall presentation. Discover other highly inspirational and visually capturing TED Talk Prezi presentation examples and get inspired to create your own.

Latest TED Talk presentations showcasing exceptional presentation skills

In recent years, TED Talks have continued to inspire with exceptional presentations. “A Seat at the Table” by Lilly Singh sheds light on the importance of diverse voices and inclusion. 

“The Benefits of Not Being a Jerk to Yourself” by Dan Harris delves into the significance of self-compassion. 

Furthermore, “Why Having Fun is the Secret to a Healthier Life” by Catherina Price explores the connection between joy and well-being. 

All of these TED Talk presentations showcase the power of authentic storytelling and delivery in captivating an audience. 

Learn how you can master TED Talk delivery skills by watching the following video, where we compiled and analyzed the top TED Talk presentation skills from iconic talks: 

TED Talk presentation templates for a polished outcome

To simplify the process of creating visually appealing slides, various pre-designed presentation templates are available. Utilizing templates allows speakers to focus on developing compelling content rather than starting from scratch. Prezi offers a wide range of presentation templates that align with the aesthetics and requirements of TED Talks. By utilizing these templates, speakers can achieve a polished and professional outcome.

Empowering your TED Talk journey

Mastering the art of delivering a remarkable TED Talk presentation requires a combination of storytelling expertise, effective slide design, and engaging delivery. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, drawing inspiration from impactful TED Talk examples, and utilizing Prezi presentation templates , you’ll be well on your way to creating a TED Talk that leaves a lasting impression. Embrace the TED Talk spirit, ignite your passion, and let your ideas take flight on the TED stage.

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How to do a Ted Talks Presentation? 8 Tips to Make Your Presentation Better in 2023

How to do a Ted Talks Presentation? 8 Tips to Make Your Presentation Better in 2023

Leah Nguyen • 09 Aug 2023 • 8 min read

So, how to make a Ted Talks Presentation ? When you want to find a talk on a topic you are interested in, TED Talks may be the first to pop up in your mind.

Their power comes from both original ideas, insightful, useful content and impressive presentation skills of the speakers. Over 90,000 presenting styles from over 90,000 speakers have been shown, and you probably have found yourself related to one of them.

Whatever the type is, there are some everyday things among TED Talks Presentations that you can keep in mind to improve your own performance!

Table of Contents

  • Use personal stories to make your audience related
  • Make your audience work
  • Slides are to aid, not to drown
  • Be original, be you
  • Speak with clarity
  • Shape your body language
  • Keep it concise
  • Close with a strong remark

Key Takeaways

Frequently asked questions, more presentation tips with ahaslides.

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1. Use Personal Stories to Make your Audience-Related

The fastest way to spur an emotional response from the audience in TED Talks Presentation is to tell a story of your own experience.

The essence of a story is its ability to invoke emotions and interaction from the listeners. Therefore by doing this, they can feel related by nature and immediately find your talk more “authentic”, and therefore are willing to listen to more from you. 

TED Talks Presentation

You can also intertwine your stories into your talk to build your opinion on the topic and present your argument persuasively. Apart from research-based evidence, you can use personal stories as a powerful tool to create a reliable, compelling presentation.

2. Make your Audience Work

However interesting your speech may be, there may be times when the audience drifts their attention away from your talk for a moment. That is why you must have some activities that win back their attention and get them engaged. 

For example, a simple way to do this is to make good questions relevant to your topic, which gets them to think and find an answer. This is a common way that TED speakers use to engage their audience! The questions can be posed immediately or occasionally during the talk.

The idea is to get to know their perspectives by having them submit their answers to an online canvas like AhaSlides , where the results are updated live, and you can rely on them to discuss more in-depth. 

You can also ask them to do small acts, like close their eyes and think about an idea or an example relevant to the idea you are talking about, just like what Bruce Aylward did in his talk on “How We’ll Stop Polio for Good.”

3. Slides are to aid, not to drown

Slides accompany most TED Talks Presentations, and you would rarely see a TED speaker use more-than-colourful slides full of text or numbers.

Instead, they are usually simplified in terms of decoration and content and tend to be in the form of graphs, images or videos.

This helps draw the audience’s attention to the content that the speaker is referring to and flatter the idea they are trying to convey. You can make use of it too!

TED Talks Presentation - Visualisation is the point

Visualisation is the point here. You can convert text and numbers into charts or graphs and utilise images, videos, and GIFs. Interactive slides can also help you connect with the audience.

One reason the audience is distracted is their having no clue about the structure of your talk and feel discouraged to follow until the end.

You can solve this with the “Audience Pacing” feature of AhaSlides , in which the audience can pave back and forth to know all the content of your slides and always be on track and get ready for your upcoming insights!

4. Be original, be you

This has to do with your presenting style, HOW you convey your ideas, and WHAT you deliver.

You can see this clearly in TED Talks Presentation, where one speaker’s ideas could be similar to others, but what matters is how they view it from another perspective and develop it in their own way.

The audience will not want to listen to an old topic with an old approach that hundreds of others might have chosen.

Think about how you can make a difference and add your individuality to your speech to bring valuable content to the audience.

One topic, thousands of ideas, thousands of styles

5. Speak with clarity

You don’t have to possess a mesmerising voice that put the audience in a trance, but projecting it to be clear will be much appreciated.

By “clear”, we mean that the audience can hear and figure out what you said for at least 90%.

Skilled communicators have reliable voices, despite any nervous or anxious emotions they may experience.

In TED Talks presentation, you can see there are barely any muffled sounds. All messages are communicated in a crystal clear tone.

The good thing is, you can train your voice to be better!

Vocal and speech coaches and even AI training apps could help, from how to breathe properly to how to place your tongue when enunciating, they greatly improve your tone, pace and volume in the long run.

You can use the help of AI to train your voice for TED Talks Presentation

6. Shape your body language

Non-verbal expression has 65% to 93% more influence than actual text, so the way you carry out yourself really matters!

In your next TED Talks Presentation, remember to stand up straight with your shoulders back and head up. Avoid slouching or leaning against the podium. This projects confidence and engages the audience.

Use open, welcoming gestures with your hands like keeping them unclenched at your sides or palms facing up in a shrug.

Move around the stage purposefully as you speak to signal enthusiasm for your topic. Avoid fidgeting, pacing back and forth or touching your face excessively.

Speak from the heart with real passion and conviction that your big idea matters. When your own enthusiasm is genuine, it becomes contagious and pulls listeners in.

Pause for effect by going still and silent between key points. Motionless posture commands the audience’s attention and allows them time to process your information, and also allows you time to think of the next point.

Take a big, noticeable breath before launching into a new section of your talk. The physical action helps signal a transition to the audience.

It’s easy to say than to talk, but if you take into consideration that we are humans full of lively movements and expressions, which differentiate us from robots, we can allow our bodies to express freely in TED Talks Presentation.

presentation techniques ted talk

7. Keep it concise

We have the tendency to think our presentation points are inadequate and often elaborate more than we should.

Aim for around 18 minutes like in TED Talks Presentations, which is more than enough considering how distracting we are in this modern world.

Create an outline with main sections and time yourself to stay within the time limit as you practice and refine your talk. You can consider following this timeline format:

  • 3 minutes – Tell a story with simple, concrete narratives and anecdotes.
  • 3 minutes – Get to the main idea and key points.
  • 9 minutes – Elaborate on these key points and relate a personal story that highlights your main idea.
  • 3 minutes – Wrap up and spend time interacting with the audience, possibly with a Q&A.

Foster an environment of density and richness within the constraints of a brief time limit.

Pare down your content to only what’s essential. Delete unnecessary details, tangents and filler words.

Focus on quality over quantity. A few well-crafted examples are more powerful than a laundry list of facts in TED Talks Presentations.

TED Talk Presentation - Keep your talk under 18 minutes

8. Close with a strong remark

Believe it or not, your goal for perfect TED Talks Presentations goes beyond just sharing interesting information. As you craft your talk, consider the transformation you want to ignite in your listeners.

What thoughts do you want to plant in their minds? What emotions do you wish to stir within them? What actions do you hope they will be inspired to take when they leave the auditorium?

Your call to action can be as simple as asking the audience to view your central topic in a new light.

The very premise of TED talks presentations is that ideas worth spreading are those worth acting upon.

Without a clear call to action, your talk may be intriguing but ultimately indifferent to your listeners. With a call to action, you trigger a mental reminder that change is needed.

Your firm and focused call to action is the exclamation point signalling that something must now be done – and your listeners are the ones who should take that step.

So don’t just inform your audience, push them to see the world anew and move them to take action that aligns with your important idea!

TED Talk Presentation - A strong CTA welcomes the audience to take action

The key is to distil your big idea down to its essence, tell a story to illustrate it and speak extemporaneously with natural passion and enthusiasm. Practice, practice, practice.

It’s not easy to be a master presenter, but practice these 8 tips so often that you can make big progress in your presentation skills! Let AhaSlides be with you on the way there!

What is a TED talk presentation?

A TED talk is a short, powerful presentation given at TED conferences and related events. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design.

How do you make a TED talk presentation?

By following these steps – focusing on your big idea, telling relevant stories, keeping it short, rehearsing thoroughly and speaking confidently – you’ll be well on your way to delivering an effective, impactful TED talk presentation.

What is the difference between a TED talk and a standard presentation?

TED talks are designed to be: shorter, more concise and focused; told in a visually engaging and narrative-driven way; and delivered in an on-the-spot, inspiring manner that provokes thought and spreads important ideas.

Do TED Talks have presentations?

Yes, TED Talks are actually short presentations given at TED conferences and other TED-related events.

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Leah Nguyen

A former event organiser on the ultimate quest - to help presenters create the juiciest online experiences and leave all attendees on a high note.

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How to build a TED Talk-worthy presentation

Presentation Shapes Image

If you’ve experienced the challenge of developing and/or delivering an important presentation to a good-sized audience, there’s a chance you hoped it would go as well as a TED Talk—those incredibly well regarded presentations first popularized by the TED Foundation in the mid 2000s. TED Talks are often considered the “Everest” of engaging, informative presentations. Killing it on the TED stage is significant.

So with the intention of acting as your presentation sherpa, this article offers 8 steps to give you the best chance of building and delivering a TED Talk-worthy presentation.

presentation techniques ted talk

TED Talks. People listen.   ‍

TED is a nonprofit with a mission to “spread ideas.” It began as a one-off conference (on technology, entertainment and design) in 1984—eventually evolving to a point where it launched an audio and podcast series called TED Talks .

From the history page on their site:

“ The first six TED Talks were posted online on June 27, 2006. By September, they had reached more than one million views. TED Talks proved so popular that in 2007, the TED website was relaunched around them, giving a global audience free access to some of the world’s greatest thinkers, leaders and teachers.”

As a result of their success and popularity, TED Talks have inspired many other presentation-centric activities and events—such as conference keynotes and investor fundraising “demo days.”

What makes a TED Talk?

TED presenters arrive from all walks of life, and although their TED Talks span a wide range of topics, they all share a few characteristics:

  • 18 minutes or less. This is a TED rule, initiated by their founder, Chris Anderson, and also backed by scientific research . The basic premise is 18 minutes is long enough to do the job, but short enough to avoid having your audience begin to lose interest.
  • A big idea, worth sharing. Again, straight from TED. But expecting to deliver a compelling presentation that relays several meaty ideas in under 20 minutes is wishful thinking. By focusing on a single, compelling concept—you ensure maximum impact and can more successfully communicate key points.
  • Large audience, sizable venue. One-to-one, or one-to-few presentations delivered in a meeting or conference room play by different rules. We’re not addressing those here.

8 steps to the TED Talk mountain top

TED Talks are so well done they can almost seem magical. But it isn’t wizardry that makes them so compelling. In fact, there’s a formula you can follow—8 steps that will allow your presentations to deliver similar impact:

Step 1: Know your audience

This is fundamental for maximizing the success of any communication. In order to relay your “big idea” in the most effective way, you need to understand what your audience knows and cares about. Then tailor your presentation appropriately.

If you’re presenting to a new or relatively unknown audience, there are some quick ways to gather intel—such as researching and reading an applicable Reddit thread, or having a quick conversation with someone who’s more familiar.

Step 2. Scout your venue

As a general rule, the background of your slides should match the room in which you’re presenting. It’s not uncommon for large venues to be darkened so the visual focus is on what’s on stage. In some instances, however, stage environments can be illuminated or even a specific color or color theme. Matching slide backgrounds to the specifics of your venue can be very effective—allowing eyes to be drawn to the presentation’s content, not the full outline of the slides themselves.

presentation techniques ted talk

Keep audience viewing angles and distance in mind as well. You want them on the edge of their seats, but not because they’re leaning forward and squinting to try and make out your tiny words.

presentation techniques ted talk

Step 3. Think about your presentation as a whole

Your presentation is a story. It should flow from start to finish, and you should understand the primary points you want to make along the way. Look for the “big opportunities” and use your slides to truly highlight them. Not every slide should “Wow!” Some should be supportive and lead up to your key points—just like scenes in a movie plot. If every slide (or every scene) is intense, nothing will stand out. Outlines, index cards or sticky notes can be helpful at the early stages when you’re planning the arc of your story.

presentation techniques ted talk

Step 4. One concept per slide (okay, maybe two)

To successfully make a point, you need your audience to be able to focus in and “get it.” So instead of asking a single slide to carry the load of relaying multiple concepts, put the second (or third or fourth) on their own slides. It can even make sense to relay a single concept across multiple slides. This allows the speaker to spend more time on it without losing momentum.

presentation techniques ted talk

In some instances, you may be starting with a recycled slide your presenter happens to love—although you can see it’s relaying too many things. In such a case, ask the presenter to literally present the slide to you, and listen for the one (or maybe two) key messaging concepts they’re trying to relate. Build the new slide content to support those, and put everything else in the speaker notes.

Working with a client to distill a keynote’s story down to a few big, clarified points can be difficult work. But if we’re successful, the result is truly transformative. David Mack Co-founder, SketchDeck

Step 5. Minimalize

The slides are there to support your presenter—not to steal the show. The focus should be on speaker. Think single graphics and/or few words over phrase. Think phrase over sentence. Sentence over… (don’t even THINK about multiple sentences). You don’t want the audience to start reading, and stop listening.

The slide content is supporting the message, not relaying it. Everything on your slides should be meaningful. No placeholders, watermarks, headers or footers. If you haven’t determined this already, using your standard company presentation template probably isn’t a good idea. (Looking for an event or presentation specific presentation template? SketchDeck can help with that!)

presentation techniques ted talk

Step 6. Maintain top quality

This is a premium presentation, and it needs to look and feel that way. No grainy photos, watermarked stock images, family snapshots, placeholder text or clip art. Just. Don’t. Do it. This is a day for Tiffany’s, not Target.

Step 7. Consider motion

Videos and animation can add a different and engaging dimension to your presentation. If done well, they offer a level of cinematic drama that can enhance the magic of a live performance.  But keep the previous steps in mind if you go this route. Every visual element needs a reason to be there. Everything must help tell the story.

Step 8. Get a great presenter

The reality is a speaker can make or break a presentation. A bad presenter can ruin a perfect presentation. And as much as it pains us to write this, a great presenter doesn’t really need slides (see Step 5 above). Therefore, if you’re presenting, practice—ideally in front of someone who will be brutally honest. You should also consider hiring a coach.

SketchDeck recommends taking the presentation to a small, controlled audience a week or so before the event to see how it delivers. Not only is it a great practice opportunity, it allows time for last minute adjustments.

And most importantly, hear feedback and adapt accordingly. If you’re not the presenter, ask whoever is to do the same. Great presenters are not born. It takes work, and the vast majority of that work is done before a speaker steps on stage.

It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech. Mark Twain

The big day

The audience is rapt… pin drop silent. Elegant slides flip in perfect timing behind your delivery. You pause—at just the right point—confidently adjusting the cuffs of your black turtleneck.

“They’re mine,” you think. And you’re right.

Fired up to blow away your next audience? So are we. SketchDeck would love to partner with you to help make your next presentation TED Talk-worthy.

Additional resources

Rob Lewczyk

Rob Lewczyk

  • Originally published on January 30, 2020

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TED Talks presentation skills you can use

Are you looking to make a great impression in an interview, in a talk, or during a meeting? Even if you are a confident and grounded person, it can be difficult to convey your intention when you are put on the spot. Thankfully, TED Talks presentations offer a great deal of insight, with tips we can use at work every day. Here are some ideas that you can use.

Before listing some of the most-loved presentation tips from TED Talks, keep in mind that the best way to learn is to actually watch what people do in the series. Better yet, read over these suggestions, and then watch the lecturers to see how they use their pointers. Use a pen and notebook to take notes on what you like about their presentations. By reading and internalizing these ideas as well as observing how they are applied, you are sure to be able to reproduce the excellent methods you see.

Here are some ways you can present yourself just like a TED Talks pro:

1. Eat well. What eating well means will certainly vary extensively from person to person. Adults know how and what to eat and which ingredients help their mind work the best. If you’re unsure, do a trial run the week before. Prepare a healthy meal, eat, wait an hour, and then practice your speech. Do you feel energized? Can you think clearly? This is a great way to experiment with an ideal food regimen. If you don’t know what foods to eat, try a high protein, low carb meal. For many people, strong proteins help sharpen their minds, whereas heavy carbs can weigh their bodies down and cause fatigue.

2. Burn stress. Another activity to do before getting on stage or sitting down for a meeting is engaging in some high cardio exercise. Go for a run or use machines at a local gym. Get your heart rate soaring (in a healthy way, slowly building up and releasing afterward) for at least 20 minutes. This is likely to increase dopamine and help you feel relaxed and happy.

3. Emergency plan. Ideally and most likely, all will be well, and you’ll make a grand speech and a grand exit to match. But what if you don’t? What if you have bad luck, the technology fails, you have a non-preventable crisis that morning, or you just wake up and feel low in energy that day? Weeks before the big day, arrange a detailed backup plan to help protect your TED presentation skills. This may involve hand-written notes, backup technology, or another speech altogether. Whatever it is, make sure it’s a process you would feel comfortable with. Imagine the worst day you’ve ever had and then devise a plan that would save you from that potential day.

4. Be real. It’s important to impress, to practice, and to be professional. But it’s also just as important to show yourself as an authentic person who is taking a chance by revealing your ideas to a respectable audience. This is one of the many essential TED presentation skills. To put it another way, you can choose to display yourself as an authentic professional, someone who has experience as an employee but also as a person. One way to do this well is to offer a story from your personal life, but to also mention your professional life within it (or vice versa). For example, “When I was volunteering for a local NGO, my best friend told me…” This reveals you as both a person and a worker. People relate to that. If you can share this, while being emotional (without overdoing it), you’re on the right track.

5. Speak slowly. This may sound quite simple, but the reality is that some people quicken their speech when they are nervous. There are a number of downsides to this. First, the audience may not be able to decipher what you say clearly enough. Second, even if your listeners can hear you, you may not be speaking with a profound emphasis when you discuss meaningful ideas that should be deeply expressed. Third, when you speak quickly, you lose those extra seconds which may be important for you to think, to pause, to survey the room, and to make eye contact, as well as to think on your feet if a question is posed. Finally, when you speak quickly, you lose out on the time you need to breathe deeply. This means that your heart rate may quicken, and you may begin to sweat and lose focus. If you’re out of breath, you’ll have a harder time using your TED Talks communication skills.

6. Think rhetorically. One of the best ways to engage a listener is to propose a question you truly do not know the answer to. How easy is it to answer an easy question or to make an introductory remark, and then fill the remaining time with the various solutions to that idea? Regardless of how creative your solutions are, if you’re responding to a question you are already know the answer to, it’s likely that your audience has answers to it also. Phrase a question that’s unthinkable to respond to, or a problem you know can never be completely resolved. Hopefully, the rhetorical question will also have some emotion to it, some yearning, or some hopefulness.

7. Answer queries. Rarely, but sometimes, people will propose challenges or queries to you while you’re in midst of a lecture. Never tell a participant who dares courageously to speak up to wait until after you’re done speaking to receive an answer. Be diplomatic instead. Stop your train of thought, stand still a moment to consider, and then give a concise but thoughtful response. This conveys respect to your participant, and it also furthers the dialogue, gets people interested, and helps you expand on your idea. Come to think of those questions as helping rather than hindering your speech. Such inclusive behavior will encourage others to take your words seriously, even if they question them all the same.

8. Take your time. One way TED Talks presentation skills famously create attention and drama is when speakers take luxurious pauses between climactic moments. Distilling thoughts—breaking them down in such a digestible way—can be indispensable for speakers and listeners. Listen to TED Talks speeches to get a sense of how this is done.

9. Watch your body. Many TED Talks speakers don’t stand perfectly still as they speak, but nor do they rummage back and forth across the stage in a nervous frenzy. Rather, consider taking a few steps forward to create emphasis or look left or right to gradually survey the room. Always maintain eye contact and distribute it across the audience evenly. This will help the audience connect with you and with your words, without becoming distracted by significant movements.

10. Have a message. Although this may seem relatively obvious, it can be so easy to generate a discussion without a climax that keeps people thinking. It’s important to leave the audience with food for thought, and with a way that they too can exercise their independent thinking. Do they agree or disagree with the ideas you provided? If they agree, what can they do about it? How can they follow your team’s example, make the world a better place, or improve on their work-life balance? Leave a message that is both utilitarian—a call to action—and that also leaves an emotional flavor. When you move people, they are likely to remember you and to take action.

TED Talks communication skills

There is a lot we can learn from the TED Talks communication skills of today, and we should be thankful that we live in a time when such knowledge, confidence, and wisdom is available to us via people who have worked hard to try to develop their communication skills. The best way to make yourself into a sophisticated speaker is by practicing, by working on your confidence, and by establishing healthy routines. Review the TED Talks presentation skills tips regularly and watch their educational videos. Very soon, it will be you standing in center stage.

10 tips on how to make slides that communicate your idea, from TED’s in-house expert

presentation techniques ted talk

When your slides rock, your whole presentation pops to life. At TED2014, David Epstein created a clean, informative slide deck to support his talk on the changing bodies of athletes . Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED

Aaron Weyenberg is the master of slide decks. Our UX Lead creates Keynote presentations that are both slick and charming—the kind that pull you in and keep you captivated, but in an understated way that helps you focus on what’s actually being said. He does this for his own presentations and for lots of other folks in the office. Yes, his coworkers ask him to design their slides, because he’s just that good.

We asked Aaron to bottle his Keynote mojo so that others could benefit from it. Here, 10 tips for making an effective slide deck, split into two parts: the big, overarching goals, and the little tips and tricks that make your presentation sing.


Aaron used this image of a New Zealand disaster to kick off a slide deck from TED’s tech team — all about how they prepares for worst-case scenarios. He asked for permission to use the image, and credited the photographer, Blair Harkness. View the whole slidedeck from this presentation.

The big picture…

  • Think about your slides last . Building your slides should be the tail end of developing your presentation. Think about your main message, structure its supporting points, practice it and time it—and then start thinking about your slides. The presentation needs to stand on its own; the slides are just something you layer over it to enhance the listener experience. Too often, I see slide decks that feel more like presenter notes, but I think it’s far more effective when the slides are for the audience to give them a visual experience that adds to the words. .
  • Create a consistent look and feel . In a good slide deck, each slide feels like part of the same story. That means using the same or related typography, colors and imagery across all your slides. Using pre-built master slides can be a good way to do that, but it can feel restrictive and lead to me-too decks. I like to create a few slides to hold sample graphic elements and type, then copy what I need from those slides as I go. .
  • Think about topic transitions . It can be easy to go too far in the direction of consistency, though. You don’t want each slide to look exactly the same. I like to create one style for the slides that are the meat of what I’m saying, and then another style for the transitions between topics. For example, if my general slides have a dark background with light text, I’ll try transition slides that have a light background with dark text. That way they feel like part of the same family, but the presentation has texture—and the audience gets a visual cue that we’re moving onto a new topic. .
  • With text, less is almost always more . One thing to avoid—slides with a lot of text, especially if it’s a repeat of what you’re saying out loud. It’s like if you give a paper handout in a meeting—everyone’s head goes down and they read, rather than staying heads-up and listening. If there are a lot of words on your slide, you’re asking your audience to split their attention between what they’re reading and what they’re hearing. That’s really hard for a brain to do, and it compromises the effectiveness of both your slide text and your spoken words. If you can’t avoid having text-y slides, try to progressively reveal text (like unveiling bullet points one by one) as you need it. .
  • Use photos that enhance meaning . I love using simple, punchy photos in presentations, because they help what you’re saying resonate in your audience’s mind without pulling their attention from your spoken words. Look for photos that (1) speak strongly to the concept you’re talking about and (2) aren’t compositionally complex. Your photo could be a metaphor or something more literal, but it should be clear why the audience is looking at it, and why it’s paired with what you’re saying. For example, I recently used the image above—a photo of a container ship about to tip over (it eventually sank)—to lead off a co-worker’s deck about failure preparation. And below is another example of a photo I used in a deck to talk about the launch of the new . The point I was making was that a launch isn’t the end of a project—it’s the beginning of something new. We’ll learn, adapt, change and grow.

Here, a lovely image from a slidedeck Aaron created about the redesign of . View the whole deck from this presentation .

And now some tactical tips…

  • Go easy on the effects and transitions . Keynote and Powerpoint come with a lot of effects and transitions. In my opinion, most of these don’t do much to enhance the audience experience. At worst, they subtly suggest that the content of your slides is so uninteresting that a page flip or droplet transition will snap the audience out of their lethargy. If you must use them, use the most subtle ones, and keep it consistent. .


  • Try panning large images . Often, I want to show screen shot of an entire web page in my presentations. There’s a great Chrome extension to capture these—but these images are oftentimes much longer than the canvas size of the presentation. Rather than scaling the image to an illegible size, or cropping it, you can pan it vertically as you talk about it. In Keynote, this is done with a Move effect, which you can apply from an object’s action panel. .
  • For video, don’t use autoplay . It’s super easy to insert video in Keynote and Powerpoint—you just drag a Quicktime file onto the slide. And when you advance the deck to the slide with the video that autoplays, sometimes it can take a moment for the machine to actually start playing it. So often I’ve seen presenters click again in an attempt to start the video during this delay, causing the deck to go to the next slide. Instead, set the video to click to play. That way you have more predictable control over the video start time, and even select a poster frame to show before starting. .


Lastly, I’d love to leave you with a couple book recommendations. The first is Resonate , by Nancy Duarte. It’s not so much about slides, but about public speaking in general – which is the foundation for any presentation, regardless of how great your slides are. In it, she breaks down the anatomy of what makes a great presentation, how to establish a central message and structure your talk, and more. (One of her case studies comes from Benjamin Zander’s charming TED Talk about classical music, a talk that captivated the audience from start to finish.) Think of this as prerequisite reading for my second recommendation, also by Duarte: Slide:ology . This is more focused on presentation visuals and slides.

Happy slide-making.

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Comments (57)

.css-1qrtm5m{display:block;margin-bottom:8px;text-transform:uppercase;font-size:14px;line-height:1.5714285714285714;-webkit-letter-spacing:-0.35px;-moz-letter-spacing:-0.35px;-ms-letter-spacing:-0.35px;letter-spacing:-0.35px;font-weight:300;color:#606F7B;}@media (min-width:600px){.css-1qrtm5m{font-size:16px;line-height:1.625;-webkit-letter-spacing:-0.5px;-moz-letter-spacing:-0.5px;-ms-letter-spacing:-0.5px;letter-spacing:-0.5px;}} Best Practices The #1 rule for improving your presentation slides

by Tom Rielly • May 12, 2020

presentation techniques ted talk

When giving presentations, either on a video conference call or in person, your slides, videos and graphics (or lack of them) can be an important element in helping you tell your story or express your idea. This is the first of a series of blog posts that will give you tips and tricks on how to perfect your visual presentations.

Your job as a presenter is to build your idea -- step-by-step -- in the minds of your audience members. One tool to do that is presentation graphics, such as slides and videos.

Why graphics for your presentation?

A common mistake is using slides or videos as a crutch, even if they don’t actually add anything to your presentation. Not all presentations need graphics. Lots of presentations work wonderfully with just one person standing on a stage telling a story, as demonstrated by many TED Talks.

You should only use slides if they serve a purpose: conveying scientific information, art, and things that are hard to explain without pictures. Once you have decided on using slides, you will have a number of decisions to make. We’ll help you with the basics of making a presentation that is, above all, clear and easy to understand. The most important thing to remember here is: less is more.

Less is so much more

You want to aim for the fewest number of slides, the fewest number of photos, the fewest words per slide, the least cluttered slides and the most white space on your slides. This is the most violated slide rule, but it is the secret to success. Take a look at these examples.

Example slides showing how a short title is easier to grasp than a long one

As you can see in the above example, you don’t need fancy backgrounds or extra words to convey a simple concept. If you take “Everything you need to know about Turtles”, and delete “everything you need to know about” leaving just “turtles”, the slide has become much easier for your audience to read, and tells the story with economy.

Example slides showing how a single image is more powerful than a cluttered slide

The above example demonstrates that a single image that fills the entire screen is far more powerful than a slide cluttered with images. A slide with too many images may be detrimental to your presentation. The audience will spend more mental energy trying to sort through the clutter than listening to your presentation. If you need multiple images, then put each one on its own slide. Make each image high-resolution and have it fill the entire screen. If the photos are not the same dimensions as the screen, put them on a black background. Don’t use other colors, especially white.

Examples slides showing how it's better to convey a single idea per slide vs a lot of text

Your slides will be much more effective if you use the fewest words, characters, and pictures needed to tell your story. Long paragraphs make the audience strain to read them, which means they are not paying attention to you. Your audience may even get stressed if you move on to your next slide before they’ve finished reading your paragraph. The best way to make sure the attention stays on you is to limit word count to no more than 10 words per slide. As presentation expert Nancy Duarte says “any slide with more than 10 words is a document.” If you really do need a longer explanation of something, handouts or follow-up emails are the way to go.

Following a “less is more” approach is one of the simplest things you can do to improve your presentation visuals and the impact of your presentation overall. Make sure your visuals add to your presentation rather than distract from it and get your message across.

Ready to learn more about how to make your presentation even better? Get TED Masterclass and develop your ideas into TED-style talks.

© 2023 TED Conferences, LLC. All rights reserved. Please note that the TED Talks Usage policy does not apply to this content and is not subject to our creative commons license.


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How to Give a Killer Presentation

  • Chris Anderson

presentation techniques ted talk

For more than 30 years, the TED conference series has presented enlightening talks that people enjoy watching. In this article, Anderson, TED’s curator, shares five keys to great presentations:

  • Frame your story (figure out where to start and where to end).
  • Plan your delivery (decide whether to memorize your speech word for word or develop bullet points and then rehearse it—over and over).
  • Work on stage presence (but remember that your story matters more than how you stand or whether you’re visibly nervous).
  • Plan the multimedia (whatever you do, don’t read from PowerPoint slides).
  • Put it together (play to your strengths and be authentic).

According to Anderson, presentations rise or fall on the quality of the idea, the narrative, and the passion of the speaker. It’s about substance—not style. In fact, it’s fairly easy to “coach out” the problems in a talk, but there’s no way to “coach in” the basic story—the presenter has to have the raw material. So if your thinking is not there yet, he advises, decline that invitation to speak. Instead, keep working until you have an idea that’s worth sharing.

Lessons from TED

A little more than a year ago, on a trip to Nairobi, Kenya, some colleagues and I met a 12-year-old Masai boy named Richard Turere, who told us a fascinating story. His family raises livestock on the edge of a vast national park, and one of the biggest challenges is protecting the animals from lions—especially at night. Richard had noticed that placing lamps in a field didn’t deter lion attacks, but when he walked the field with a torch, the lions stayed away. From a young age, he’d been interested in electronics, teaching himself by, for example, taking apart his parents’ radio. He used that experience to devise a system of lights that would turn on and off in sequence—using solar panels, a car battery, and a motorcycle indicator box—and thereby create a sense of movement that he hoped would scare off the lions. He installed the lights, and the lions stopped attacking. Soon villages elsewhere in Kenya began installing Richard’s “lion lights.”

The story was inspiring and worthy of the broader audience that our TED conference could offer, but on the surface, Richard seemed an unlikely candidate to give a TED Talk. He was painfully shy. His English was halting. When he tried to describe his invention, the sentences tumbled out incoherently. And frankly, it was hard to imagine a preteenager standing on a stage in front of 1,400 people accustomed to hearing from polished speakers such as Bill Gates, Sir Ken Robinson, and Jill Bolte Taylor.

But Richard’s story was so compelling that we invited him to speak. In the months before the 2013 conference, we worked with him to frame his story—to find the right place to begin and to develop a succinct and logical arc of events. On the back of his invention Richard had won a scholarship to one of Kenya’s best schools, and there he had the chance to practice the talk several times in front of a live audience. It was critical that he build his confidence to the point where his personality could shine through. When he finally gave his talk at TED , in Long Beach, you could tell he was nervous, but that only made him more engaging— people were hanging on his every word . The confidence was there, and every time Richard smiled, the audience melted. When he finished, the response was instantaneous: a sustained standing ovation.

Since the first TED conference, 30 years ago, speakers have run the gamut from political figures, musicians, and TV personalities who are completely at ease before a crowd to lesser-known academics, scientists, and writers—some of whom feel deeply uncomfortable giving presentations. Over the years, we’ve sought to develop a process for helping inexperienced presenters to frame, practice, and deliver talks that people enjoy watching. It typically begins six to nine months before the event, and involves cycles of devising (and revising) a script, repeated rehearsals, and plenty of fine-tuning. We’re continually tweaking our approach—because the art of public speaking is evolving in real time—but judging by public response, our basic regimen works well: Since we began putting TED Talks online, in 2006, they’ve been viewed more than one billion times.

On the basis of this experience, I’m convinced that giving a good talk is highly coachable. In a matter of hours, a speaker’s content and delivery can be transformed from muddled to mesmerizing. And while my team’s experience has focused on TED’s 18-minutes-or-shorter format, the lessons we’ve learned are surely useful to other presenters—whether it’s a CEO doing an IPO road show, a brand manager unveiling a new product, or a start-up pitching to VCs.

Frame Your Story

There’s no way you can give a good talk unless you have something worth talking about . Conceptualizing and framing what you want to say is the most vital part of preparation.

Find the Perfect Mix of Data and Narrative

by Nancy Duarte

Most presentations lie somewhere on the continuum between a report and a story. A report is data-rich, exhaustive, and informative—but not very engaging. Stories help a speaker connect with an audience, but listeners often want facts and information, too. Great presenters layer story and information like a cake and understand that different types of talks require differing ingredients.

From Report . . .

(literal, informational, factual, exhaustive).

Research findings. If your goal is to communicate information from a written report, send the full document to the audience in advance, and limit the presentation to key takeaways. Don’t do a long slide show that repeats all your findings. Anyone who’s really interested can read the report; everyone else will appreciate brevity.

Financial presentation. Financial audiences love data, and they’ll want the details. Satisfy their analytical appetite with facts, but add a thread of narrative to appeal to their emotional side. Then present the key takeaways visually, to help them find meaning in the numbers.

Product launch. Instead of covering only specs and features, focus on the value your product brings to the world. Tell stories that show how real people will use it and why it will change their lives.

VC pitch. For 30 minutes with a VC, prepare a crisp, well-structured story arc that conveys your idea compellingly in 10 minutes or less; then let Q&A drive the rest of the meeting. Anticipate questions and rehearse clear and concise answers.

Keynote address. Formal talks at big events are high-stakes, high-impact opportunities to take your listeners on a transformative journey. Use a clear story framework and aim to engage them emotionally.

. . . to Story

(dramatic, experiential, evocative, persuasive).

Nancy Duarte is the author of HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations , Slide:ology , and Resonate . She is the CEO of Duarte, Inc., which designs presentations and teaches presentation development.

We all know that humans are wired to listen to stories, and metaphors abound for the narrative structures that work best to engage people. When I think about compelling presentations, I think about taking an audience on a journey. A successful talk is a little miracle—people see the world differently afterward.

If you frame the talk as a journey, the biggest decisions are figuring out where to start and where to end. To find the right place to start, consider what people in the audience already know about your subject—and how much they care about it. If you assume they have more knowledge or interest than they do, or if you start using jargon or get too technical, you’ll lose them. The most engaging speakers do a superb job of very quickly introducing the topic, explaining why they care so deeply about it, and convincing the audience members that they should, too.

The biggest problem I see in first drafts of presentations is that they try to cover too much ground. You can’t summarize an entire career in a single talk. If you try to cram in everything you know, you won’t have time to include key details, and your talk will disappear into abstract language that may make sense if your listeners are familiar with the subject matter but will be completely opaque if they’re new to it. You need specific examples to flesh out your ideas. So limit the scope of your talk to that which can be explained, and brought to life with examples, in the available time. Much of the early feedback we give aims to correct the impulse to sweep too broadly. Instead, go deeper. Give more detail. Don’t tell us about your entire field of study—tell us about your unique contribution.

A successful talk is a little miracle—people see the world differently afterward.

Of course, it can be just as damaging to overexplain or painstakingly draw out the implications of a talk. And there the remedy is different: Remember that the people in the audience are intelligent. Let them figure some things out for themselves. Let them draw their own conclusions.

Many of the best talks have a narrative structure that loosely follows a detective story. The speaker starts out by presenting a problem and then describes the search for a solution. There’s an “aha” moment, and the audience’s perspective shifts in a meaningful way.

If a talk fails, it’s almost always because the speaker didn’t frame it correctly, misjudged the audience’s level of interest, or neglected to tell a story. Even if the topic is important, random pontification without narrative is always deeply unsatisfying. There’s no progression, and you don’t feel that you’re learning.

I was at an energy conference recently where two people—a city mayor and a former governor—gave back-to-back talks. The mayor’s talk was essentially a list of impressive projects his city had undertaken. It came off as boasting, like a report card or an advertisement for his reelection. It quickly got boring. When the governor spoke, she didn’t list achievements; instead, she shared an idea. Yes, she recounted anecdotes from her time in office, but the idea was central—and the stories explanatory or illustrative (and also funny). It was so much more interesting. The mayor’s underlying point seemed to be how great he was, while the governor’s message was “Here’s a compelling idea that would benefit us all.”

Further Reading

Storytelling That Moves People

As a general rule, people are not very interested in talks about organizations or institutions (unless they’re members of them). Ideas and stories fascinate us; organizations bore us—they’re much harder to relate to. (Businesspeople especially take note: Don’t boast about your company; rather, tell us about the problem you’re solving.)

Plan Your Delivery

Once you’ve got the framing down, it’s time to focus on your delivery . There are three main ways to deliver a talk. You can read it directly off a script or a teleprompter. You can develop a set of bullet points that map out what you’re going to say in each section rather than scripting the whole thing word for word. Or you can memorize your talk, which entails rehearsing it to the point where you internalize every word—verbatim.

My advice: Don’t read it, and don’t use a teleprompter. It’s usually just too distancing—people will know you’re reading. And as soon as they sense it, the way they receive your talk will shift. Suddenly your intimate connection evaporates, and everything feels a lot more formal. We generally outlaw reading approaches of any kind at TED, though we made an exception a few years ago for a man who insisted on using a monitor. We set up a screen at the back of the auditorium, in the hope that the audience wouldn’t notice it. At first he spoke naturally. But soon he stiffened up, and you could see this horrible sinking feeling pass through the audience as people realized, “Oh, no, he’s reading to us!” The words were great, but the talk got poor ratings.

Many of our best and most popular TED Talks have been memorized word for word. If you’re giving an important talk and you have the time to do this, it’s the best way to go. But don’t underestimate the work involved. One of our most memorable speakers was Jill Bolte Taylor , a brain researcher who had suffered a stroke. She talked about what she learned during the eight years it took her to recover. After crafting her story and undertaking many hours of solo practice, she rehearsed her talk dozens of times in front of an audience to be sure she had it down.

Obviously, not every presentation is worth that kind of investment of time. But if you do decide to memorize your talk, be aware that there’s a predictable arc to the learning curve. Most people go through what I call the “valley of awkwardness,” where they haven’t quite memorized the talk. If they give the talk while stuck in that valley, the audience will sense it. Their words will sound recited, or there will be painful moments where they stare into the middle distance, or cast their eyes upward, as they struggle to remember their lines. This creates distance between the speaker and the audience .

Getting past this point is simple, fortunately. It’s just a matter of rehearsing enough times that the flow of words becomes second nature. Then you can focus on delivering the talk with meaning and authenticity. Don’t worry—you’ll get there.

But if you don’t have time to learn a speech thoroughly and get past that awkward valley, don’t try. Go with bullet points on note cards. As long as you know what you want to say for each one, you’ll be fine. Focus on remembering the transitions from one bullet point to the next.

Also pay attention to your tone. Some speakers may want to come across as authoritative or wise or powerful or passionate, but it’s usually much better to just sound conversational. Don’t force it. Don’t orate. Just be you.

If a successful talk is a journey, make sure you don’t start to annoy your travel companions along the way. Some speakers project too much ego. They sound condescending or full of themselves, and the audience shuts down. Don’t let that happen.

Develop Stage Presence

For inexperienced speakers, the physical act of being onstage can be the most difficult part of giving a presentation—but people tend to overestimate its importance. Getting the words, story, and substance right is a much bigger determinant of success or failure than how you stand or whether you’re visibly nervous. And when it comes to stage presence, a little coaching can go a long way.

The biggest mistake we see in early rehearsals is that people move their bodies too much. They sway from side to side, or shift their weight from one leg to the other. People do this naturally when they’re nervous, but it’s distracting and makes the speaker seem weak. Simply getting a person to keep his or her lower body motionless can dramatically improve stage presence. There are some people who are able to walk around a stage during a presentation, and that’s fine if it comes naturally. But the vast majority are better off standing still and relying on hand gestures for emphasis.

How to Pitch a Brilliant Idea

Perhaps the most important physical act onstage is making eye contact. Find five or six friendly-looking people in different parts of the audience and look them in the eye as you speak. Think of them as friends you haven’t seen in a year, whom you’re bringing up to date on your work. That eye contact is incredibly powerful, and it will do more than anything else to help your talk land. Even if you don’t have time to prepare fully and have to read from a script, looking up and making eye contact will make a huge difference.

Another big hurdle for inexperienced speakers is nervousness—both in advance of the talk and while they’re onstage. People deal with this in different ways. Many speakers stay out in the audience until the moment they go on; this can work well, because keeping your mind engaged in the earlier speakers can distract you and limit nervousness. Amy Cuddy, a Harvard Business School professor who studies how certain body poses can affect power, utilized one of the more unusual preparation techniques I’ve seen. She recommends that people spend time before a talk striding around, standing tall, and extending their bodies; these poses make you feel more powerful. It’s what she did before going onstage, and she delivered a phenomenal talk. But I think the single best advice is simply to breathe deeply before you go onstage. It works.

Nerves are not a disaster. The audience expects you to be nervous.

In general, people worry too much about nervousness. Nerves are not a disaster. The audience expects you to be nervous. It’s a natural body response that can actually improve your performance: It gives you energy to perform and keeps your mind sharp. Just keep breathing, and you’ll be fine.

Acknowledging nervousness can also create engagement. Showing your vulnerability, whether through nerves or tone of voice, is one of the most powerful ways to win over an audience, provided it is authentic. Susan Cain , who wrote a book about introverts and spoke at our 2012 conference, was terrified about giving her talk. You could feel her fragility onstage, and it created this dynamic where the audience was rooting for her—everybody wanted to hug her afterward. The fact that we knew she was fighting to keep herself up there made it beautiful, and it was the most popular talk that year.

Plan the Multimedia

With so much technology at our disposal, it may feel almost mandatory to use, at a minimum, presentation slides. By now most people have heard the advice about PowerPoint: Keep it simple; don’t use a slide deck as a substitute for notes (by, say, listing the bullet points you’ll discuss—those are best put on note cards); and don’t repeat out loud words that are on the slide. Not only is reciting slides a variation of the teleprompter problem—“Oh, no, she’s reading to us, too!”—but information is interesting only once, and hearing and seeing the same words feels repetitive. That advice may seem universal by now, but go into any company and you’ll see presenters violating it every day.

Many of the best TED speakers don’t use slides at all, and many talks don’t require them. If you have photographs or illustrations that make the topic come alive, then yes, show them. If not, consider doing without, at least for some parts of the presentation. And if you’re going to use slides, it’s worth exploring alternatives to PowerPoint. For instance, TED has invested in the company Prezi, which makes presentation software that offers a camera’s-eye view of a two-dimensional landscape. Instead of a flat sequence of images, you can move around the landscape and zoom in to it if need be. Used properly, such techniques can dramatically boost the visual punch of a talk and enhance its meaning.

Artists, architects, photographers, and designers have the best opportunity to use visuals. Slides can help frame and pace a talk and help speakers avoid getting lost in jargon or overly intellectual language. (Art can be hard to talk about—better to experience it visually.) I’ve seen great presentations in which the artist or designer put slides on an automatic timer so that the image changed every 15 seconds. I’ve also seen presenters give a talk accompanied by video, speaking along to it. That can help sustain momentum. The industrial designer Ross Lovegrove’s highly visual TED Talk , for instance, used this technique to bring the audience along on a remarkable creative journey .

Another approach creative types might consider is to build silence into their talks, and just let the work speak for itself. The kinetic sculptor Reuben Margolin used that approach to powerful effect. The idea is not to think “I’m giving a talk.” Instead, think “I want to give this audience a powerful experience of my work.” The single worst thing artists and architects can do is to retreat into abstract or conceptual language.

Video has obvious uses for many speakers. In a TED Talk about the intelligence of crows, for instance, the scientist showed a clip of a crow bending a hook to fish a piece of food out of a tube—essentially creating a tool. It illustrated his point far better than anything he could have said.

Used well, video can be very effective, but there are common mistakes that should be avoided. A clip needs to be short—if it’s more than 60 seconds, you risk losing people. Don’t use videos—particularly corporate ones—that sound self-promotional or like infomercials; people are conditioned to tune those out. Anything with a soundtrack can be dangerously off-putting. And whatever you do, don’t show a clip of yourself being interviewed on, say, CNN. I’ve seen speakers do this, and it’s a really bad idea—no one wants to go along with you on your ego trip. The people in your audience are already listening to you live; why would they want to simultaneously watch your talking-head clip on a screen?

Putting It Together

We start helping speakers prepare their talks six months (or more) in advance so that they’ll have plenty of time to practice. We want people’s talks to be in final form at least a month before the event. The more practice they can do in the final weeks, the better off they’ll be. Ideally, they’ll practice the talk on their own and in front of an audience.

The tricky part about rehearsing a presentation in front of other people is that they will feel obligated to offer feedback and constructive criticism. Often the feedback from different people will vary or directly conflict. This can be confusing or even paralyzing, which is why it’s important to be choosy about the people you use as a test audience, and whom you invite to offer feedback. In general, the more experience a person has as a presenter, the better the criticism he or she can offer.

I learned many of these lessons myself in 2011. My colleague Bruno Giussani, who curates our TEDGlobal event, pointed out that although I’d worked at TED for nine years, served as the emcee at our conferences, and introduced many of the speakers, I’d never actually given a TED Talk myself. So he invited me to give one, and I accepted.

It was more stressful than I’d expected. Even though I spend time helping others frame their stories, framing my own in a way that felt compelling was difficult. I decided to memorize my presentation, which was about how web video powers global innovation, and that was really hard: Even though I was putting in a lot of hours, and getting sound advice from my colleagues, I definitely hit a point where I didn’t quite have it down and began to doubt I ever would. I really thought I might bomb. I was nervous right up until the moment I took the stage. But it ended up going fine. It’s definitely not one of the all-time great TED Talks, but it got a positive reaction—and I survived the stress of going through it.

10 Ways to Ruin a Presentation

As hard as it may be to give a great talk, it’s really easy to blow it. Here are some common mistakes that TED advises its speakers to avoid.

  • Take a really long time to explain what your talk is about.
  • Speak slowly and dramatically. Why talk when you can orate?
  • Make sure you subtly let everyone know how important you are.
  • Refer to your book repeatedly. Even better, quote yourself from it.
  • Cram your slides with numerous text bullet points and multiple fonts.
  • Use lots of unexplained technical jargon to make yourself sound smart.
  • Speak at great length about the history of your organization and its glorious achievements.
  • Don’t bother rehearsing to check how long your talk is running.
  • Sound as if you’re reciting your talk from memory.
  • Never, ever make eye contact with anyone in the audience.

Ultimately I learned firsthand what our speakers have been discovering for three decades: Presentations rise or fall on the quality of the idea, the narrative, and the passion of the speaker. It’s about substance, not speaking style or multimedia pyrotechnics. It’s fairly easy to “coach out” the problems in a talk, but there’s no way to “coach in” the basic story—the presenter has to have the raw material. If you have something to say, you can build a great talk. But if the central theme isn’t there, you’re better off not speaking. Decline the invitation. Go back to work, and wait until you have a compelling idea that’s really worth sharing.

The single most important thing to remember is that there is no one good way to do a talk . The most memorable talks offer something fresh, something no one has seen before. The worst ones are those that feel formulaic. So do not on any account try to emulate every piece of advice I’ve offered here. Take the bulk of it on board, sure. But make the talk your own. You know what’s distinctive about you and your idea. Play to your strengths and give a talk that is truly authentic to you.

  • CA Chris Anderson is the curator of TED.

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AZ Business Magazine

6 tips on how to use TED Talk presentation techniques

The best  public speakers  are storytellers. Just look at the popularity of  TED Talks. However, while your workplace presentations might not become a TED Talk yet, here’s how yours can have the same impact by moving from speaking to the mind to capturing the heart.

Diane DiResta , author of “ Knockout Presentations ,” offers the following six tips on how to use the same presentation techniques that TED Talk speakers excel at:

presentation techniques ted talk

1. Grab attention with a hook.  In childhood, the hook was  Once Upon a Time.  For adult audiences, open with a problem or a desired dream. You’ll know you have it when you see the audience nodding.

2. Engage all the senses.  Build a scenario that is visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. That means they can picture you in a scene, they can hear what you would hear and they can feel what it was like for you. When I tell the story of first meeting Charlie, I describe his limp, jellyfish handshake. It was like shaking hands with a squid. As I describe that handshake, I can see the audience grimace. Sometimes I hear groans. That’s because the audience is experiencing that weak handshake viscerally with me.

3. Create conflict.  Most movies and stories follow a pattern. In its simplest form, it would be Boy Gets Girl, Boy Loses Girl, Boy Gets Girl Back. Without the tension of conflict, the story falls flat. Take your listeners on a journey from high to low to high.

4. Break the pattern.  The audience will expect a logical, linear flow which means they will tune out because the pattern is predictable. So use a “pattern interrupt” to shock them out of complacency. Think of a movie that has an unexpected twist at the end. When I finish telling the story of meeting Charlie and his limp handshake, I add that when I told this story to an audience of 100, a man in the audience raised his hand and said… At that moment I hear gasps because the audience expects that it’s Charlie in the audience. I then finish by saying, “He pointed to the person next to him and said, “This woman wants to know if you still have Charlie’s phone number.” It gets a laugh. They weren’t expecting that twist. 

5. Use analogies and metaphors.  Rock star, Bruce Springsteen, wrote a line in his song   I’m on Fire  that goes..

“At night I wake up in the middle of the night with the sheets soaking wet with a freight train running through the middle of my head.”

That metaphor of a freight train is a vivid description of a hangover or headache. He could have said:

“I woke up at night sweaty with a bad headache.” Which is more powerful? Which do you feel?

6. Get Personal.  Nothing is more compelling than telling YOUR story. A good actor can tell someone else’s story as if it were her own, but most of us don’t have that skill level. There is an element of vulnerability when telling a story. The audience will connect with a public speaker faster and more intently when that presenter reveals herself. Take your audience on your journey. By sharing your flaws and mistakes you become more relatable and authentic. Then bring them with you on your path to success.

Talk facts and the audience may nod. Tell a story and they’ll stand and cheer. And that’s the power of story to connect heart and mind to make impact!

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The next time you’re preparing to speak to a group, remember to keep your audience at the center of your communication, says Briar Goldberg, the director of speaker coaching at TED. One way to do this is to ask yourself: “What gift are you giving to your audience?”

TED recently partnered with Marriott Hotels to offer a special day-long seminar on public speaking for Marriott Bonvoy members. Briar Goldberg — TED’s director of speaker coaching who has helped prepare hundreds of people for the TED stage — gave them tips and tools to be better communicators in their own lives.

Below, she takes a deeper dive into one aspect of public speaking that many of us overlook when drafting our speeches and presentations: our audience.

Let’s be honest, there’s no shortage of public speaking advice out there. There are countless books, blog posts and YouTube videos offering you instructions on how to tell engaging stories, make eye contact, use hand gestures, and more. I think that’s great, although I’ll admit I’m biased. I’ve spent my career teaching public speaking and coaching executives, and since 2015, I’ve been working with TED speakers. I truly believe that everyone benefits when we communicate more effectively.

But even with so much advice available, I still see one big communication mistake made all of the time. It’s this: Most people communicate in the wrong direction .

What is the wrong direction? Too many of us write our scripts, build our decks, or compile our talking points before we think about our audience and what they need or expect to get out of our communication. This has serious consequences. When your audience doesn’t feel like your words apply to them, when they don’t understand what you’re trying to say, or, worse yet, they don’t care about your ideas, then your carefully-crafted slides, agenda or jokes simply don’t matter.

My earliest mentor in this work, Jim Wagstaffe always tells speakers to practice their ABCs: Audience Before Content. I love that acronym so much because it captures the essence of what communication is really all about — it’s not about you, the speaker; it’s always about your audience. Your audience’s needs should always be your central focus.

At TED, when we’re helping speakers prepare their talks, we ask them to identify the “gift” they’re giving the audience. In my opinion, this is what every communicator should be asking themselves before any kind of communication — whether it’s a keynote or a TED Talk or something smaller like a pitch to your boss or a statement at a community meeting. What gift are you giving the audience?

The good news is, understanding how to put your audience at the center of your communication isn’t rocket science. And when you do it correctly, I can almost guarantee that your next speech, presentation or meeting will be a success.

What does it really mean to know your audience?

You’ve probably heard the phrase “know your audience.” I’ve even seen lists floating around that offer a series of questions designed to help you do this, with queries such as: “What’s the gender breakdown of your audience?” “Are they executives or middle-managers?” “Where are they from?”

While demographic information like this is important — for example, you should probably rethink a joke about swiping right if the average age of your audience is 76 — the kind of knowledge I’m talking about goes much deeper. It goes beyond the superficial to zoom in on these two key things: “What are my audience’s goals?” and “How do they make decisions?”

How to really understand your audience’s goals

This means you’ll need to ask a different set of questions — ones that get at your audience’s needs and expectations. These include:

“Why are these people taking time out of their busy schedules to listen to me speak?”

“What do they hope (or need) to gain from this presentation/speech/address/meeting?”

“What are their expectations coming in?”

“What can I say in order to meet or exceed those expectations?”

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can craft a communication that is tailored to your audience; when you do, your audience is more likely to stay focused, remember what you said, pass on the information you shared, and remember you as a good speaker.

But what happens if your goals as a speaker don’t align with the audience’s goals?

As a communicator, you will have your own goals. Perhaps you’re an executive and you have an important message that you need the rest of the company to hear. Maybe you’ve designed a new product that you want your customers to get excited about. Getting clear on your own communication goals is important because then you can evaluate if your goals line up with your audience’s goals. If they do, that’s great — and you can start crafting your communication.

But sometimes they won’t. When this happens, it’s your job to figure out how to close the gap and persuade the audience that your goals can — and should — be their goals, too. I’m not talking about manipulation or asking you to trick people into thinking something different. What I am advocating is that you work to understand your audience well enough to know how they make decisions and what kind of information they need to have to be persuaded of their own accord.

One of the most persuasive TED Talks this year was delivered by sleep expert Matt Walker . Everyone has different goals when they decide to watch a talk about sleep. But Matt was clear on his goal: to convince people to prioritize sleep above all else. To get the audience on his side, he had to persuade them that getting enough sleep is the single most important thing they could do with our time.

Understand how your audience makes decisions

You can’t effectively persuade anyone unless you know what kind of information they need to make a decision. Think about it this way: If a salesperson was trying to sell you a new computer, you wouldn’t decide to buy it until they told you the price. With your audience, you can’t expect to influence them until you provide them with the information they need to decide if they want to change their minds.

But every audience is different. How do you know what kind of information you need to offer in order to sway them? There are entire bodies of research that cover audience persuasion strategies. But let me offer a simple framework to get you started.

In general, audiences can be broken down into three types: expert, novice and mixed. An expert audience understands your topic and they might already know you, the speaker. If you’re a real-estate broker addressing an annual meeting of the nation’s realtors, you’re speaking to an expert audience. A novice audience doesn’t know much about the topic and doesn’t know anything about you. An example of this would be a real-estate broker speaking at an open-house for community residents interested in buying a first home. But more often than not, your audience will be a mix of experts, novices and everyone in-between. The large, international TED audience is a perfect example of a mixed audience.

When you’re speaking to an expert audience: Use logical/quantitative arguments to persuade them.

In general, expert audiences are more likely to be persuaded by logical arguments and quantitative information. If you’re a real-estate broker trying to convince your expert audience to invest in a new kind of property, you’re more likely to be successful if your presentation is built around data and statistics that support this plan.

When you’re speaking to a novice audience: Lean into your own credibility.

Because a novice audience doesn’t know much about you or your topic, they tend to make decisions based on your credibility and the credibility of your sources. Therefore, it can be important to build up your reputation and credentials so they’ll trust what you’re saying and follow your recommendations.

When I’m giving a lecture on public speaking to a group who doesn’t know me, I always mention the universities I’ve taught at and some of the names of executives I’ve coached. This isn’t to brag — and let me be clear, you’ll need to use your judgement to figure out how much information to give so it doesn’t sound like you’re bragging — but it’s a quick way for me to get my audience to accept that I’m a solid source of communication advice and that they should listen to me. In some cases, I’ll tell my audience where a particular piece of information in my lecture came from. By saying “Harvard published this study last year…” I’m referencing a respected source, which reinforces my credibility as a speaker.

When you’re speaking to a mixed audience: Appeal to their emotions.

Emotional appeals can be very persuasive, especially when you’re speaking to a mixed audience. After all, everyone has made a decision based on their emotions at one point or another in their lives. Last year, TED speaker Nora McInerny shared her own experience with death to teach us about moving forward with grief. It was an A+ example of an emotional appeal.

OK great, but how do I find out all this information about my audience?

Well, that’s part of the fun. OK, maybe it’s not always fun but it is your responsibility to take a deep dive into your audience, their needs, and their motivations and — trust me — this work will pay off ten-fold. If you’re speaking at an official conference or meeting, I recommend starting with the person or organization who asked you to speak. What can they tell you about the audience? Are they willing to share any of registration information? How did they market the event? If you’re speaking on an earnings call, what about the analysts who follow your company — have you ever asked them what they need or want? If you’re speaking at your company’s town hall, can you talk to your team and find out what they expect to hear from you? If you’re speaking at an event in another country, can you find a translator or local who can help you better understand the expectations of that audience?

The information is out there — you just need to find and use it. You’ll know when you’ve done it right, because your audience will stay engaged and, when you’re done speaking, they’ll help pass your message along.

This post is part of TED’s “How to Be a Better Human” series, each of which contains a piece of helpful advice from someone in the TED community; browse through all the posts here.

About the author

Briar Goldberg is the Director of Speaker Coaching at TED.

  • briar goldberg
  • business advice
  • communication
  • public speaking

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Moxie Institute

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How To Write A TED Talk

DISCLAIMER : TED and TEDx is a registered trademark of TED Conferences, LLC. TED Talk-Style Training and private coaching are programs of Moxie Institute and are not endorsed by, affiliated with, connected to, or sponsored by TED Conferences, LLC. or any of its affiliated entities.

Presenting on a TED stage is a pinnacle in public speaking. It has a significant impact on your career by positioning you as a thought leader in your field.

We’ve coached TEDx speakers for numerous TEDx events helping them take their idea and bring it to life—that’s what we want to share with you here.

Knowing how to write a TED Talk—or the style of one—will give you the confidence you need to go on stage and deliver an impressive performance.

Preparation is the key to success, as we are going to help you be ready for that step.

Our team at Moxie are pros at writing exceptional speeches . Here are the steps we have used to successfully write many compelling TEDx Talks that we’ll cover below:

  • Choose the main topic for your talk
  • Craft a clear and concise message around your topic
  • Find the story in your topic
  • Tailor your visual aids to your audience, story, and brand

Ready to write you own unforgettable talk? Read on!

Table of Contents

Choose The Main Topic For Your Talk

Give yourself an edge by choosing something you know well and are deeply interested in. When you draw from your personal experience, you will feel more confident, and it will be much easier for you to connect with your audience.

As you explore ideas for your topic, TED recommends you ask yourself three questions about the topic you choose;

  • Is my idea new?
  • Is it interesting?
  • Is it factual and realistic?

Ideally, you want to answer each one of those questions with a resounding “Yes!”. There is always a topic worth exploring if you put your creative mind to it. Even during lockdowns when in-person speaking came to a halt, resilient speakers found topics to share. See Moxie’s top 10 TED Talks for inspiration if you are having difficulty coming up with your topic.

Craft A Clear And Concise Message Around Your Topic

A TED Talk is limited to 18 minutes . During that short period of time, your message needs to be articulated so that you convey it succinctly and effectively. Here is how you can do this using clarity and concision.

Your audience needs to understand your message with minimum effort.

The first thing to do is prepare your talk without using complex terms and industry jargon that may be familiar to you but not to your audience.

Remember, your talk will likely be posted online for others to watch so it’s not just the audience on the day you need to think about.

Tailor your message so that everyone can grasp the meaning of your talk by using language that is simple to understand.

To do this, write out a section of your talk and ask yourself the following:

  • Would my family understand this if I said it at dinner?
  • Would someone I just met on the street get what I’m saying?

Clear and to the point is the object of concision.

As a speaker, you want to strive to use as few words as possible while still conveying the information you want your audience to know.

This is why it’s important you have familiarity with your subject because it will be easier for you to find shortcuts to get your message across.

Choose your words and structure your sentences with care and precision. By making your communication crisp and straightforward, you elevate your position as one with authority on the subject matter.

For concision, ask yourself:

  • What’s an easier way of saying this?
  • Is there a simple analogy or metaphor I could use instead?
  • What could I cut out without losing any meaning?

Find The Story In Your Topic

Fact, figures, ideas, and principles are informative and practical but not necessarily memorable.

Stories, on the other hand, can make your talk unforgettable.

They stir up emotions, engage audiences, and help them empathize with you. They are the bridge between your research and your audience.

The story doesn’t have to be about how you changed the world either, but perhaps how one or a few people’s lives were transformed meaningfully.

The majority of us have the limiting belief that our story is ordinary and boring. But if you dig deep you will find a “hero’s journey” story you can polish and use in your topic.

Here are some ideas we use at Moxie to find the best and most amazing stories for the stage.

We use story types and story archetypes and fuse them together to make the story burst with colorful anecdotes and memorable facts wrapped in a beautiful narrative. Here is what we mean.

First, we choose from four tested and proven story types:

  • The Story of Me Talk about your own journey. Think of household names who have used this story type, like Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney, and Henry Ford.
  • Amazon started by just selling books online and have evolved to impact the world in so many aspects.
  • Airbnb and how the founder changed hospitality by trying to solve his own problem when he could not find accommodations.
  • Netflix, two guys have changed entertainment by starting out sending CDs through the mail.
  • The Story of an Idea Talk about an idea that changed something—a product or service that changes lives. Things that come to mind here: flight, electricity, industrialization.
  • Why These Results Talk about the reasons something is important and significant. Think climate change, human rights, global diseases, etc.

The story type is then incorporated into one of several story archetypes. The following are the most adaptable and will work with many situations:

  • Coming of Age Character growing up and becoming an individual.
  • Hero’s Journey Overcoming a hurdle or obstacle. Being faced with a problem that must be overcome, against all odds they prevail.
  • Constant Evolution or Rebirth The character ever adapting, evolving to handle whatever life throws your way.
  • True as it Ever Was The character keeps true to their values regardless of time and external forces.
  • Quest or Journey The character searches for something or someone while facing challenges they must overcome and eventually triumph.

Tailor Your Visual Aids To Your Audience, Story, And Brand

Visuals are a fundamental part of preparing your talk. They are also your most important asset to convey meaning and highlight your most important points to your audience.

Preparing your visual aids to be relevant to the people you are presenting to, the narrative of your topic, and your brand is a lot to balance. Nonetheless, achievable with the right tools and strategies.

Here is what we recommend:

Audience And Visuals

In a TED Talk, your audience will be fairly broad in terms of demographics, social and economic factors. Choose visuals that have a wide appeal.

Here are some examples:

  • If a scientist talking about their latest research showed a close-up of a really cool microbe they discovered, it will be meaningless to most people. But a visual of the results or benefits of that discovery will add impact to what they’re saying.
  • Someone presenting on the impact of a pandemic on sales in different countries. Using colorful charts and graphs will make it considerably easier to remember the information than using numbers only.

Story And Visuals

The best way to drive a story into the audience’s mind is through memorable visual aids . Use the right images, fonts, and colors to appeal to your audience’s emotions.

(Check out our Presentation Design Ultimate Guide for in-depth tips and techniques!)

How? And how do you do this? What’s the “right” image? How do you know a font is right? How do colors affect emotions?

For example:

  • If a journalist talking about the effects of a regime change in a country showed general images of the situation, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as impactful than if they showed images directly related to what they were talking about in each moment.
  • One more example

Brand And Visuals

Representing your brand is not necessarily about showing off your company logo. After all, one of the cardinal rules of TED is “No selling from the stage.”

What we are referring to is the “brand of YOU.“ You have a persona that is made up of several elements:

  • Personality
  • Choice of clothes
  • Possessions

All these elements of you have a cohesive theme. The visuals of your talk should also reflect who you are and what’s important to you.

Said another way, your audience will make assumptions about you based on how your visually present yourself and how your presentation looks.

If you saw a presenter with dirty clothes and unkept hair with messy slides full of bad animations and lame clip art images, would you think they were credible and listen to them?

Your Big Idea Deserves To Be Heard—Invest In It!

You will spend a lot of time writing your TED Talk, and you should. The content and structure must be… well, worthy of a TED Talk! Once you use our tips to write your TED Talk you’ll be ready to begin the next most important step—practice and preparation!

If you want expert guidance to give a life-changing performance then you may be interested in our Give A TED Style Talk coaching , training , or public live online class . Of course, if you want to guarantee your success, our professional speaker service will write, design, and coach you through an entire speech!

Whatever you do, if you write with passion and authenticity you’ll create a speech that is sure to inspire others!


Schedule an easy 30-minute call using our using our calendar. We’re here to help!


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This is what happens when you hit the gas

Talk details, meet the educator, about ted-ed.


  1. How To Write A TED Talk In 7 Quick And Easy Steps

    presentation techniques ted talk

  2. How to build a TED Talk-worthy presentation

    presentation techniques ted talk

  3. 6 tips on how to use TED Talk presentation techniques

    presentation techniques ted talk

  4. How To Improve Presentation Skills?

    presentation techniques ted talk

  5. How to build a TED Talk-worthy presentation

    presentation techniques ted talk

  6. TED Talks: Power Points

    presentation techniques ted talk



  2. Ted Talk

  3. Top 3 TED talks for English improvement.

  4. tedtalk project

  5. 2021 Ted Talk- Educational System

  6. Insider Tips for Nailing a TED Talk!


  1. How to make a great presentation

    How to make a great presentation Stressed about an upcoming presentation? These talks are full of helpful tips on how to get up in front of an audience and make a lasting impression. Watch now Add to list 18:00 Nancy Duarte The secret structure of great talks

  2. The 3 Magic Ingredients of Amazing Presentations

    Why are most presentations so boring and ineffective? And why are TED talks the exceptions that prove the rule? Over the last ten years, as a specialist in h...

  3. 7 TED Talks on how to improve your presentations

    7 TED Talks on how to improve your presentations Apply these presentation tips from skilled speakers to elevate your next appearance - on stage or inside your organization By Stephanie Overby September 18, 2018 | 3 min read 833 readers like this.

  4. 10 tips for speaking like a Ted Talk pro

    1. Know your audience. Keep in mind whom you are going to be addressing when you craft your presentation, says Robert Sternberg, PhD, a former APA president who is a professor of human development at Cornell University. Is the audience going to be mainly fellow psychologists, health professionals, other professional groups, students or consumers?

  5. Master TED Talk Presentations

    August 08, 2023 TED Talks have become synonymous with captivating storytelling, inspiring ideas, and thought-provoking presentations. Delivering a successful TED Talk requires more than just having great content; it demands excellent presentation skills and a well-designed presentation.

  6. Public speaking

    How to make a great presentation Stressed about an upcoming presentation? These talks are full of helpful tips on how to get up in front of an audience and make a lasting impression. Talks about Public speaking 13:53 Karen Eber How your brain responds to stories -- and why they're crucial for leaders 15:04 Graham Shaw

  7. TED: Oh no

    David JP Phillips has spent 7 years studying 5000 speakers, amateurs and professionals in order for the first time in history to detail every single skill a communicator from stage or in a presentation uses in order to deliver their message. This TEDx talk gives you the very most important ones to bring with you to your next presentation or even everyday communication!

  8. How to do a Ted Talks Presentation? 8 Tips to Make Your Presentation

    1. Use Personal Stories to Make your Audience-Related The fastest way to spur an emotional response from the audience in TED Talks Presentation is to tell a story of your own experience. The essence of a story is its ability to invoke emotions and interaction from the listeners.

  9. How to build a TED Talk-worthy presentation

    Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED TED Talks. People listen. ‍ TED is a nonprofit with a mission to "spread ideas." It began as a one-off conference (on technology, entertainment and design) in 1984—eventually evolving to a point where it launched an audio and podcast series called TED Talks.. From the history page on their site: "The first six TED Talks were posted online on June 27 ...

  10. Presentation

    Presentation A collection of TED Talks (and more) on the topic of Presentation. Talks about Presentation 05:14 Lorenzo García-Amaya Why do we, like, hesitate when we, um, speak? 13:53 Karen Eber How your brain responds to stories -- and why they're crucial for leaders 05:47 Tommy McCall The simple genius of a good graphic 04:03

  11. How to Present Like a TED Talk Pro

    9 minutes - Three key points/stories developed (three minutes each) 3 minutes - Close and call to action. 4. Use simple slides to support your message. As you develop slides, consider using only a few slides to keep the attention on you and your talk. Also, consider using images, rather than words and numbers, to support your talk.

  12. Ted Talks Presentation Skills

    Thankfully, TED Talks presentations offer a great deal of insight, with tips we can use at work every day. Here are some ideas that you can use. Before listing some of the most-loved presentation tips from TED Talks, keep in mind that the best way to learn is to actually watch what people do in the series.

  13. 10 tips for better slide decks

    . Create a consistent look and feel. In a good slide deck, each slide feels like part of the same story. That means using the same or related typography, colors and imagery across all your slides. Using pre-built master slides can be a good way to do that, but it can feel restrictive and lead to me-too decks.

  14. 6 dos and don'ts for next-level slides, from a TED presentation expert

    iStock Want to prevent yawns and glazed-over eyes? Before you deliver your next speech, pitch or address, learn how to create exceptional slides by following these rules (with real before-and-afters). Slides are an expected and crucial part of most speeches, presentations, pitches and addresses.

  15. The #1 rule for improving your presentation slides

    The best way to make sure the attention stays on you is to limit word count to no more than 10 words per slide. As presentation expert Nancy Duarte says "any slide with more than 10 words is a document.". If you really do need a longer explanation of something, handouts or follow-up emails are the way to go.

  16. How to Give a Killer Presentation

    Plan the multimedia (whatever you do, don't read from PowerPoint slides). Put it together (play to your strengths and be authentic). According to Anderson, presentations rise or fall on the...

  17. 6 tips on how to use TED Talk presentation techniques

    1. Grab attention with a hook. In childhood, the hook was Once Upon a Time. For adult audiences, open with a problem or a desired dream. You'll know you have it when you see the audience nodding....

  18. prepare slides

    You can't always be sure what type of presentation screen you'll be dealing with. (And changes often happen at the last minute!) Build slides that will work in any of the following dimensions: Widescreen HD (16:9 aspect ratio): 1920x1080 (hi res) Widescreen HD (16:9 aspect ratio): 1280x720 (low res)

  19. Before your next presentation or speech, here's the first thing you

    Priya Mistry The next time you're preparing to speak to a group, remember to keep your audience at the center of your communication, says Briar Goldberg, the director of speaker coaching at TED. One way to do this is to ask yourself: "What gift are you giving to your audience?"

  20. How To Write A TED Talk

    Preparation is the key to success, as we are going to help you be ready for that step. Our team at Moxie are pros at writing exceptional speeches. Here are the steps we have used to successfully write many compelling TEDx Talks that we'll cover below: Choose the main topic for your talk. Craft a clear and concise message around your topic.

  21. How to Start a Presentation: 12 Ways to Keep Your Audience Hooked

    How to Start a Presentation Knowing how to start a presentation is just as crucial as the message you're trying to convey. If you can't start it effectively, you might not be able to leave a strong enough impact by the end of it. TED speakers are some of the best presenters in the world, and there's a lot you can learn from their talks.

  22. Bob Wiltfong: How to take the BS out of business speak

    At its worst, "business speak" -- or the particular language we use at work -- can be jargony, confusing and even exclusionary. But it doesn't have to be, says journalist and comedian Bob Wiltfong. Showcasing a smattering of corporate acronyms and phrases that don't make much sense without context (think: "OKRs" and "when pigs fly"), he gives three tips on how to cut the BS out of business ...

  23. 6 Tips for Fascinating Presentation

    Grasp the concept of these 6 tips from the TED TALKS book to produce fascinating presentation slides.

  24. Presentation Skills: 7 Presentation Structures Used by the Best TED Talks

    Delivering a great presentation sounds like a daunting task - but really, it's all about how you structure it. Learning these presentation skills and structu...

  25. This is what happens when you hit the gas

    In 2015, two men drove a Volkswagen across the US on just over 100 gallons of fuel. Their 81-mile-per-gallon performance doubled the car's estimated fuel rating, and set the record for the lowest fuel consumption ride of a diesel car. The duo were experts in techniques that maximize fuel efficiency. So, how did their strategy save fuel? Shannon Odell explores what's going on beneath a car's hood.