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‹ View all articles2nd March 2020

How to harness TED-style speaking for business success

TED Lessons

TED has turned the traditional approach to conference speaking on its head. It’s sparked a new generation of short, high-impact talks, showing the door to the monotony of slide-click-slide-click presentations that have dominated public speaking for too long.
 
We’re captivated by TED talks packed with human emotion, stories and personality. We remember them, pass on their message and act on the ideas being shared.
 
That’s why TED-style speaking is not just relevant for conference talks. The powerful techniques can be used in all kinds of communication scenarios – from sales pitches and client meetings to sharing a new company vision with employees.
 
Ginger specialises in using the TED-style of speaking to develop thousands of leaders’ speaking skills. We challenge leaders to speak in a way that’s clear, personal and highly memorable. And it has a huge impact on their careers and business success.
 
Here are the ‘best bits’ of the TED-style speaking approach.

The benefits of TED-style speaking

There are many business benefits to harnessing the power of TED-style speaking. These include:
 
Developing thought leadership
 
Now more than ever, individuals and businesses have opportunities to raise their profile through the power of their ideas and innovations. Thanks to social media and self-publishing platforms, we can easily share our ideas with wide networks and strengthen our credibility as thought leaders. Our ideas can go viral!
 
The trouble is, we often shy away from seeing ourselves as thought leaders. We see this a lot – people who have a tonne of insight to share but who lack time, confidence or the right conditions to unpick that insight. The TED format makes you laser-focused on your message, firmly placing your thought leadership front and centre.
 
Sharpening sales success
 
For sales teams, TED-style speaking sets people free from the old-fashioned sell-sell-sell approach by teaching you how to bring people alongside your perspective. It forces you to be clear and concise and to humanise your communication. That builds trust which is valuable currency when it comes to winning business.
 
Showcasing diverse voices
 
The format of TED-style speaking means we hear from a wider range of voices as we’re more willing to listen to talks that are brief and well-constructed. It opens the floor to people and ideas we’ve never heard before. Impenetrable, technical talks are transformed into interesting and engaging stories; leaders drop the corporate language and speak from the heart; and the hidden find their voice.

Our top 3 lessons to learn from TED

1. Ideas worth spreading
The power of TED is beautifully summed up in their tagline ‘ideas worth spreading’. When we are bombarded by around 5,000 marketing messages a day, how do you make sure your idea gets noticed and shared?

  • Firstly, it needs to press on some kind of audience need. What problem does it solve?
  • It needs to be simple without dumbing down. Keep the language jargon-free and relevant.
  • Make it the right edge of crazy. Different or weird gets noticed, so don’t be afraid to be really bold.

 

2. Take us on a journey
It’s important to have a clear structure to your talk, so it takes your audience from A to B.

  • What’s the starting point for your audience? What do they know right now and what problem do you want to address?
  • What’s the end point? What’s the change in thought, knowledge or behaviour you want for your audience? This is your ‘idea worth spreading’.
  • What are the three steps of your argument that will edge your audience closer to your perspective, taking them from the start point to the end point?

 

3.  Make it memorable
There are many ways to make your talk come to life but these are some techniques you can use to make it stick in people’s minds and pass-on-able.

  • A memorable story: We know that stories make a big difference to the impact and memorability of a talk. Even the most technical subjects can be brought alive with storytelling.
  • Unique language: Find your specific language that differentiates you from others talking about the same thing - and use it repeatedly. Take Simon Sinek for example, who coined the phrase ‘start with why’.
  • Metaphor: If you can find a metaphor that works for you, use it. It can help people to visualise and relate to the point you are making.
  • Humour: Find your funny! If you make people laugh using your own flavour of humour, you have the attention of the audience. Plus laughter gets endorphins going which can help with memory retention.
  • A bold prop: Bring something physical into the space rather than using a picture on a slide. It’s a great way to connect people to your idea and make it more memorable.

Show your personality

So, you’ve got your ‘idea worth spreading’, you’ve shaped it into a journey and added some colour by using some of the memorable elements. But it’s still possible to throw away your talk by not giving it enough personality or trying to be someone you’re not.
 
We’ve all sat through talks that are packed with content but fall flat because the delivery lacks any kind of personality. On the other hand, talks can feel awkward if you put on some kind of mask that’s not really you. That’s why we teach clients to be themselves. It means embracing your geekiness, or your warm and heartfelt approach, or your powerful presence. It means stepping into the full force of your character and OWNING IT!
 
We all have different styles; the important thing is to develop confidence in expressing your authentic self. Think about when you’re completely at ease, surrounded by your best mates. How do you behave? That’s the character you want to tap into to bring your true personality to your public speaking.

Starting your own TED-style talk

All the tools we’ve mentioned are designed to help you harness the power of TED-style speaking so you communicate with more impact – be that on the stage or in a client meeting.

This model helps visualise the key steps to developing your own TED-style talk.

  1. Get clear: Know your message, your ‘idea worth spreading’
  2. Be resonant: Connect it to your audience’s problem
  3. Be memorable: What can you do or say that's unusual to highlight your message?
  4. Amplify: Be brave, speak your message with full power


We work with clients on all elements of TED-style speaking, from finding your idea and getting comfortable in your own skin, to developing unique language and delivering a talk to a live audience.

The real power lies in the opportunity to explore and test your ideas with others. That’s why our TED-style programmes are hugely popular with teams in companies and industry groups that want to amplify their message and be more visible. Like our Future Female Leaders programme for the Real Estate industry to give more women a voice, or the team from Hitachi that wanted to develop their public speaking impact.

If you’d like to master the art of TED-style speaking for yourself or your company, Ginger has some incredible, high-impact training options we’d love to talk to you about.

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Learn the art of TED style speaking in this free master class video series from Ginger's founder Sarah Lloyd-Hughes.

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