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Book:  Talk Like TED

Author:  Carmine Gallo

Purchase:  PrinteBook | Audiobook

Citation:  Gallo, C. (2014). Talk like TED : the 9 public speaking secrets of the world's top minds. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. Tell stories to reach people's hearts and minds. One speaker spent 65 percent of his presentation telling stories. Stories stimulate and engage the brain, helping the speaker connect with the audience and making it much more likely the audience will agree with the speaker's point of view. A powerpoint with bullet points activates the language-processing center of the brain, where we turn words into meaning. If you need to influence behavior, part of the solution to winning people over to your argument is to tell more stories. (pg. 44)

  2. The greatest business presentations I've ever seen have required hundreds of hours of work crafting the narrative and the story line. Practice in front of people or use a video camera. The video camera is the single best tool to improve your public speaking ability. If your goal is to deliver a memorable presentation that will leave your audience in awe, then you have to practice. During your practice sessions you must pay attention to how you sound and look. (pg. 78)

  3. We need to kill PowerPoint permanently. This needs to be the end of the design cluttered with text and bullet points. The average PowerPoint slide has 40 words. Scientists have produced evidence that concepts presented as pictures are more likely to be recalled. If you add a picture, your recall rate will soar to 65%. A picture will help you remember six times more information than listening to the words alone. I recommend no more than 40 words in the first 10 slides. This will force you to think creatively about telling a memorable and engaging story instead of filling the slide with needless text. Kill bullet points on most of your slides. Text and bullet points are the least memorable way of transferring information to your audience. Once you eliminate wordy slides, you'll realize how much more fun you can have with your presentation. (pg. 211)


Other Key Ideas:

Dig deep to identify your unique and meaningful connection to your presentation topic. Passion leads to mastery and your presentation is nothing without it. Passion is contagious, literally. You cannot inspire others unless you are inspired yourself. The speakers who genuinely express their passion and enthusiasm for the topic are the ones who stand apart as inspiring leaders. (pg. 17)

Successful speakers can't wait to share their ideas. They have charisma for their content. They radiate joy and passion and how their ideas will benefit their audiences. If you can give your audience information to help live better lives, you'll make a deeper connection. (pg. 22)

Scientists are finding the brain actually grows and changes throughout your life. As a person becomes an expert in a particular area (such as public speaking) the areas of the brain associated with those skills actually grow. The brain areas involved in language - the areas that help you talk and explain ideas more clearly - become more activated and more efficient the more they are used. The more you speak in public, the more the structure of the brain changes. If you speak a lot in public, language areas of the brain become more developed. (pg. 33)

Stories are central to who we are. The most popular presentations start with a personal story. The ability to tell a personal story is an essential trait of authentic leadership - people who inspire uncommon effort. Make it so descriptive and rich with imagery that they imagine themselves with you at the time of the event. (pg. 53)

If you can't explain your big idea in 140 characters or less, keep working on your message. The discipline brings clarity to your presentation and helps your audience recall the one big idea you're trying to teach them. The "Twitter Headline" works for two reasons: 1) It's great discipline, forcing you to identify and clarify the one key message you want your audience to remember and 2) it makes it easier for your audience to process the content. Twitter is such a powerful platform for marketers that it's critical to create a "tweetable" description that can be easily remembered and shared across social networks. (pg. 130)

The jaw-dropping moment in a presentation is when the presenter delivers a shocking, impressive, or surprising moment that is so moving and memorable, it grabs the listener's attention and is remembered long after the presentation is over. This includes ending on a high note. Everyone needs a showstopper. The showstopper seals the deal and permanently brands the message in our minds. Every performer has at least one jaw-dropping moment - an emotionally charged event that your audience members will be talking about the next day. Every presentation needs one. (pg. 136)

Don't take yourself too seriously. The brain loves humor. Give your audience something to smile about. Humor lowers defenses, making your audience more receptive to your message. It also makes you seem more likeable, and people are more willing to support someone they like. Humor involves some risk and most people don't have the courage for it. It takes courage to be vulnerable, to poke some good natured fun at yourself and your topic. The key is to be authentic. (pg. 160)

Listening is an exhausting activity because the learner is continually adding material to be remembered later. The more information that is delivered, the greater the cognitive load. A 60-minute presentation produces so much backlog that you risk seriously upsetting your audience unless you create a very engaging presentation with breaks, stories, and videos. (pg. 185)

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