Ciao, I'm Julia.

Talk Like TED book summary

Talk Like TED book cover

Ideas are the currency of the 21st century.

This book is pretty self explanatory from its title, so I won't bother giving a summary.

There are three parts to giving a TED style presentation.

  • Emotional

    • Unleash the master within (find your passion)
    • Master the art of telling stories (tell stories)
    • Have a conversation (do not present at the audience)
  • Novel

    • Teach me something new (reveal new information to the audience)
    • Deliver jaw-dropping moments (grab audience's attention and make it memorable)
    • Lighten up (use humour)
  • Memorable

    • Stick to the 18 minute rule
    • Paint a mental picture with multisensory experiences
    • Stay in your lane (be authentic, open and transparent)


  • Passion leads to mastery. Passion is contagious. You cannot inspire others unless you are inspired yourself.

  • What makes your heart sing? Your passion is not a passing interest or even a hobby. A passion is something that is intensely meaningful and core to your identity.

  • Learning a new skill and repeating the skills over and over builds news pathways in the brain. The more you speak in public, the more the actual structure of the brain changes. If you speak a lot in public, language areas of the brain become more developed.

  • Positive emotions are contagious, lifting the moods of the participants in the audience.

  • Tell stories to reach people's hearts and minds. Brain scans reveal that stories stimulate and engage the human brain, helping the speaker connect with the audience and making it much more likely that the audience will agree with the speaker's point of view.

  • Persuasion occurs when 3 components are represented: ethos, logos and pathos. Ethos is credibility. Logos is the means of persuasion through logic, data and statistics. Pathos is the act of appealing to emotions.

  • Inspiring communicators and the best TED presenters stick to one of three types of stories. The first are personal stories that relate directly to the theme of the conversation or presentation; second are stories about other people who have learned a lesson the audience can relate to; third are stories involving the success or failure of products or brands.

  • Introduce heroes and villains. Above all, make sure the hero - your product, your brand or your idea - comes in to save the day.

  • True persuasion occurs only after you have built an emotional rapport with your listeners and have gained their trust.

  • The 4 elements of verbal delivery are: rate, volume, pitch and pauses.

    • Rate: Speed at which you speak
    • Volume: Loudness or softness
    • Pitch: High or low inflections
    • Pauses: Short pauses to punch key words
  • Most people slow down their rate of speech when they give a speech or presentation, making their verbal delivery sound unnatural. Don't deliver a presentation. Have a conversation instead.

  • Complex thinkers use complex gestures and gestures actually give the audience confidence in the speaker

    • Use gestures
    • Use gestures sparingly
    • Use gestures at key moments
    • Keep your gestures within the power sphere (circle from the top of your eyes, to the tops of your outstretched hands, to your belly button and back to your eyes)


  • Reveal information that's completely new to your audience, packaged differently or offers a fresh and novel way to solve an old problem.

  • Bombard the brain with new experiences. The brain takes shortcuts, as it wants to conserve energy. Only through bombarding the brain with new experiences do we force our minds to look at the world through a new lens.

  • Create a Twitter-friendly headline, which should be specific and clear. What is the one thing you want the audience to know about your company, product or service, and what makes it unique?

  • Jaw-dropping momemnts creates an emotionally charged event, a heightened state of emotion that makes it more likely your audience will remember your message and act on it.

  • Should you use a prop to emphasize a key message?

  • Persuasion occurs when you reach a person's heart and head - logic and emotion. Make numbers meaningful, memorable, and jaw-dropping by place them in a context that the audience can relate to. Think about how to package stats to make it more appealing to the listener.

  • Don't take yourself too seriously. Humour lowers defenses, making your audience more receptive to your message. It also makes you seem more likeable.


  • 18 minutes is the ideal length of time for a presentation. You don't want your audience to experience cognitive backlog, too much information which prevents successful transmission of ideas.

  • Use the rule of 3 and sketch things out on a message map.

    • Step 1: Create a Twitter-friendly headline.
    • Step 2: Support the headline with 3 key messages.
    • Step 3: Reinforce the 3 messages with stories, statistics and examples.
  • Deliver presentations with components that touch more than one of the senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell

  • Use rhetorical devices e.g.

    • Martin Luther King's "I have a dream..."
    • Anaphora
  • Be authentic, open and transparent. People can spot a phony.

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