TEDMED Speaker Coach

How to talk like TED? Be likeable

What is the most important factor in giving a successful TED style talk?

Many clients increasingly ask me “How do I talk like TED?” or “I want to talk like TED”. That is often why they come to me – they have read books and blogs and watched the videos but now they are looking to do it themselves and they are looking for a real SpeakerCoach who has actually coached people whose talks have appeared on TEDMED and TED.

These clients understand that storytelling is how we humans are hot-wired to understand the world and that telling stories is the best way to get their message across in a memorable and retellable way. And of, course, TED and TEDMED talks are the benchmarks of short, memorable talks.

TED style talks are sadly not quite fireside chats like our ancestors used to pass on knowledge (Health and Safety regulations have a lot to answer for sometimes!) but these unique talks do have exactly the same cosy, familiar feeling.

I have written before on the most important criteria for getting onto TED or TEDMED – you will not get the platform unless you genuinely have something worth saying.

Today’s featured talk is a TED talk that I often use in my coaching. I have not only coached people whose talks have been shown on TED and TEDMED, I have also watched and researched hundreds and hundreds of TED and TEDMED talks. This talk is one of the best examples of one of the most important characteristics of not just talking like TED but also of how to give one of the more popular viewed TED talks. As I write this, this video has been viewed 1.7 million times – I am sure me and my clients are responsible for …. well a few hundred views at least! 🙂

What makes a good TED talk?

Mark Bezos is a volunteer firefighter and also works at Robin Hood, a poverty-fighting charity in New York City. There are lots of reasons why this TED talk is particularly good and why I use it so often in my coaching.

  1. A good scene-setting and visual introduction.
  2. His status as an “expert witness” is immediately apparent and reinforced by his wearing his firefighter kit.
  3. The use of simple, genuine, non-geeky language which is accessible for all audiences – including people for whom English is a second language.
  4. Well crafted content with a simple story and a simple message: “Small acts matter. Get in the game. Save the shoes.”
  5. Good, but not exaggerated, use of body language and what I call “stagecraft” in my MessageCraft® process.
  6. It is short. Mark tells his story, makes his point and then shuts up. Perfect!

But I want to focus on one aspect of this talk and Mark’s delivery.  Wherever I have shown this talk – in the UK, Lithuania, Germany, Australia, Singapore, Seoul or India – every one I have shown this talk to has commented on the likability of Mark Bezos. Likability is universal. He uses humour – but it is self-deprecating humour. Jokes are risky as hell, especially with audiences from different cultures – never mind different native languages! Mark does “being human” really well. He takes his job and his message seriously but not himself. He is likeable and an expert witness. Enjoy!

I have worked with speakers on talks that have ended on TEDx, TEDMED and TED stages and I am also a TEDMED SpeakerCoach.

Do you want to give better speeches and presentations and to talk like TED? Give me a call and let’s see how I can help? There are a limited number of interesting coaching packages that I offer every year. Maybe you will qualify for one of those?

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