Browse Tag: talk like TED

TEDMED Changing How Doctors Approach Curing Patients

Curing Patients can be improved by changing how Doctors think

Changing how doctors approach their job of curing patients is never going to be an easy job. That is part of why this talk at TEDMED 2014 in Washington D.C. by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz is brave, to say the least. She has something important to say and it potentially tweaks the nose of an entire – and very articulate – profession: Doctors. And she is giving the talk for the benefit of people like you and me.

Like Ramanan Laxminarayan (who wants Doctors to prescribe antibiotics less frequently and industry to stop using antibiotics for profit) Barbara wants to change how doctors approach the cure of patients. It is a big idea.

Learning from this TEDMED talk

Although she uses reasonably accessible language and has a few (!) brilliant slides that help make her point, Barbara uses both insider medical jargon and humour to disarm and help persuade her Doctor audience. This reinforces the fact that she is “one of them” and bolsters her credibility and authority to speak on this common sense approach – which might well be negatively perceived as “radical” amongst the profession.



She doesn’t move around much and her clothes are classy, understated and don’t distract. The focus of the audience should be on her message and the occasional slides that she uses to underpin and illustrate her message.

If you want to be radical and change things, you have to sound and act normal, conformist and disarming. If you sound radical, abnormal and aggressive you will usually alienate the very people you are trying to convince. Some people may agree with you. But they are the other nutters of your cause, so they would, wouldn’t they? Wars are started by radical language – genuine ongoing changing of minds, hearts and behaviour is done through persuasion. And to persuade you need to have ‘permission to speak’ before your audience will listen to you in the first place. This talk is a great example of this being done well.

One of the glorious things about working at TEDMED,  is that the TEDMED speakers are giving talks for a bigger purpose. A purpose that, by definition, helps our benefits people. They are “selling” ideas in the best principles of – “Ideas worth spreading.”

It is not surprising that this talk was rapidly promoted to and that it has had over 1.3 million views in less than a year. This reinforces the power and reach of being able to speak at a TEDMED conference and do well. I hope you enjoy it. You or your friends or family may well benefit from it in the future.


I have worked with speakers on talks that have ended on TEDx, TEDMED and TED stages and I am also a TEDMED SpeakerCoach. If you have an “idea worth spreading” give me a call and we can discuss how I can help you maximise the impact of your talk.

TEDMED Talks that try and change behaviour

Storytelling is useful when you want to change behaviour

Economist Ramanan Laxminarayan wants to change behaviour amongst GPs and industry. Oh as well as potentially change the price of a widely used drug. (Or does he? Watch and see for yourself!) That’s a pretty big ask when a profession is being asked to change years of accepted practice and when an industry profits from they way they do things.

You should watch this talk if you have ever benefited from antibiotics. Basically, because of industry practices and over prescription of antibiotics and the way our bodies work, we are becoming increasingly immune to them. And there is no alternative, no Plan B. What happens when your silver bullet no longer does the job? This is quite a scary talk.

Ramanan wants to improve understanding of drug resistance as a problem of managing a shared global resource. He teaches at Princeton and is a Director and Senior Fellow at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP). He has advised the World Health Organization and World Bank on evaluating malaria treatment policy, vaccination strategies, the economic burden of tuberculosis, and control of non-communicable diseases. In 2012, he created the Immunization Technical Support Unit in India, which has been credited with improving the immunization program in the country. He knows what he is talking about and easily qualifies as an expert witness.

It’s no surprise that this talk went so quickly from TEDMED to and that over 850 000 people have seen this talk within the last year. Not many economists have a reach that far – but thanks to my content curating colleagues at TEDMED who crucially select the talks that make it onto the stage, this important subject has been given important visibility within the medical profession!

Things to learn from this TEDMED talk.

There are always a number of things that one can learn from a TEDMED or TED talk. The good but sparing use of graphics would one of many good characteristics of this talk.

But the thing I want to focus on here is the use of storytelling to make this potentially complicated issue relevant and immediate and urgent to anyone who has ever played or worked in garden. Which means everyone. That’s pretty cool coming from an economist!

I have worked with speakers on talks that have ended on TEDx, TEDMED and TED stages and I am also a TEDMED SpeakerCoach. If you have an “idea worth spreading” give me a call and we can discuss how I can help you maximise the impact of your talk.


TEDMED stage Palm Springs

Emotion and relationships in TED Talks

Emotion and Relationships Move People.

This is one of my favourite TED style talks. For a few reasons. Firstly, how I first saw it. A guy who had worked on and off for me for a few years sent the clip to me via Facebook with the message “This woman reminds me of you.” I watched it and had to dry my eyes. Who would not want to be compared to this woman?

There are many reasons why this video has been viewed over 5 million times. Rita Pierson is very funny. She has something to say. She is real and she is authentic. She is not selling anything.

But I don’t want to talk about her delivery – although it is really great and the talk is worth watching for that alone. I want to talk about her content. Because she is a coach and so am I.

She talks a whole lots of sense – but the bit I find really excellent is where she says:

“…We know why kids don’t learn. It’s either poverty, low attendance, negative peer influences… We know why. But one of the things that we never discuss or we rarely discuss is the value and importance of human connection. Relationships.
James Comer says that no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship. George Washington Carver says all learning is understanding relationships. Everyone in this room has been affected by a teacher or an adult. For years, I have watched people teach. I have looked at the best and I’ve looked at some of the worst.
A colleague said to me one time, “They don’t pay me to like the kids. They pay me to teach a lesson. The kids should learn it. I should teach it, they should learn it, Case closed.”
Well, I said to her, “You know, kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.”

Becoming a SpeakerCoach

I didn’t set out to be a teacher, let alone a SpeakerCoach. It was supposed to be a temporary thing – so much so that I only reluctantly agreed to be trained as a SuperLearning/Suggestopedia(NLP) Coach in Germany by the Institute where I worked. It certainly helped my coaching and made my coaching “stickier” – but pieces of paper don’t make you a good coach – they just stop you being a crap coach.

Over the last 24 years I have been coaching individuals and groups. A lot of that has been in the corporate world in a corporate setting and much of the challenge of coaching and teaching people has been

  1. getting them to relax and
  2. getting them to like me.

This dual task is tough in a corporate training room and even tougher in a group where there are 12 – 15 egos and agendas bouncing around the place. I did this in the German corporate world for over 15 years, so in a different culture as well. It was often intense and always very demanding but it was a brilliant bootcamp/ training ground. It honed my radar, extended my ears and sharpened my eyes to spot early signs of when people were not receiving, understanding, absorbing or agreeing.

On the plus side, at least my clients want to be taught – teaching a class of kids who have to be there, like Rita does, fills me with dread. I have spoken to classes of 15 and 16 year olds at Pimlico Academy in London and, believe me, I would rather be interrogated by a Select Committee or a PLC Board than spend any more time in front of those scary kids!

Building a Coach/Student relationship

So back to Rita’s point. Building a teacher/student relationship. It’s tough in limited time in a corporate setting and tougher in groups. I now work slightly differently as much as I can. Firstly, I prefer to work one on one with clients which enables much more open and frank discussion, coaching and feedback. Secondly, I prefer to work at my home on the coast in Sussex or in London. This is very informal and helps the client to relax and be themselves. Often clients will come to Sussex the night before and stay in my guest room and we chat over a drink and a meal the night before. This really helps us to understand each other and definitely contributes to the success of the coaching.

With some clients it is easiest to work via Skype. This is usually done with them in their homes and me in mine. It’s not perfect – but it is 1-2-1 and informal so it is pretty good. And it avoids plane fairs and travel time.

But in all my coaching, I don’t just talk or broadcast. Nothing is “off the shelf”. Everything is customised. I have some standard courses – but the coaching moulds itself around the client, our pace, the mood of the day and their requirements. I am often provocative and I push, cajole, tease and demand. Because I like my clients and I really want them to succeed and I hope that they can feel this. But I still want to be more like Rita!!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video. Feel free to comment or share.

I have worked with speakers on talks that have ended on TEDx, TEDMED and TED stages and I am also a TEDMED SpeakerCoach. If you have an “idea worth spreading” give me a call and we can discuss how I can help you maximise the impact of your talk.

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?

TEDMED Speaker Coach

Why give a TED talk or a TEDMED talk

Why give a TED talk.

Sometimes people come to me and say that they want to give a TED, TEDMED or TEDx talk. They want help. My first question is to ask them what they want to talk about and what is the essence of their message.

Some look and sound surprised and admit that they honestly don’t know – they think simply that giving a TED talk would be good for their career, help to sell a book and boost their profile and earnings. These are all the wrong reasons or motivations for giving a TED, TEDMED or TEDx talk – but it is certainly true that these are all frequent side effects or results of having given such a talk.

Why should you give a TED, TEDMED or TEDx talk? is the daddy of the TED brand. TED uses the phrase “ideas worth spreading”. This is a great basic template. Giving a TED, TEDMED or TEDx talk is NOT about selling or promoting yourself – it is all about sharing an idea that is worth spreading in such a way that it is globally accessible and relevant over time.

“Ideas worth spreading”

Most speakers dream of standing ovations and of getting their talk escalated to the TED platform. This week’s featured TED talk is given by a man who sincerely, seriously and urgently asks the crowd to STOP applauding. He cuts them off! Seriously! Who does that? I have worked with politicians, business people and speakers at the TED family of conferences and I have never seen that before. Of all the talks that I have seen and worked on this man is the most driven and focused and anxious to get his message across and to say it all within the limited time he was given. There is also no doubt that this talk would have been escalated and promoted to wherever it was actually originally given.

There are other lessons to be learnt from this talk including the use of humour, personal storytelling, the lack of any sales pitch or personal promotion, TRULY amazing images and self deprecating humour. But the biggest lesson is that the speaker has something massively important to share and he is so keen to share this that he asks the audience to stop applauding and listen. You don’t see that very often!

The photography is stunning and courtesy of National Geographic. The talk is fascinating. But the focus of the man to share his message is palpable and urgent. The standing ovation is inevitable and well deserved.

You can hire him to speak too. More great photos and his contact details are on his website –

“Diving under the Antarctic ice to get close to the much-feared leopard seal, polar photographer Paul Nicklen found an extraordinary new friend.”

I have worked with speakers on talks that have ended on TEDx, TEDMED and TED stages and I am also a TEDMED SpeakerCoach. If you have an “idea worth spreading” give me a call and we can discuss how I can help you maximise the impact of your talk.

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