Follow these TED Talk techniques for a killer presentation

Engaging your audience can be less challenging if you approach your topic from a unique angle, keep the audience’s needs in mind and remember that stories land better than arid data.


Whether you’re a seasoned speaker or a novice, you can write a speech on par with a TED Talk.

The following tips and techniques will help you discover your primary message and write precisely what you want to convey for a resonant, enduring presentation:

  • Deliver a unique perspective. The internet is saturated with ideas that have been discussed, analyzed and picked apart. You want your presentation to connect. Choose a topic on which you have a unique perspective. It needn’t be an idea that no one’s ever discussed before. Maybe you’ve found that, despite all the buzz, a new trend or technology isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. As with writing a great article, it’s all about finding a new and compelling angle.
  • Find out why people should care about your topic. Your topic shouldn’t serve you; it should serve your audience. When preparing for your talk, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, so focus on what your audience can gain from the idea you’re delivering. Ask yourself not only why they should care, but why they need to care.

  • Write your topic as one sentence. Distilling your idea into a single sentence will save you from going off topic. Refer to this guidepost throughout your preparations. Make certain that everything you’re writing and sharing supports your main point; anything else should be dropped altogether or saved for another time.
  • Discover the story in your topic. Stories are engaging and keep people interested. If you rattle off a bunch of facts and figures, you’ll lose your audience quickly. According to research, storytelling helps people focus on and retain information, and it compels them to change or take action. Fortunately, all data have a story to tell. You just have to find it.
  • Integrate a bit about who you are into the topic. Humans gravitate toward vulnerability and authenticity, because those elements help us relate to one another. Include anecdotes that demonstrate your personal values and your relationship to the topic. Doing so helps your audience more deeply connect with you and relate to your message.
  • Make it universal. If you’re passionate about mindfulness because it’s helped you overcome speech anxiety, share that. Then, take it a step further. Think about the universal problems that mindfulness can solve, such as helping people focus at work, be more present with their families and discover new passions. The logic is pretty simple, really: The more universal your message, the more people will connect to it.

A version of this post first appeared on the Ethos3 blog.

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