Although I have yet to personally delivered an 18 minute TED Talk – I do have a 30+ years of global experience Pitching and Presenting to Fortune 500 clients on five continents and winning billions of dollars of business on brands and accounts like: IBM, AT&T, Microsoft, Weight Watchers, American Express, BP Oil, P&G, BMW, E*Trade, Air France, Nestle, IMG, Unilever and hundreds of other iconic, luxury, premium and Fortune 500 brands from New York City, to San Francisco to London, Sydney, Dubai, Singapore, Wellington, Mexico to Hong Kong. (Some of my clients shown below)
As I stated in a past article entitled, ‘HOW TO DELIVER A MADISON AVENUE STYLE PRESENTATION IN 2019’ – I believe that delivering a great presentation full of ideas, insights to the right audience, with clear objectives – agreed and set in advance – is probably the most ‘under-rated’ sales weapon today. AND, one thing I have seen over the last couple of decades worldwide, is that great presenters are MASTER STORYTELLERS!
BUT, with that said, as a seasoned Mad Man/Advertising Agency Presenter & Closer, having the 18 – Minute Rule, has some unique challenges for me and my plans for 2020 to make my first appearance in a ‘non competitive pitch’ environment and to a receptive audience.
Importantly, when I first heard of TED talks decades ago, I instantly learned that TED Talks were exactly 18 minutes long because, unlike the Advertising & Marketing Presentations that I have become accustomed to over the past three decades – the 18 – minute time limit is long enough to be serious and short enough to hold people’s attention.
In fact, it turns out that this length also works incredibly well on Social Media and online today too! It’s the length of a coffee break. So, you watch a great talk, and forward the link to two or three people. It can go viral, very easily. (I have attached five of my favorite examples below)
A great analogy I have heard before is that a Ted Talk is similar to Twitter because, Twitter forces presenters/speakers to be disciplined in what they write. By forcing speakers who are used to going on for 45 minutes to bring it down to 18 minutes!
In fact, I am excited to give something back to the marketing/business community and demonstrate the skills, confidence and poise I have developed pitching the worlds biggest and most successful brands and leaders worldwide over the past three plus decades.
Although I have never delivered a TED Talk to date, I have long admired and watched hundreds of talks over my career. And five of my favorites that spring to my mind while writing this article include:
- Charlotte Beers at TEDxWomen 2012 https://youtu.be/_gQkjk9uzSM
- Your body language may shape who you are (Amy Cuddy | TEDGlobal 2012) https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_may_shape_who_you_are?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=tedspread
- How to find work you love (Scott Dinsmore | TEDxGoldenGatePark 2012) https://www.ted.com/talks/scott_dinsmore_how_to_find_work_you_love?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=tedspread
- How great leaders inspire action | Simon Sinek https://youtu.be/qp0HIF3SfI4
- How I Held My Breath for 17 Minutes TED Talk | David Blaine https://youtu.be/UX_Ev94t2nc
Picture: Amy Cuddy, Social psychologist argues that “power posing” – standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident – Amy galvanized tens of millions of viewers around the world with her TED talk about “power poses.” |TED
ORGANIZE YOUR IDEAS
Again, as TED Conferences, under the slogan “ideas worth spreading” was first conceived by Richard Saul Wurman in February 1984 as a conference and has been held annually since 1990, I have literally watched hundreds (if not thousands) of Ted Talks over the years and consistently found these striking commonalities with the best Talks.
The first obvious and consistent observation I have always noticed is, the elite Presenters and Speakers are always highly organized which greatly helps them command attention, interest and inspire instant confidence in their audiences!
THIS IS A MUST, especially with 18 minutes! You only have 18 minutes or under to mesmerize your audience, be crisp and move people with your vision and story!
After over three decades of Pitching and Presenting to clients and brands worldwide, I generally prepare and think about organizing my ideas, BEFORE making a keynote presentation, an impromptu talk or I plan to do in 2020 for a TED Talk. (Yes, that’s my goal for 2020 despite decades of winning billions of dollars pitching and presenting to some of the biggest companies and brands on the planet.)
I have always found that this greatly increases my performance. I always start with ‘Telling them my outline’ or my TELL ‘EM Outline as a say. As long as this is short and succinct, it can be used effectively in a TED Talk too.
By this I mean:
- Tell ‘em what you are going to present or talk about
- Tell ‘em
- Tell ‘em what you told them
Generally, use this short presentation outline too:
Well organized content for presentations commands attention, confidence and immense interest too. With thoughtful organization, good ideas become great ideas that flow and are better understood. They will also flow naturally and logically and build a highly persuasive environment or climate too.
Importantly, with TED Talks, all this must happen in 18 minutes or less! So, ‘no fluff’ and you must hook your audience in the first 30 seconds to succeed and go viral!
IN A NUTSHELL FOR TED TALKS SUCCESS
- Take your audience on an amazing ‘mental journey’
- The most engaging TED Presentations are: Emotional, Novel or Memorable
- Visuals enhance words, not duplicate (Multimedia experiences enhance learning – Paint a Mental Picture!
- Use the RULE OF THREE – The rule of three simply means that people can remember three pieces of information really well – and if you add more information, their retention plummets!
- Unlike a far longer New Business Pitch that I have traditionally done using research, media plans, integrated marketing programs – the best thing about TED Talks is the with the 18-minute rule – constrained presentations require disciple and far more CREATIVITY to be inspirational and compelling! In other words, what isn’t there makes what is there far stronger!
- Always be relatable and make a connection between you and the audience. Do it fast too!
- Your TED Talk MUST, have a ‘WOW’ If it doesn’t, your audience shouldn’t be in the room or at your Talk! Simple as that.
- Remember, for centuries people have been hardwired to listen to stories. And, always know, it’s the natural way that our brains learn and process information. Grab attention and keep them engaged from the start.
- I believe positive messages in my opinion are the most inspiring and leaving your audience on an emotional high is a huge plus!
- Make your TED Talk irresistible – by that I mean make sure your audience is totally captivated and sitting on the edge of their seat listening to ever word you utter. The best TED Talks all engage their audiences with CONFLICT too. Again, I mean conflict refers to a fight between opposing forces, life and death. It might even be between hate, love or forgiveness too. Freedom and Oppression are important issue to consider as well. But, always try to include two strong and opposing forces that create a gripping and uncertain story. Just think of epic movies like The Godfather, Spartacus, Rebel Without a Cause, Scarface or even Titanic for inspiration!
- In my opinion, the most compelling TED Talks generally leave the audience with a powerful takeaway message!
- Understand from the start that, 93%of the impact of your TED Talk is made of: how it was said (53%)…body language, tone, eye contact AND, who delivered it (40%)…title, status, expertise.
- Remember, to always make you takeaway message short, succinct and so that your audience can remember and repeat it.
Always know what you want your TED Talk or presentation to accomplish. Always ensure when you are setting objectives for the Talk that is uses conflict, creates curiosity and gives your audience a sensory experience. (Ensure you leave everyone with a clear mental image of every character)
And, ensure your story includes a surprising element that makes your story compelling. Remember, the stronger the conflict, the more compelling and memorable your story will be.
Finally, always PRACTICE and PRACTICE more – training will enable you to sell your ideas better, feel more confident, show instead of ‘telling’, have more fun and always tailor your rate, volume, pitch and pauses! Research studies of shown, that 150-160 words per minute is the ideal rate of speech for audio books so use this as your ‘benchmark’ for your next TED Talk!
Good luck and I hope you win the hearts and minds with your next talk! Live with purpose and passion!
MORE ABOUT GEOFF DE WEAVER:
Super strategist who directs Fortune 500 clients to define their vision, create a strategy, and harness their internal innovation to grow their business or reinvent their products.
Expert at building and transforming brands, businesses, and digital and physical customer experiences at scale. My goal has always been to Inspire, coach, motivate and manage the large teams around me.
History of success developing and executing cross-channel global marketing campaigns to drive brand positioning, equity, and awareness while increasing engagement and sales and loyalty.
Innovative entrepreneur, author, speaker, and advertising executive with vast expertise driving business growth, reinventing brands, and implementing global marketing campaigns.
CONNECT WITH ME AT:
Twitter at: https://twitter.com/geoff_deweaver
Amazon Authors on: Geoff’s Books, Biography and Blog
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