6 Reasons Why TED Talks Dominate Speeches

6 Reasons Why TED Talks Dominate Speeches

TED speakers have revolutionized the art of public speaking through their methods of audience approach and intentionality. If your presentations feel dry and you find yourself more engaged with your script than your audience, it’s time to turn to TED for guidance.

For speakers looking to form a stronger connection with your listeners, pay attention to these 6 reasons behind the success of TED Talks:

  1. People Love Stories

No one enjoys being spoon-fed textbook information

TED speakers supplement their main points by incorporating personal experiences and stories into their talks. This helps bridge the disconnect between new information and the meaning it plays in people’s lives. Quoting author Mark Turner (The Literary Mind, 1996),  Public Words notes, “Story is a basic principle of the mind.”

The talks often incorporate a visual aid to guide through the experience as well. Rufwork explains the impact visual aids have on increasing audience retention levels; “Clear pictures multiply the audience's level of understanding of the material presented, and they should be used to reinforce your message, clarify points, and create excitement.”

The combination of stories and visual aids throughout a speech takes listeners through a journey. When the speaker creates this experience for audience members, it establishes a connection needed for both sides to fully engage one another.

  1. Discussion Over Lecture 

Excite and invite

The most effective speakers are those who can embrace real discussion. The conversational approach in TED Talks allow the listeners to feel as though they are being talked with rather than talked at: hence Ted Talks, not lectures. While some TED speakers may take a more formal approach than others, neither feel painfully scripted or reliant on predetermined sentences. 

  1. Establish Credibility

Find power in experience

Whether the speech concerns methods for overcoming stage fright or discussing approaches to end racism, from the first minute of the speech, the audience understands why the presenter is qualified to speak on the subject.

The expertise from TED talkers comes from their direct experiences which enables them to approach the talk from their stories lived. This credibility helps speakers earn the trust of audience members to then hear the message with a more open mind.

  1. Build Rapport

Decrease the gap between you and your audience members

In a short window of time, TED speakers build rapport with their listeners by incorporating qualities of empathy and relevancy in their talks. This level of intentionality meets two needs of the audience members: the desire to feel connected and understood. Witt Communications explains, “When you establish rapport with your audience, they become your partners in a dialog, allies in your presentation. They’ll want you to succeed.” Find commonalities between you and your audience that make you relational and your speech relatable.

  1. The Speakers Are Human Too

Establish your humanity while maintaining professionalism

The TED stage highlights both those who have received prestigious awards and those newly emerging in their field of study. The speakers’ value is determined by the richness of their content and the reality in their words. The ideas and passions, shared on the TED stages are relatable and admirable.

When speakers are vulnerable with their listeners, Speak Fearlessly describes this as creating an authentic connection with your audience. The TED stage creates a safe space for speakers to admit their flaws, fears, hopes, and experiences.

  1. Compact - Quality - Content

Less words, more impact 

In 18 minutes or less, TED Talks both educate and entertain. The TED time limit allows for speakers to condense their message into key points, but still have enough time to walk through a proper beginning, middle, and end. Speakers who walk through a long maze of words only to forget to find their way back leave audience members frustrated and confused.                                                                    

TED speakers own the stage by creating an environment that makes their audience crave knowledge and desire to listen.  The TED approach to public speaking proves the necessity of being a relationship with listeners throughout a speech to maximize message potential.

-Lisa Monteiro ‘17