TED’s secret to great public speaking | Chris Anderson

Some people think that there’s
a TED Talk formula: “Give a talk on a round, red rug.” “Share a childhood story.” “Divulge a personal secret.” “End with an inspiring call to action.” No. That’s not how to think of a TED Talk. In fact, if you overuse those devices, you’re just going to come across
as clichéd or emotionally manipulative. But there is one thing that all
great TED Talks have in common, and I would like to share
that thing with you, because over the past 12 years,
I’ve had a ringside seat, listening to many hundreds
of amazing TED speakers, like these. I’ve helped them prepare
their talks for prime time, and learned directly from them their secrets of what
makes for a great talk. And even though these speakers
and their topics all seem completely different, they actually do have
one key common ingredient. And it’s this: Your number one task as a speaker is to transfer into your listeners’ minds
an extraordinary gift — a strange and beautiful object
that we call an idea. Let me show you what I mean. Here’s Haley. She is about to give a TED Talk and frankly, she’s terrified. (Video) Presenter: Haley Van Dyck! (Applause) Over the course of 18 minutes, 1,200 people, many of whom
have never seen each other before, are finding that their brains
are starting to sync with Haley’s brain and with each other. They’re literally beginning to exhibit
the same brain-wave patterns. And I don’t just mean
they’re feeling the same emotions. There’s something even more
startling happening. Let’s take a look inside
Haley’s brain for a moment. There are billions of interconnected
neurons in an impossible tangle. But look here, right here — a few million of them
are linked to each other in a way which represents a single idea. And incredibly, this exact pattern
is being recreated in real time inside the minds of everyone listening. That’s right; in just a few minutes, a pattern involving millions of neurons is being teleported into 1,200 minds, just by people listening to a voice
and watching a face. But wait — what is an idea anyway? Well, you can think of it
as a pattern of information that helps you understand
and navigate the world. Ideas come in all shapes and sizes, from the complex and analytical to the simple and aesthetic. Here are just a few examples
shared from the TED stage. Sir Ken Robinson — creativity
is key to our kids’ future. (Video) Sir Ken Robinson:
My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it
with the same status. Chris Anderson: Elora Hardy —
building from bamboo is beautiful. (Video) Elora Hardy:
It is growing all around us, it’s strong, it’s elegant,
it’s earthquake-resistant. CA: Chimamanda Adichie —
people are more than a single identity. (Video) Chimamanda Adichie:
The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes
is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. CA: Your mind is teeming with ideas, and not just randomly. They’re carefully linked together. Collectively they form
an amazingly complex structure that is your personal worldview. It’s your brain’s operating system. It’s how you navigate the world. And it is built up out of millions
of individual ideas. So, for example, if one little
component of your worldview is the idea that kittens are adorable, then when you see this, you’ll react like this. But if another component of your worldview is the idea that leopards are dangerous, then when you see this, you’ll react a little bit differently. So, it’s pretty obvious why the ideas that make up
your worldview are crucial. You need them to be as reliable
as possible — a guide, to the scary but wonderful
real world out there. Now, different people’s worldviews
can be dramatically different. For example, how does your worldview react
when you see this image: (Video) Dalia Mogahed:
What do you think when you look at me? “A woman of faith,”
“an expert,” maybe even “a sister”? Or “oppressed,” “brainwashed,” “a terrorist”? CA: Whatever your answer, there are millions of people out there
who would react very differently. So that’s why ideas really matter. If communicated properly,
they’re capable of changing, forever, how someone thinks about the world, and shaping their actions both now
and well into the future. Ideas are the most powerful force
shaping human culture. So if you accept that your number one task
as a speaker is to build an idea inside the minds of your audience, here are four guidelines
for how you should go about that task: One, limit your talk
to just one major idea. Ideas are complex things; you need to slash back your content
so that you can focus on the single idea
you’re most passionate about, and give yourself a chance
to explain that one thing properly. You have to give context,
share examples, make it vivid. So pick one idea, and make it the through-line
running through your entire talk, so that everything you say
links back to it in some way. Two, give your listeners a reason to care. Before you can start building things
inside the minds of your audience, you have to get their permission
to welcome you in. And the main tool to achieve that? Curiosity. Stir your audience’s curiosity. Use intriguing, provocative questions to identify why something
doesn’t make sense and needs explaining. If you can reveal a disconnection
in someone’s worldview, they’ll feel the need
to bridge that knowledge gap. And once you’ve sparked that desire, it will be so much easier
to start building your idea. Three, build your idea, piece by piece, out of concepts that your audience
already understands. You use the power of language to weave together
concepts that already exist in your listeners’ minds — but not your language, their language. You start where they are. The speakers often forget that many
of the terms and concepts they live with are completely unfamiliar
to their audiences. Now, metaphors can play a crucial role
in showing how the pieces fit together, because they reveal
the desired shape of the pattern, based on an idea that the listener
already understands. For example, when Jennifer Kahn wanted to explain the incredible
new biotechnology called CRISPR, she said, “It’s as if, for the first time, you had a word processor to edit DNA. CRISPR allows you to cut and paste
genetic information really easily.” Now, a vivid explanation like that
delivers a satisfying aha moment as it snaps into place in our minds. It’s important, therefore,
to test your talk on trusted friends, and find out which parts
they get confused by. Four, here’s the final tip: Make your idea worth sharing. By that I mean, ask yourself the question: “Who does this idea benefit?” And I need you to be honest
with the answer. If the idea only serves you
or your organization, then, I’m sorry to say,
it’s probably not worth sharing. The audience will see right through you. But if you believe that the idea
has the potential to brighten up someone else’s day or change someone else’s
perspective for the better or inspire someone to do
something differently, then you have the core ingredient
to a truly great talk, one that can be a gift to them
and to all of us.

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100 Responses

  1. Nightcore Shiro says:

    We're having a performance task in my school and our task is to give a Ted talk

  2. Theodore Vegh says:

    Visit the web site for ted talks and watch one each day K-12 about your 50 year career!

  3. Theodore Vegh says:

    Teach British English to American children K-12! It is more efficient and more effective than American English! -Theodore Alexander Vegh


    Public speaking is feared more by most then death. Check ou my latest VID how to destroy this fear. 100% success guaranteed.

  5. Psychologie-lernen .de says:

    good video 🙂

  6. Akmal Hakim Sabri says:

    I got a talk tommorow so i watch this

  7. Michael Toolis says:

    What an absolute load of vague and mystical nonsense. Standard TED style…

  8. Ted Andersson says:

    My namn ted

  9. 유정의 says:

    세뇌당한다는 얘기네 ㅋㅋㅋ Brainwashed

  10. Rafael Jordão says:


  11. Softy says:

    TED talks always seem to come across as emotionally manipulative

  12. Javiera Reinoso says:

    I recommend analizing this talk in fuction of the elements presented in the talk, it's a great excersie

  13. dontw00shme says:

    Casually watching 2 hours before help me

  14. succeedwme123 says:

    Wow increadibly experienced interesting and very enlighten a must listen

  15. succeedwme123 says:

    Also like how he encorporates scientific explanation for a good speech

  16. Diane Waye says:

    So glad I saw this talk! (the night before my presentation lol) I could rest assured that I was on the right path, be inspired by Chris' message (and graphics of ideas lighting up in listeners brains!), and reminded of graceful techniques. Thanks Chris!

  17. I'm fine says:

    Step 80: Huff your own farts

  18. SAMNATHIS says:

    I see what they did with the kitten there

  19. Med Smalo says:

    2 days besfore the presentation 😀

  20. indra setiawan says:

    1:30 is that an elon musk ? if i'm not mistaken

  21. Tristan Möller says:

    4:19 Clearly a terrorist

  22. Meor Syafiq says:

    Thank you for the videoooo.. Helps me a lott :))

  23. Gabby Coutino says:

    lol watching 5 hours before speech

  24. Motivation With Kailas says:

    What TED Talk is not about (0:13)
    What is TED Talk about ? (1:08)

  25. Smug Smugly says:

    I don't believe that I have the capability of being able to couch anything in a vernacular that's going to be understood by the people that you want me to talk to.

  26. Amy Smith says:

    Public Speaking: Secrets for Success http://amzn.to/2BGT3fe

  27. Practice of the Practice says:

    Thanks for the great points about public speaking!

  28. ninad chaudhari says:

    I am from shirpur In India
    I hope that I can experience a Ted talk here.
    Thanks for all

  29. Memey Boy says:

    Who else is doing a public speech?

  30. snatched wig says:

    Stewie is that you?

  31. Sydney Kambatika says:

    build an idea in the minds of your audience 4:24

  32. Suvishard says:

    Thank you 🙏

  33. Genesis Vargas says:

    This is great. Usually when you come around videos that give you some kind of secret, it's usually something obvious and unimportant (or clickbait), but thus video was actually really helpful. Thank you!

  34. Abigail Garcia says:

    So cool! He’s giving a TED talk about how to give a TED Talk

  35. Clara Mercier says:

    isn't the cat part more of an instinct ?

  36. Brody Mikelson says:


  37. Spyros Bonatsos says:


  38. Lysandra Perez says:


  39. Ayşegül Ayşegül says:

    What is Chris's accent?? British?

  40. TheLeadersTeacher says:

    Thank you very much for this beautiful Gift

  41. Tara Alhaffar says:

    i have to write a ted talk and i am presenting on thursday

  42. Kenneth Blacksimus says:

    All paths lead to Hillary’s emails.

  43. Sholawat channel says:

    Pelease, transite to indonesian laguage, thnk

  44. Carole Proszowski - Laboratoire du jeu Solid Milk says:

    what a fantastic share.

  45. Mai Mohamed says:

    Very helpful✨👌

  46. silvi thomas says:

    Really worth hearing.Thank you

  47. Ultimate Psychology says:

    "Who does this idea benefit?"

  48. who am i says:


  49. Matthew Kritzer says:

    Today's world population only accounts for about 8% of the population that has ever lived going back to 50000 BC. Get your facts straight before you announce that your facts are correct.

  50. Joel Barrameda says:



    1:10 A straaaaange and beautiful object that we call an idea. An idea is an object? Mind blown.

  52. Marco Arede says:

    Looking forward for a next edition. This is a nice event about technology, knowledge sharing and learning. See you next in Lisbon, Berlin or Amsterdam!

  53. Laurianne Brabant says:

    Is it possible to have the references for the ted talks given in the examples? I would like to listen to it.

  54. Skeptics we love you anyway says:

    I have heard some great talks that didn't follow some of these. And talks that are supposed to respect this but tiring.
    On top of this, the video was more a series of technical 'requirements' than 'a secret', it's badly filmed, badly editted, and it took me great effort to stay concentrated the whole thing and to finish it.

    Be yourself, and enjoy talking, is what you should do. Don't be more solemn than necessary, especially if too many people are already doing it. Don't create artificial suspens to force us to listen to you for 20 minutes out of duty or waiting for the great part of it only to make us feel bad or sorry for you in the end, or to make us clap at your courage in a situation not applicable to anyone and that doesn't teach anything *practical*.
    And finally, a short talk that is tedious and unnatural is much more of a waste of time and attention than a 1 hour talk that takes long-cuts with joy and spontaneity.

  55. hind mahmoud says:

    sir you are amazing❤

  56. Praison Joshua says:

    What were the video in the video block in the begging

  57. Jack Malcolm says:

    I would add one more, which Chris should adopt: get to the point as quickly as possible.

  58. Threelly AI says:

    2019 anyone?

  59. Paloma Cantero Gomez says:

    The 7 Golden Tips To Make People Engage During Your Presentation 

  60. aishah ahmed says:

    getting into law/politics soooo

  61. Mia Lane Johnson says:

    Step 5. overdose on medication for nervousness if you dont wanna have a mental break down

  62. PoPo says:

    damn i have a presentation the next half hour

  63. Threelly AI says:

    Watch a 30 mins video in 3 mins. The BEST extension in google chrome store. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/threelly-ai-for-youtube/dfohlnjmjiipcppekkbhbabjbnikkibo
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  64. SciGuy says:

    This bored me. I only made it part way.

  65. sub to PewDiePie says:

    How many of you know he is Pakistani

  66. agostinho reis says:

    WoW amazing i really loved

  67. Kunal Shah says:

    This is goldmine, please never remove this video

  68. Johannes Minge says:

    I saw this before my wedding, lol

  69. Sreekumar K says:

    By the by I think, not only for the ted talks but great lives also follow the same pattern behind. A reasonable purpose to share with in the society and work for the same . It may be a business,tech innovation, social change or anything. Great paradigm!

  70. Sreekumar K says:

    By the by I think, not only for the ted talks but great lives also follow the same pattern behind. A reasonable purpose to share with in the society and work for the same . It may be a business,tech innovation, social change or anything. Great paradigm!

  71. KSGV says:

    TED himself, has finally given the talk.

  72. That.One.Fizzy says:

    Im doing my Speaking GCSE on why Laughing is the Best Medicine

  73. Ashley Mercado says:

    Thank you! This is simple and big help in my public speaking next week. Wish me luck!

  74. AppsCo Team says:

    Great video!

  75. Basic Idea says:

    i want to give speech in your platform please let me know the process

  76. AquilaChe #B-ADOS says:

    Daym…. I totally zoned out on his presentation…😳

  77. Abdullah Ajab says:

    I love public speaking. I hope I can move people one day

    I think that is my destiny.

    I have a lot to share with people around the world

  78. Zsanett László says:

    Does anybody has the links to those great Ted talks he's talking about?

  79. Clyth Rollins says:

    Ideas are moving cars that trajects from the point of origin to another and still has the sense of the subject.

  80. Erna Wiyati says:

    Thanks very much more than this 👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷

  81. Smallstudio Design says:

    I remember a British Architect saying to me eons ago, " … it's not about actually being talented, it's about appearing to be talented?"

  82. overTIMe says:

    Anna Torv @1:42 ?

  83. RatnaAyu Nandaretta says:

    Oh sir I admire you already

  84. Nazareth toxinious says:

    Has got nothing to do with 'great public speaking'
    This video was a reitration of the fact that your audience will listen to you regardless of what you have to say as long as you have a great platform to be on.

  85. Darth Vader says:

    I love how he followed his own rules for a good speech, in a speech about how to give a good speech.

  86. Shabeeb C K says:

    Great tips

  87. ricardo feliz says:

    dou le re doy

  88. OldMcNessie HadALoch says:

    For those of you who don't know, this guy is Ted. Chris. Teddy Chris mc teddington

  89. Chad Patrick says:

    I have never been more bored by a speech on how to give a great speech

  90. Sudenaz Coşkun says:

    We have a ted talk concept in our school and I am here for that😂 I have 5 days left and I didn't do anything 🤦‍♀️

  91. The Breakthrough Co says:

    We've created a Short video on 5 steps to Nail Presentations every time. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpskbqTaGPw&list=PL0F3ySgGgpT2xzWX1pu7c_IZk-KVNetfR&index=7&t=0s

  92. shaynelhta says:

    old guy says, "there's no formula." Then, proceeds to go on about how the non-formula links everyone's brains…

  93. Steven Burns says:

    Goes for help on public speaking. Sees the secret for TED Talks. Gets more TED Talks.

  94. BdonDaGREENKing says:

    Wish me luck speech tournament tomorrow it’s 10/25/19 I REALLY HOPE I GET 4 SUPIORS, Best score

  95. [GD] 044Charlie says:

    I'm only hear because I always have some kind of awkward pause in the middle of speech or Socratic seminar

  96. Joseph Vaughn says:

    Gooooood morning Vietnam

  97. tom jary says:

    My first public speech for the world " Hey scum of the earth go fcuk🖕 yourselves. Thanks a lot for the jail time bloody perverts"
    🤣🤣🤣 honestly this will be my original speech.

  98. Stuart Knechtle says:

    Intense college campus debate between Muslim and Christian! How to grow in public speaking abilities. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzgV9gvE3nA&t=62s

    Subscribe on YouTube: “Give Me an Answer”

    Follow on instagram-  give_me_an_answer_

  99. HerkHal[] says:


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