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What Marketing Speakers Can Learn from Ted Talks

Ted Talks are today’s gold standard in public speaking. Here’s what your marketing team can learn from their example.

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Increasingly, companies are relying on their employees to act as thought leaders. Whether you’re getting original ideas out there, showcasing work your company has done, or pitching new customers, public speaking is an important part of modern business life. Great public speaking has been redefined thanks to the popularity of Ted Talks. Luckily, studying these online masterpieces covering topics from science to economics can give you strong insights into how to deliver a message with punch and command a stage. Here are key lessons to learn from this important platform.

Laser-focus on a topic: Ted Talks have a single, organizing theme. It’s often very specific and much narrower than many talks have traditionally been. As a result, speakers go deeper into a subject than usual. It’s not about going broad and hitting all the points; a strong talk takes listeners to the heart of an issue and showcases your mastery at multiple nuanced levels.

Harness the power of story: Many Ted Talks begin with a story that helps draw people in. Stories also make speakers relatable, which is important because there can feel like there’s a power disparity between many speakers and the audience. In addition, sprinkling your presentation with stories helps bring more life and energy to the information you’re offering.

Hook them with a benefit: In addition to starting with a strong story, the best Ted Talks present a clear benefit. They’ll make you smarter, stronger, or simply give you a funny anecdote to share on your next coffee date. Whatever the key, be clear about what benefits people who listen to your presentation will get and work that into your introduction. People are hungry for both self-improvement and a better world; show them how you can help.

Create a wow moment, or offer new information: To be selected for a Ted Talk, a guest has to bring something unique and interesting to the table. It’s either a moment that wows, new information and insights, or an integration and perspective audiences haven’t heard. While every presentation may struggle to deliver the same level of impact, aim high. Marketers who manage to achieve even a degree of this will capture their audience and create an unforgettable experience.

Keep it short: Attention spans are shorter than ever. Even if you’re deeply compelling, Ted Talk best practices suggest that under 20 minutes is the optimum time frame for impact. Don’t try to deliver a talk that’s hours long. Find a way to say what you need to in 30 minutes or less. If you have the platform for more, open up the floor for discussion and have an interactive Q&A with your audience.

Being a compelling speaker is a skill today’s marketers must develop. Not only is it good for your brand and company’s marketing efforts but also it will be a long-term asset in developing your career.