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TED's official guide to public speaking- Book Review

22 April 2023

Dr. Moria Levy

"TED's official guide to public speaking" is a book written by Chris Andersen, president, and chief curator of TED, who created the format we know of short, focused, and successful lectures. And who, if not Adam Such, should you learn how to properly lead a talk or speak in front of an audience?

Notice: Knowing to give a talk is an acquired skill and can be taught.

Although the book is initially designed for short and focused TED-style lectures, there is definitely something to learn for talks and speeches of other lengths and styles; Both from the content of the writing, from the way of writing, and from the endless parts of the lectures that are given as examples, and of course are absent from this summary.

The bottom line: This summary is just a recommendation before and a reminder after reading the book.

Getting started: what is the right thing to talk about

Even a charismatic lecturer, with excellent style, can't get enough of these. It must have a theme one talks about, which conveys to the audience. You can talk about a wide variety of topics.

You can talk about almost any idea, provided that the concept being talked about that can change the way people look at the world.


To choose the topic:

1. The topic of the lecture should be renewed

2. The topic should be valuable (worth hearing about)

3. The idea should be convincing

4. Do not set for only presenting a problem; include a solution

, and they can be linked.

6. The topic should be important to the lecturer.

7. The lecturer should be well acquainted with the topic.

8. The lecturer should know how to talk about the subject authentically.

9. The lecturer should also provide something to others and not only aim to take from them (sales lectures).

Attention - there are things we like, yet it will not be possible to talk and lecture about them.

Found an idea that we can reproduce in another person's mind? Make sure it excites you, and you want the audience to understand it too.


There are many methods for delivering a lecture, but what they all have in common is to have a real impact. A logical lecture without a connection to the audience is no longer enough. Bond is required so the participants agree to open their minds and listen to what the lecturer says. Possible techniques:

· eye contact

· Demonstration of vulnerability (e.g., stress from the lecture)

· Humor (of course - only if you know how to laugh)

· A conversation at eye level, without ego

· Conveying the message through a story (will appear as a method later, but it is mentioned here because it also helps trust)



The goal: creating an impression and drawing attention. Possible techniques:

· Drama ("I'm not drunk.. but the doctor who delivered me might have been drunk")

· Creating curiosity: Presenting the topic in a surprising way.

· A photo or video and something not expected related to them.

· Giving a hint of what will happen (without full disclosure).

Lecture methods

There are several key methods for delivering a good lecture. You can choose one or combine several, but try not to exaggerate; It is wrong to combine too many forms in one talk:

Story storytelling

An excellent technique for planting an idea in the other person's head, but on the condition that one knows to apply it.


· Base on a character that the audience can identify with

· Base on the truth

· Build tension

· Go into details, but not too much

· End with a satisfactory solution; If possible - funny, exciting, or revealing.


A technique that fits when explaining complicated concepts is needed.


1. Starting position - starting from the listener's point of knowledge (and not yours!)

2. Creating curiosity to understand a gap that needs to be addressed.

3. Introducing concepts gradually, layer by layer, then linking them.

4. Using metaphors for clarification; using examples.

5. Creating enthusiasm among the audience as well (for example, by ruling out other options).


A technique that fits when you want to change worldviews logically. Steps:

1. Terma - a concept whose meaning is similar to UNFREEZE of Kotter: preparing the audience so that they are ready to hear a new idea, and thanks to it, the conclusion that will be presented will seem intuitive.

2. Conveying the main message using logic - this in one of several methods: • Logical sub-arguments: because-then • A detective story that leads to the desired conclusion

3. Completion - Completing the persuasion by ratification, a third monitor, humor, visual aids, etc.


Exposure of an idea is illustrated through a series of images, a live demonstration, or even a visionary description of life.


· Make sure there is a central theme that connects the parts

· The story must be conveyed internally, and not just the technical conduct

· The message must be conveyed in an accessible human language

· Make sure, if demonstrating, that the quality of the demonstration is indeed excellent and convincing

talk about the demonstration and its significance

is required to paint a bold picture of the alternative future and convey it in a way that will connect others to it.


Aids are not a substitute for a good lecture but only complements it. Do not overdo them.



Complement the lecturer and not copy his words; The slides should emphasize the lecturer's idea or show it.

WOW; Better visual and less verbal; 16:9 slide ratio; Videos - up to 30 seconds

font size- 24 at least; Simple and contrasting font color

· Effects of presentations: without.


Innovative multi-sensory

Multi-sensory means making an impression. It can include music, dancing, fireworks, flight, guestsBy surprise, and any other innovative means (panoramic screens, Pecha-Kucha presentations, holograms, etc.). You can use them as long as you are sure they will work as required.

Tip: Success depends on the small details and the timing of the transitions.

Apply only if you are sure it will indeed work. And in any case - remember the human factor. Critical.



· Speaker's stand: better without a podium or something that would hide the lecturer from the audience; If the lecturer must - choose something smaller that will only partially hide

· Backing up the content: Tabs or chapter heads are better than a single note. Guide slides can be used, or when necessary, a telephone, a security monitor, or even a reformatter (although the latter is limiting and should be avoided).

Voice and movement


· Voice: using the volume of the sound, its pitch, its rhythm, its tone, tone, and the melody as tools that help sincerity, excitement, and variety.

Silences - few, if any.

· Body stability: standing firm, steady, relaxed, yet authoritative and open. Avoid transferring weight from leg to leg.

· Walking on stage: possible, but moderately and comfortably. Mainly: lecturers - be yourself.


Sometimes, it is said that one must start with the best at the beginning and give an even more substantial ending. Daniel Kahneman (thinking fast and slow) Explains that previous experience is the most important when it comes to memory.

How do you create a successful ending?

Possibile techniques:

· Exit to the big picture (zoom out) for a wide array of implications arising from the lecture

· A call to action for the audience

as a result of the idea conveyed in the lecture

· Beyond the discourse of values ​​and vision

· Another short and elegant formulation (not yet mentioned) that describes the main idea of ​​the lecture briefly and in an excellent way to remember

· Closing the circle for the start of the lecture

· Poetic inspiration (a paragraph formulated in a poetic and inspiring way).

Don't end with a movie (a common mistake). It is always essential that your personal voice be heard at the end.

Preparations for the lecture

Andersen devotes a chapter in his book to whether to memorize the lecture or deliver it without learning it by heart. He enumerates the advantages of each method and leaves room for each lecturer to choose what suits his nature (although he seems to support memorization).

Memorizing: Advantages - more likely that the lecturer will stick to the schedule and remember all the messages.

The main emphasis - is to sound natural as if not memorized, maintaining eye contact with the audience; Advantages - the lecturer sounds natural; less risky that the lecturer will forget the words and get stuck.


Preparation of chapter headings.

Rehearse it (5-6 hours of practice for an 18-minute lecture).

Of course, you can combine.



· Compliance with the dress code of the place and the audience

· Brain clothing, preferably tight

· Accessories that won't rustle or ring

· Ironed clothes


People are stressed before facing a crowd.


· Understand that stress (at a certain level) will help preparation and a better lecture

· Deep breath

· Drink water while lecturing; eat before

· Possibly, use the pressure as a tool and connection to the audience

Summary: A lot of knowledge and many valuable tips.

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