Have you been to TED.com yet? If not, you should check it out. Why? There are probably several reasons, but I’d like to focus on the communications model that TED employs. Yes, over the years there have been some duds, but overall, the TED model works extremely well as you think about what creates a compelling presentation. Here are four tips that are certainly transferable to my world and yours.
TED talks are short. TED talks over the last few years range from 4 minutes to 18 minutes. I believe there is a misconception that great talks are getting shorter; history reveals that many of the most powerful talks have been short. The Gettysburg address was about 3 minutes in length; Dr. King’s, I Have a Dream, speech was just 16 minutes; and King Henry V’s rousing remarks before the battle of St. Crispian’s Day were only about 3 minutes, according to Shakespeare.
TED talks are delivered by experts. There’s something engaging when you listen to someone who knows their topic at a deep level. This is absolutely true at TED. One of the temptations some leaders face is to speak at every event they’re invited to. If you don’t have deep expertise on a topic, my advice is to be very careful. It’s not impossible to deliver a great presentation without deep knowledge, it’s just extremely difficult.
TED talks are delivered with passion. Passion is contagious. I’ve seen this over and over at TED – on a wide range of bizarre and esoteric topics. The audience, myself included, gets excited about a topic because of the passion of the presenter. Check your passion on your topic before your next presentation. If it’s not where it needs to be, maybe someone else should do the presentation.
TED talks employ great visuals. This is not an absolute truth. Some have no visuals, and some have lousy ones. However, I’ve seen over 700 TED talks live, and the most compelling almost always have great visuals. This is true in part because of my friend, Nancy Duarte. She coaches many of the presenters on how to enhance their message with high-impact visuals. How strong are the graphics, props, videos and other visuals accompanying your presentation? It can make a huge difference.
Most of the leaders in the world will never speak at TED. However, we will make hundreds, if not thousands, of presentations in our careers. Why not learn from some of the best communicators of our generation? See for yourself. Go to TED.com today.[GLS_Shield]