In the 20th Anniversary edition of WIRED Magazine, Jason Kehe gives the winning formula for the most successful TED talks. I listen to several TED talks a week, so I found his list right on the money.
- Simple PowerPoints slides or graphics. It turns out, most great presentations have simple presentations with minimal graphics. Those bullet points aren’t all that inspiring.
- Opening jokes. A few catchy statements, but most people just get right to it. When you’re on the clock, you don’t have time to waste words. The first five minutes of any talk are the most important, because this is your chance to connect.
- A spontaneous moment. Kehe points out that there are few memorable, unscripted moments. Don’t be afraid to respond to the audience.
- Statement of Certainty. When you’re standing in front of a room full of people, be the expert.
- A snappy refrain that’s repeated often. Work hard to craft a sticky statement, then repeat it again and again. Like the chorus of a song, repeat what’s important. I call this a sticky statement, and there’s a formula to create a good one.
- A story of personal failure. John Maxwell says you can impress people with your success but you impact them with your failure. Be authentic and honest.
- A contrarian thesis. Saying something everyone already knows isn’t all that interesting. Look for the tension.