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How to Deliver a TED Talk: Don’t Give Away Your Life Story

“One of the biggest mistakes that speakers make is trying to pack a lifetime worth of learning into a single talk.” How to Deliver a TED Talk by Jeremey Donovan, page 14

This passage hit me personally; right between the eyes. And it probably pertains to you, too, when trying to convince a prospect to follow your lead. “Speaking” may not be the correct word. Perhaps we should use the word “sharing.” After all, that is what we “speakers” do for a living. We share information, experiences, mistakes, and success stories. Speaking, in and of itself, is just noise unless the gist of what is being shared is meaningful to the audience.

Click on the book to grab your own copy of "How to Deliver a TED Talk"

Click on the book to grab your own copy of “How to Deliver a TED Talk”

While I think if it, let me “share” this thought with you. I often remind myself of this sage advice prior to taking a stage: “Don’t talk unless you can improve upon the silence.” This is a great reminder. Another little sidebar while I have your attention: They say it takes two to tango. It also takes two to communicate… at least two. You have a sender and you have a receiver. Unless the two are working together, you just have a bunch of noise. (Back to today’s message.) As speakers (sharers) the problem is we have lots to share, and too little time to “do our thing.” We are often allotted a certain amount of time in any given conference or corporate meeting to make a connection with an audience and leave them with something to think about. With any luck, what we say will result in a positive behavior change. But once the introduction is complete, we feel we have to squeeze a lifetime of learning into a 60-minute time frame. In my business, this is affectionately known as a “Data-Dump.” We have a tendency to hit on a number of salient points (by our definition), while breezing over each topic without clearly delivering a message. When this occurs, the speech resembles an exercise rather than a valuable interactive experience. The answer: Focus on three to five points that have the potential to make a difference in your audience’s lives and make certain you cover the bases. I hope today’s message has you thinking about how you deliver your presentation to your clients. Are you helping them understand important features and benefits, or are you wasting the time given to deliver a travel-related data dump? When you have a lot to share, be it with growing a business or creating a memorable vacation experience, this advice is easier said than done. But if you can’t improve upon the silence, perhaps it is best for you, too, to remain silent.


Mike presents a business-building webinar on the third Thursday of every month sponsored by AmaWaterways. To receive monthly invitations send Mike an email with the words “business training” in the Subject Box. You will also receive a link to the recorded version. For information on Mike’s Fourth Annual Training Cruise, email Mike at mike@mikemarchev.com with the word “cruise” in the subject box.

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