TED Talks And The Art Of Public Speaking

TED Talks And The Art Of Public Speaking

The year 2006 gave way to an entirely new form of public speaking that changed the way presentations would be given from then on. The TED conference was born giving way to TED Talks. These 18 minute talks showcased advanced presentation skills that were professionally presented by renowned figures from numerous fields of expertise on a given subject or theme of interest. TED talks were popular purely because of their simplicity and clarity, not to mention its appeal to a severely attention starved culture. TED talks are translated into over 90 different languages and are used around the world for numerous purposes.
These talks are now considered to be the gold standard in presentation skills and public speaking and chances are that most modern speeches and presentation are judged against the standard of a TED talk.

So what is it that makes these presentations so effective? Actually, what is it that makes any presentation good at all? Is it purely about the methodical transmission of information or is there some magical artistry that evokes your imagination? In this article we will look at some key aspects to enhance your public speaking through good presentation skills:

    Tangible Conviction

The truth of the matter is, you DO judge a book by its cover. As a public speaker, if one saunters on to the stage and mumbles a rehearsed lecture from their notes with no discernible enthusiasm, it doesn’t make for a convincing speech. Audiences need to see that the presenter believes in the content he is delivering himself and not just trying to sell it to them. Conviction is the key here and it is all in the verbal presentation but also in the body language. There is no limit for presentation techniques but sometimes keeping it simple, such as open body posture, eye contact and a smile can be just as persuasive as any theatrical gimmick that one may put on to convince the audience.

    Story Telling

Stories have been around since the beginning of time simply because all people love stories and these, even in some parts of the world today, are still considered excellent mediums for the conveying of truths, values and warnings. An engaging anecdote, a personal experience or a dramatic illustration can go a long ways in grasping your audience’s attention. Some people even go as far as making up fictitious stories for this sake! Stories can engage a person’s mind and heart without cumbering them down with hard facts, figures and statistics.

    Images instead of text

The human mind for the most part thinks in images not text. So whether you’re using a blackboard or PowerPoint, make sure your data is represented using graphs, bars and charts instead of mere text and numbers. Visual cues like that have a much lasting impression than bullet points with tons of text. Neuroscientists tell us that the brain’s ability to recall an image is ten times more likely than remembering what a person said or the words that he or she used.

Presentation Skills Training is an important aspect of corporate training that enables employees to master the skills necessary to give a knock out presentation. For more information on this, please refer to the following article: Storytelling – A Powerful Presentation Tool

Presentation Training – A Key Component of Corporate Coaching

Presentation Training – A Key Component of Corporate Coaching

Having the skill to deliver good presentations is imperative to the role of a leader. But during our formative years we are hardly given any guidance on this skill and so giving a public presentation is most people’s nightmare. Presentation Training is a key component of our Corporate Coaching.

This blog is focused on 3 simple tips that can make your presentation impactful:

1. Appeal to the emotions of your audience:

“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Carl W. Buechner

A lot of business presentations are filled with facts but are devoid of feeling. A good way to bring in feelings would be to use a story that highlights the key points of the facts. Most importantly, the story and the facts need to answer the question, “What is in it for me?” Only if the audience sees the relevance to their life will they stay engaged.

“Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

The ability of a presentation to persuade and convert the thinking of the audience is what deems it great. Persuasion is not possible without tapping into the feelings of the audience. It is not only the vibrant green color of the grass but also the aroma of the crisp blades and the feel of the grass on your bare feet that makes you say that is fresh. Your senses are what determine your feelings and emotion is triggered by a feeling. So if your presentation does not appeal to the senses of your audience your impact will be compromised.

2. Prepare the presentation from the perspective of your audience:

A concerned mother decided to take her young son for advice to a swamiji as he was consuming large amounts of sugar everyday. When she informed the swamiji of the problem, he asked her to bring the son a week later. She consented even though she was puzzled. When she returned a week later, she asked the swamiji the reason for the week’s delay. Swamiji replied, “I was eating sugar and I could not authentically give advice unless I stopped and lived the experience. This past week I have not touched sugar and I feel ready to meet your son.”

Experience your presentation from the audience’s perspective. Ensure that the presentation answers the questions that could potentially arise in the minds of the participants. The captain of a cricket team arranges the field to where the batsmen could potentially hit.

3. Preparation is the key:

“It takes one hour of preparation for each minute of presentation time.” – Wayne Burgraff

The only way to overcome your nervousness and to enhance your confidence thus capturing the attention of your audience is to prepare. Somers White puts it aptly when he says, “90% of how well the talk will go is determined before the speaker steps on the platform.” The amount of preparation time predicates the outcome.

All this requires discipline and focus, which is the core component of our Business Coaching program.

Should Presentation Training be a Key Component of Coaching?

“When we are dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.” – Dale Carnegie

Executive Coaching is a privilege that only senior management of companies are privy to. Hence their ability to impact people is a key focus area of the coaching. Presentations are an everyday activity for these people and their ability to create an impact during these presentations are critical. Hence Presentation Training is a key focus during Executive Coaching.

During the Presentation Training the attention is on three areas: Preparation, Design and Delivery.  Of these three areas, the one that is deemed most important by MMM is Preparation.

“The commander must decide how he will fight the battle before it begins. He must then decide who he will use the military effort at his disposal to force the battle to swing the way he wishes it to go; he must make the enemy dance to his tune from the beginning and not vice versa.” – Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

The success of a presentation is purely dependent on the extent of the preparation. This includes understanding the audience, defining the objectives with the stakeholders, planning the duration, practicing the presentation in front of a mirror and observing ones body language, preparing for the uncertainties and most of all being passionate and knowledgeable about the subject. Hence these are our focus areas during the Executive Coaching.

The success experienced by our coaches has provoked us to include in our leadership programs for middle management also. The effectiveness of the presentations of senior management has raised the bar in the organization. This together with the global nature of multi national companies has impelled us to augment our focus on enhancing presentations.