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TED Talks by Chris Anderson

TED Talks by Chris Anderson, Book Summary

In 2016 I have a goal to read 50 books. This is the 6th book this year I have completed. The book was picked up by my wife, Super Parent Mom, as we tend to watch TED Talks before bed most nights.

This book is a great guide for anyone considering public speaking. It is chalk full of tips and considerations regarding how to present, more importantly how to prepare, dressing, use slides for your talks. It is an excellent book and a needed topic for all businessmen. (Click Here to Buy)

TED Talks – The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking

Prologue – The New Age of Fire
– That means that there’s a new superpower that anyone, young or old, can benefit from. It’s called presentation literacy. We live in an era where the best way to make a dent on the world may no longer be to write a letter to the editor or publish a book. It may be simply to stand up and say something… p. xii


Chapter 1: Presentation Literacy, The Skill You Can Build
A. The Day TED Might Have Died
B. The Boy with the Lion-Heart

– If you’re just an ordinary person, don’t try to fake some ig intellectual style; just be you. p. 10
Chapter 2: Idea Building, The Gift in Every Great Talk
– Your number-one mission as a speaker is to take something that matters deeply to you and to rebuild it inside the minds of your listeners. p. 12
A. Start with the Idea
– There’s one thing you have that no one else in the world has: Your own first-person experience of life.
– People love stories, and everyone can learn to tell a good story. p. 14
B. Procrastinate No More
C. The Astonishing Efficacy of Language

– You have something meaningful to say, and your goal is to re-create your core idea inside your audience’s minds. p. 17
– You can only use the tools that your audience has access to. p. 18
C. Yes, Words Matter
– In 1967, Professor Albert Mehrabian claimed that only 7% of the effectiveness of communication is down to language, while 38% depends on tone of voice and 55% comes from body language. (But this applies only to emotions.) p. 19
– It’s the words that tell a story, build an idea, explain the complex, make a reasoned case, or provide a compelling call to action. p. 20
D. The Journey
Chapter 3: Common Traps, Four Talk Styles to Avoid
A. The Sales Pitch
B. The Ramble
C. The Org Bore
D. The Inspiration Performance

Chapter 4: The Throughline, What’s Your Point?
– So how do you figure out your throughline? The first step is to find out as much as you can about the audience. p.34
A. The Wrong Way
– Overstuffed equals underexplained. p. 35
1. Show Why It Matters: What’s the question you’re trying to answer, the problem you’re trying to solve, the experience you’re trying to share?
2. Flesh Out Each Point: You make with real examples, stories, facts.
A. The Right Way
– You will only cover as much ground as you can dive into in sufficient depth to be compelling.
– So a throughline requires you first to identify an idea that can be properly unpacked in the time you have available. p. 39
B. From Throughline to Structure
– Sir Ken Robinson talks follow: Introduction, Context, Main Concepts, Practical Implications, Conclusion
– There’s an old formula for writing essays that says a good essay answers three questions: What? So What? Now What? p. 40
C. Tackling Tough Topics
– Think of your talk not as being about an issue, but about an idea. An issue-based talk leads with morality. An idea-based talk leads with curiosity. An issue exposes a problem. An idea proposes a solution. p. 41
D. The Checklist
– Choose a human being–an actual human being in your life–and prepare your talk as if you will be delivering it to that one person only. – Elizabeth Gilbert p. 42
– Talk about what you know. Talk about the subject that is most important to your life. p. 43

Talk Tools

Chapter 5: Connection, Get Personal
– Before you can build an idea in someone else’s mind, you need their permission. p. 47
A. Make Eye Contact, Right from the Start
– Scientists have shown that just the act of two people staring at each other will trigger mirror neuron activity that literally adopts the emotional state of the other person. p. 49
B. Show Vulnerability
– Authentic vulnerability is powerful. Oversharing is not. p. 53
C. Make ‘Em Laugh — But Not Squirm!
– Audiences who laugh with you quickly come to like you. p. 54
1. Tell Anecdotes relevant to your Subject Matter
2. Have a Funny Remark Ready if You Flub Your Words
3. Build Humor into Your Visuals
4. Use Satire, Saying the Opposite of What You Mean
5. Timing is Critical
6. If You are Not Funny, Don’t Try to Be Funny

D. Park Your Ego
E. Tell a Story
F. Ah, Politics
– If you want to reach people who radically disagree with you, your only chance is to put yourself in their shoes as best you can. Don’t use language that may trigger tribal responses. p. 62
Chapter 6: Narration, The Irresistible Allure of Stories
A. What Are the Elements of a Great Story?
– The classic formula is: A protagonist with goals meets an unexpected obstacle and a crisis results. The protagonist attempts to overcome the obstacle, leading to a climax, and finally a denouement. p. 65
– When it comes to sharing a story from the stage, remember to emphasize four key things:
1. Base it on a Character Your Audience can Empathize With
2. Build Tension
3. Offer the Right Level of Detail
4. End with a Satisfying Resolution

B. The Power of Parable
– By giving your talk as a story or a series of related stories, you can greatly increase your connection with your listeners. p. 71
Chapter 7: Explanation, How to Explain Tough Concepts
1. Start right where you are.
2. Light a fire called curiosity.
3. Bring in concepts one by one.
4. Use metaphors.
5. Use examples.

A. The Curse of Knowledge
– Did that make sense? Was anything confusing? p. 79
– It’s especially important to do a jargon check. p. 81
B. From Explanation to Excitement
Chapter 8: Persuasion, Reason Can Change Minds Forever
A. Persuasion and Priming
– Philosopher Daniel Dennett coined the term intuition pump to refer to any metaphor or lingustic device that intuitively makes a conclusion seem more plausible. This is priming. p. 89
B. The Long Reach of Reason
Reductio ad absurdum is the process of taking the counter position to what you’re arguing and showing that it leads to a contradiction. If the counter position is false, your position is strengthened (or even proven, if there are no other possible positions that could be taken). p. 91
C. Make Us Detectives
D. It Will Take More than Logic
1. Inject some humor early on.
2. Add an anecdote.
3. Offer vivid examples.
4. Recruit third-party validation.
5. Use powerful visuals.

Chapter 9: Revelation, Take My Breath Away!
A. The Wonder Walk
– You’re simply walking the audience through your work, or through something you’re passionate about, one piece at a time. p. 99
B. The Dynamic Demo
1. An initial tease
2. Necessary background, context, and/or the invention story
3. The Demo itself
4. The implications of the technology

C. The Dreamscape
– Dreams can be shared with images, with sketches, with demos… or just with words. p. 105
D. Mix and Match

Preparation Process

Chapter 10: Visuals, Those Sliders Hurt!
– The first question to ask yourself is whether you actually need any of it. p. 113
A. Reveal!
B. Explain!
– There is no value in simply repeating in text what you are saying on stage. p. 117
C. Delight!
D. Presentation Software Tips
E. Fonts/Typefaces
1. Font size
2. Font background
3. Font color

F. Legibility
G. What Not to Do
H. Explanations and Diagrams
I. Photo Credits
J. Pictures of You and Your Team
K. Videos
L. Transitions
M. Transporting Files
N. Rights
O. Testing
P. Working with Designers
Q. Version Control
Chapter 11: Scripting, To Memorize or Not to Memorize?
– What matters is that speakers are comfortable and confident, giving the talk in the way that best allows them to focus on what they’re passionate about. p. 133
A. Scripted Talks
1. Know the talk so it doesn’t sound scripted.
2. Refer to the script, don’t read it.
3. Condense the script to bullet points.

– Don’t think of it as reciting the talk. You’re suppose to live it. Embody it. It must come across as if you are sharing these ideas for the first time. p. 139
B. Unscripted Talks
1. Pitfalls: Suddenly you can’t, in the moment, find the words to explain a key concept.
2. That you leave out something crucial.
3. That you overrun your time slot.

– The majority of TED speakers do in fact script their whole talk and memorize it, and they do their best to avoid letting it sound memorized. p. 147
Chapter 12: Run-Throughs, Wait, I need to Rehearse?
– The phrase unintentional memorization is an important one. If you rehearse enough, you may find yourself simply knowing the talk in its best form. p. 150
– I recommend you have someone record these rehearsals on a smartphone so that you can take a look at yourself in action. p. 154
Chapter 13: Open and Close, What Kind of Impression Would You Like to Make?
A. Four Ways to Start Strong
1. Deliver a dose of drama
2. Ignite curiosity
3. Show a compelling slide, video, or object
4. Tease, but don’t give it away

B. Seven Ways to End with Power
1. Camera pull-back
2. Call to action
3. Personal commitment
4. Values and vision
5. Satisfying encapsulation
6. Narrative symmetry
7. Lyrical inspiration

On Stage

Chapter 14: Wardrobe, What Should I Wear?
– The audience loves bold, vibrant colors, and so does the camera. p. 180
– It is worth rehearsing your talk in the outfit you plan to wear. p. 181
Chapter 15: Mental Prep, How Do I Control My Nerves?
1. Use your fear as motivation.
2. Let your body help you!
3. Drink water.
4. Avoid an empty stomach.
5. Remember the power of vulnerability.
6. Find “friends” in the audience.
7. Have a backup plan.
8. Focus on what you’re talking about.

Chapter 16: Setup, Lectern, Confidence Monitor, Note Cards, or (Gulp) Nothing?
A. Comfort Backup
B. Slides as Guides
C. Hand-Held Note Cards
D. Smartphone or Tablet
E. Confidence Monitors
F. Teleprompter/Autocue
G. Unobtrusive Lectern
Chapter 17: Voice and Presence, Give Your Words the Life They Deserve
– Speak with: Connection, Engagement, Curiosity, Understanding, Empathy, Excitement, Conviction, Action p. 199
A. Speak with Meaning
– Remember all the emotions associated with each passage of your talk. p. 202
A. Recruit Your Body
B. Do It Your Way
Chapter 18: Format Innovation, The Promise (and Peril) of Full-Spectrum Talks
– At TED, we use the term full spectrum to describe those attempts to build more into a talk than just words and slides. p. 209
A. Dramatic Props
B. Panoramic Screens
C. Multisense Stimulation
D. Live Podcasting
E. Illustrated Interview
F. Spoken Word Fusion
G. Videopoetry Exploration
H. Added Musical Soundtrack
I. The Lessig Method
J. Dual Presenters
K. New Debate Formats
L. Slide Blizzard
M. Live Exhibition
N. Surprise Appearances
O. Virtual Presenters
P. No Live Audience


Chapter 19: Talk Renaissance, The Interconnectedness of Knowledge
A. The Age of Knowledge
– We’re going to need: contextual knowledge, creative knowledge, and a deeper understanding of our own humanity. p. 235
Chapter 20: Why This Matter, The Interconnectedness of People
– More than 1000 speakers have gone on to reach an audience greater than 1 million people for a single talk. This represents a transformative leap in influence, and many speakers have attested to the impact it has made on their work. p. 242
A. A TEDx Event Near You
B. A Kids’ Program for Presentation Literacy
C. Upload Your Own TED Talk
Chapter 21: Your Turn, The Philosopher’s Secret
– We are physically connected to each other like never before. Which means that our ability to share our best ideas with each other matters more than it ever has. p. 252

For more information or to purchase Chris Anderson’s book “TED Talks” click here.

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Fred Campos, Top Geek, blogs about everything from education to parenting. In addition to blogging, he is a public speaker and humorist in child custody, social media, web development and parenting. He is married to one SuperParentMom blogger, and raising three world changes. For more details on websites, Like this post? Make sure you subscribe to this blog.

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