Unfolding plans 102 – Why do you want to talk like Ted?

I’ve come to enjoy presentations. You and I know that I do enough of them. Lately it seems to have been the main topic of my conversations, which is apt. I’ve been trying hard to improve my technique and practiced much harder than I used to.  I’m trying to hold conversations rather than stick to download.  I hope the audience can tell.

Somehow I ended up with the book ‘Talk like TED’ by Carmine Gallo.  I think I bought it after Thinking Digital this year.  By the way, TED (Technology, Education, Design) is a global set of conferences run under the banner of ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’.  It started in the nineties with a focus on the three eponymous subjects but it has since broadened its focus to include talks on many scientific, cultural, and academic topics.  They are held up as the global pinnacle of presentations.  Evgeny Morozov describes it however as ‘that Woodstock of the intellectual effete’.  Everyone has an opinion.

My wife picked up the book and said ‘Why do you want to talk like Ted?  Why don’t you talk like Phil?’  Of course she was right.  One of the main tenets of the book is that you need to talk about what makes you passionate.  If you don’t believe in what you are saying it will come across that way, lacking in authenticity.  Steven Kelly comes to mind when he said that you should always remind people what is important.  We should always present things which are important to us.

So why have I come to enjoy them?  There are a few reasons.  Firstly they give me an opportunity to apply some serious thinking to the things that are really important and secondly they make me find ways of telling our stories better.  Thirdly they give me a chance to be in front of the team and finally (perhaps) the more I do then the better I will get.  Having the opportunity to speak in front of people is a gift to be savoured and enjoyed.  I’m going to take every chance in future.

I’ve poured my heart into the latest round to the team.  Steve and I are doing them and started by deciding the story we wanted to tell.  The book said that we should have a Twitter sized headline that captured the essence of what we wanted to get across.  We came up with ‘You have my permission to deliver a to great customer experience.’  That’s sixty four characters in total and nice and snappy.  In fact permission was the main theme of the presentations.

I also picked up from the book that the average presentation has forty words a slide, most of which are in a type face that are too small to read expect by the people in the very front row.   Our forty slides had twenty three words in total. Gone are the days of the slideuments and arrived are the days of imagery and a separate narrative to be passed out later.

They felt really good to deliver and seemed to have gone down well.  Steve and I even got a round of applause.

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