Last month the IoD hosted Chris Anderson, the man behind the billions of views and millions of shares that drive the most exciting online community for ideas in the world, at their Books for Breakfast event
Since taking over TED Talks in 2001, Chris has brought the platform to a place where it is now the go-to forum for revolutionary ideas and powerful messages. He joined the IoD’s Head of External Relations Jimmy McLoughlin at the IoD’s latest Breakfast Time Books to discuss what makes a great public speaker. At the outset, Chris was keen to puncture a misconception that the ‘Head of TED’ would necessarily be a fantastic public speaker. He insisted that he didn’t class himself as a great speech giver, although many of the event attendees would disagree. Instead, he was keen to stress the importance of blending rigorous preparation with powerful and persuasive messages.
Chris’s book looks at these and other factors that come together to make a really strong public speaker. Part of it, he stressed, is the need to realise that presentation and message are all part of a personal brand that individuals carry with them, whether they’re on stage or not. To some degree, we’re not just turning public speaking on or off.
Over the course of the discussion, he also reeled off a number of tips and suggestions that can transform a speech from simply a list of words to a powerful piece of storytelling. For instance, he highlighted the importance of a strong opening gambit. ‘We are living in an attention war’ he said ‘start strong. You have a minute to win the audience’s trust’. Other devices he was keen to stress were the importance of eye contact and the need to draw on emotional points of reference in order to engage people. The power of metaphor and parable to bring an audience along with you is key to the success of any TED talk.
Or course, the value of a strong finish should not be discounted, a good speaker doesn’t want to seem as though they’re ending half way through a…
Ted Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking read more
TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, £18.99
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