Today I’m joining Steven Pinker of Harvard University, bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert, and Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author, in their praise of Chris Anderson’s book, TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking.
Chris Anderson is the Curator of TED, the wildly-popular platform for people with big ideas “worth spreading.” Most people know TED Talks as short presentations given by people with great ideas. While the book’s focus is on how to present a TED Talk, the information and advice is valuable for anyone giving any kind of talk. To quote the aforementioned Adam Grant, “If you ever plan to utter a sound, this is a must-read. It gives me hope that words can actually change the world.”
Chris’ launching pad is The Official TED Talk Guide Playlist. The talks serve as illustrations for various points in the book. The book itself is reminiscent of a well-delivered speech: it holds your attention and makes you want to know what’s coming next.
Some of the key points Anderson covers in the book include:
- – The point of any talk: saying something meaningful.
- – The throughline: what is the thread that connects all of the parts of your talk? You should be able summarize it in just a few words such as “More choice actually makes us less happy” or “Online videos can humanize the classroom and revolutionize education.”
- – How to tell a story for maximum impact.
- – How to explain a complex subject
One of the most interesting aspects of TED Talks is the impact that the talks have had on the speakers’ lives. From Monica Lewinsky to an unknown boy in Africa who figured out how to save his village’s cows from lion attacks while also sparing the lions’ lives, speakers have often gained much more than they gave as a result of their talk.
I found the book to be a little dry in places, but overall, it’s a great tool for improving your speaking skills and definitely worth the time and money.
Have you read the book or used any of the tips Anderson gives? Let me know what you thought!
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