Here are Best Ted Talks 2019. They are Secrets Worth Spreading.

Here are Best Ted Talks 2019. They are Secrets Worth Spreading.

With respect to whatever you do in life, we totally understand that you don`t have endless hours to lean over your macbook watching all those recently released Ted Talks, especially when (if talking frankly) not all of them are worth your time. So we have done the work for you! Not  just we watched all the most recent Ted Talks and picked the best in terms of structure, voice, and body language, which (if you are following us for a while, you already know) are three pillars of public speaking, but also, right here and right now, in simple words we will explain you why these talks are good and which tools the speakers successfully used. Naturally, if you are not a professional public speaker, these tools and techniques tend to elude your attention, leaving you wondering: why the hell was this talk so catchy? Reading this article will shed light on the subject and give you a nice, valuable take away.

TED talks with powerful voices

My Identity is a Superpower – Not an Obstacle

Minority stories are important. They inspire us and dare to change our image of success and opportunities, claims an actor, director and activist America Ferrera.

She will take you through her life journey while applying the whole range of vocal variety to encourage, persuade and gain empathy from the audience. She shouts out when the triumph sparks and turns to unconditional passion when tells ideas that might have never crossed your mind before. Starting the speech with a personal story, she tends to rush through a sentence up to the point where the insight hits. Then she makes a pause and takes a deep breath allowing the information to sink in. In that way she builds up a big point, accumulates the tension, speeds up more and more and more, and then… in a well-conditioned voice she emphasises every word and every syllable when it comes to the key message. There is no monorhythm, no monostyle in her presentation. She mixes up all the elements and that is the reason why her voice fascinates us so much.

Watching this speech can teach us how to take a full benefit of the pauses and be variable in tone, volume and speed.

The Case For Having Kid

Wajahad Ali tells about startling figures of global fertility rate and explains why in a situation of global warming and planet overpopulation it is still a good idea to have kids.
First thing that grasps attention is speaker’s deep, powerful voice. This can be achieved by speaking from a diaphragm, instead of a throat. It is not a secret that a voice that comes from a diaphragm sounds stronger and more persuasive, not to mention sexy. So using this technique helps him almost effortlessly resonate well in the room. Another thing to consider is his tendency to stress every last word in a sentence, and even last sounds in a word, hence eliminating the risk of being misheard. Wajahad Ali’s voice is easy on the ears, has a wide range of natural pitches and is simply pleasurable to listen to.

Watching this speech can teach us how to speak from a diaphragm to create deep and powerful voice.

TED talks with powerful body language

Digital Humans Thay Look Just Like Us

Doug Roble delivers a speech through a virtual copy of himself on the screen to confirm that technologies have gone way further than we could imagine, and it is yet to figure out which possibilities and concerns they will bring with them.
As a person whose face and body have been repeatedly scanned, Doug is highly aware about his mimics and gestures. Everything he says is mirrored by his body language and facial expressions. Talking heads era is left behind. Now, people want to see the whole body engaged into speaking. Important to mention that Doug Roble uses closed hands gesture as a comfortable “stand-by” position, that is sometimes overused by speakers and can indicate nervousness and tension. However, in this video we can see a loose clasping of hands instead of locking them up, which prevents him from getting stuck in this position for too long as it is easy to naturally continue gesturing. Doug Roble takes physical expressiveness to the next level and still looks natural and comfortable in his own body.

Watching this speech can teach us how to mirror everything said with gestures and communicate the message through the body.

Sleep is Your Superpower

Matt Walker, a sleep scientist, tells about the crucial harm that the lack of sleep brings to our health, and shares a bunch of advice to those who suffer from tossing and turning in bed.

In this speech, we can see Matt Walker`s gestures reflecting everything he says, as if he was using so called invisible props. Notice how his hands follow and complement the spoken word. Even watching the video on mute can be entertaining as there is a whole sub-story told with body language itself. Moreover, the confident stance of the speaker (he is neither shifting weight from one leg to another, nor pacing unpurposely around the stage) completes the picture of experienced and prepared presentation.

Watching this speech can teach us how to vary your body language and have a confident stance on the stage.

TED talks with powerful structure

How I Climbed a 3000-Foot Vertical Cliff

What drives a man to climb a 3,000-foot vertical cliff without a rope? What preparation routine stands behind it and which thoughts circulate inside the head in the culmination moment, will tell a professional rock climber Alex Honnold.

He starts his story in the middle, providing us with spoilers about the end result and then unfolds the chain of events gradually in a main body. He reverses the formula of typical storytelling. This may sound like a bad idea at first, but surprisingly, it builds the anticipation. Why? Because he gives the audience a promise that the juicy part is coming and is worth waiting for. Once the audience`s attention is caught, he returns to the beginning of events, explains the mechanism, gives some numbers, compares it to something people can relate to and then wraps it with a witty conclusion.

Watching this speech can teach us how to play with the sequence of events in a presentation to draw attention and make the audience lean forward in anticipation.

The Disarming Case to Act Right Now On Climate Change

Greta Thunberg, a Swedish activist who initiated a school strike for climate change, warns us that if we don`t take the thread seriously life of her generation will be doomed, let along the life of her children.
Greta Thunberg starts her powerful speech with a personal insight, smoothly extands it to the global level, then she recklessly blames the humanity in neglecting the climate change (not without inserting jokes every now and then to keep it easy for the audience to absorb the information) and crashes the unspoken rule of positive ending, leaving us with a heavy heart. This combination of a personal story in a world-wide problem context gives us no choice but to relate to every word and realize that each one of us is involved, each person contributes to the spiraling crisis, even by doing nothing. The speaker masters the tension by using frequent well-placed pauses, confirming what Mark Twain once said: “The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.”

Watching this speech can teach us how to discuss a general topic through a personal perspective and use pauses to strengthen your message.

Are you still here? Awesome! Then you can have a look at a bunch of other articles below where we distribute for free all those amazing public speaking secrets. Or, if you feel like you have had enough of the theory and it is time to get into serious business with your own presentation.

Olha Minchenko

Content Manager @ Get Sandwich

An entrepreneur in the past, Olha built a career in translation, working on a variety of projects from fiction books to medical manuals. Currently exploring the field of Content Marketing she finds inspiration in good writing and promising authors.

How to Write a Killer Intro

How to Write a Killer Intro

The introduction is your chance to captivate the audience. Their attention and willingness to listen to you for the next 5, 15 or 30 minutes depend on the way you start the first 15 seconds. 

In 1962, Bennet Murdock in his article called “Serial Position Effect of Free Recall” stated that people remember the beginning and the ending long after they have forgotten most of what was said in the middle. So introduction and conclusion not only frame your speech but also they might be the only things that people will remember out of your presentation. And you do not want either of them to fall flat. As Margaret Atwood once smartly noted: “A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used.”

Now, recall the poor introduction I`ve started with. If my goal was to bore the listeners to death – I`ve reached it. After 20 seconds your brain started to send signals that it is the right time to draw a phone out of the pocket and check how things are on Instagram.

Let us focus on three good ideas of how to actually start a speech.

1. Once upon a time …

One of the best ways to start a speech is to say: “Once upon a time…” However, these words would sound odd within an academic topic. So let us rephrase it. Start your speech with “Once…” “In the year 19……” “At the dawn of a new century…” You got the point. Start with a short story that is connected to your topic. Introduce a real person, remember, even if you talk about software, there are always people behind the production, tell about the founders, consumers, your own experience. Be creative, nothing grabs attention better than a well-told story.

2. Start directly in the action

Find a context where your presentation will be relevant to a specific audience. Use descriptive language to help them visualize what you are telling about. Start your sentences with “Imagine…” Or ask the audience questions: “When was the last time…”

3. Brief preview

If you are totally stuck – no ideas on how to best orient your audience, no ideas on the topic or context – at minimum give a preview of what you are going to talk about. Start with the words: “I will talk to you about 3 things: the bread, the butter, and the cucumber…”

Now, when you got one step closer to giving a successful presentation, let us learn to avoid the common mistakes in the introduction:

Presentation intro is not an introduction of yourself

Usually, the audience already knows who you are and what you will talk about before you step on the stage. So no need to tell your full name, occupied position or the years of experience you have in the current job. This will not make them lean forward in anticipation. Rather start with why should they listen to you. How your topic is related to their lives. How they can use this information. If you do need to introduce yourself, it is better to do it right after the intro when their attention is already hooked. And of course, make it short and clear.

Presentation intro is not a sound check

Even though this might sound obvious, many speakers still enter the stage apologizing for a technical delay, checking the sound and taking time to adjust the equipment. Even worse, they start with apologizing for being nervous. It will not benefit your presentation no matter how confidently and easy-going you act afterwards. Respect people’s time and prepare everything in advance. If possible, make friends with the staff and ask them to help you with your slides so that the moment you are on the stage everything goes smoothly.

Presentation intro is not a brief outline

Don’t go through the outline in your intro. You do not want to open the cards before the game even starts. Your task is to orient the audience towards the body of the presentation, not giving them all the “meat”. What you can do is explain the topic, tell why it is important and how the audience will benefit from getting this information. But don`t go into details.

Presentation intro is not a conclusion

Imagine that introduction and conclusion are two bookends holding up your speech. They have to be equally strong but not contain the same information. Leave your punch line for the end of the speech and focus more on arising listeners curiosity, perk up some interest from the audience towards your topic. Place them in a scene or in a situation that is similar to what you are trying to teach them. Let them understand the practical value of the presentation, because eventually, their ultimate goal is to learn something new and apply it later on.

For any outline there are 1000 ways to start a presentation – don`t get stuck with just one of them. Play with different approaches, find several that works the best for you, be creative and exlore.

An example

I created a sample outline in the previous lesson on outlining. If I want to create an introduction to it, I need to ask these questions:

What’s the most common experience people in the audience have where my topic is relevant?

Since the outline is about a career change, I can start with:

  • A situation where I just got made redundant/fired.
  • A daily mundane routine that I have to do every day just to get paid salary.
  • My friend did a career change and I got very envious.

After that, I look through the above; and decided I’ll tell a story about my day that I found super boring (the second point). Once I do that, I can decide on some format for the first sentence. The format is easy to choose once you pick the context for your intro. These are some examples of the first sentences based on my super boring routines:

Question: Have you had a bad day?

Story: I woke up this morning at 6 and went to work at 8. I’ve done that for the last 10 years, and I’m bored with it.

Quotation: “I tend to get bored quickly, which means I must be boring”, Sir Anthony Hopkins. That’s what I thought every morning, but I was wrong.

Statistic: According to The Forbes 70% of employees hate their jobs

Startling statement: Suicide is the leading cause of death in England in adults below the age of 50, and past research shows that some occupations are at particularly high risk.

Personal anecdote or experience: Today, I woke up, got dressed and took the bus to work. When sitting on a back seat I saw that I still have my slippers on, I suddenly realized how much I hate my job.

Humor: “To bore or not to bore, that is the question”.

Expert opinion: Scientist says…

What to do next?

Make a list of 3 possible contexts for your introduction where the audience can easily relate to

For one of the context, write five sentences of how you will start your introduction. Note that I won’t ask you to write your entire presentation, but I find writing intros are very useful because it improves your confidence when you first start talking. Once you have the intro done, usually it’s much easier to get into the flow of speaking.

Olha Minchenko

Content Manager @ Get Sandwich

An entrepreneur in the past, Olha built a career in translation, working on a variety of projects from fiction books to medical manuals. Currently exploring the field of Content Marketing she finds inspiration in good writing and promising authors.

How to pick a speech topic your audience will actually love

How to pick a speech topic your audience will actually love

We’ve all been there.

You have a speech booked at Toastmasters (or something similar) and you have no idea what to talk about. It’s understandable that the task can seem so daunting.

Picking a topic for a prepared speech can be like choosing a plot for that novel you’ve been meaning to write; your mind is either totally empty or it’s full of so many ideas that you just don’t know which one to go with.

Choosing the “best” topic is one of the important aspects of successful public speaking, so what’s the best way to turn this confusion into a viable topic?

Here are some simple tips to help you find the best speech topic for you:

 

1. What do you want to achieve?

It sounds obvious, but lots of people don’t stop to ask themselves this question and go straight on to step 2.

Are you trying to write a persuasive speech? An inspirational speech? An informative speech? Are you trying to challenge yourself by giving a speech outside of your comfort zone?

If you are trying to win a competition, check what guidelines have been published and see what kind of speeches have won before. Certain topics might be discouraged or forbidden; alternatively, certain kinds of topics might be perennial winners. Watch videos of previous competition winners and go to the competition website to make sure you are familiar with what sort of things are allowed.

Making sure that you are clear about what your goal is and what external constraints there are will help you decide if your speech topic is going to help you achieve this aim.

 

 

 

 

2. Pick something you are interested in

So, now that you know your aim; whether it be to inspire, to inform, to persuade or something else entirely, you need a topic that will fulfill it.

Whilst contemplating the various topics available to you, you might come across something that you think would be worthy of more investigation. Before you go further, you need to ask yourself the next question: do I actually find this topic interesting? If it doesn’t fill you with much excitement, then you are unlikely to carry your audience with you on whatever journey you want to take them.

If you pick something that you think is interesting, then your enthusiasm is more likely to be infectious.

A good speech requires many hours of composition and practice. If you look forward to getting started with this hard work, then you have probably chosen a good topic for your speech. If, however, you quickly find that working on your speech is a chore then you should consider choosing something else.

With that said…

 

3. Think of your audience

…if you choose a topic that is a passion of yours, make sure that it’s something can you package in an accessible form for your audience. You have a goal and your topic should be a way of achieving that. Be wary of choosing something that is too esoteric, complicated or requires too much explanation.

An overview of almost any topic can be made interesting, but it’s important to consider how much detail you should give and crucially: what’s in it for the audience? Why should your audience listen to you? What does your speech give them?

 

4. Think about how much time you have to do research

No one can be an expert on everything and you might very well find yourself needing to do some research on the topic you have chosen. The next question you need to ask yourself is: how much time do I realistically have to spend researching this subject?

If you don’t know your topic very well – how much time do you have to read up on it? How much time do you have to find and prepare any necessary visual aids? A speech is more likely to successfully inform or inspire your audience if you feel confident with the topic. If you feel like you don’t have so much time, then choose something you’re more familiar with or something that requires less research.

 

5. Every speech should be a learning experience

A “good speech topic” is one which achieves your goal, but whether that happens or not, regardless of whether your speech is intended to be persuasive, inspirational or just plain informative, make sure that you get something out of it too. Challenge yourself to try something different; choose a topic that you’d like to make accessible for others or one that you’d like to understand better yourself (if you have the time). Push the boundaries of what you think you can achieve and make every topic a tool for self-improvement.

So, there you have it. A few tips on how to choose a public-speaking topic when you find yourself sitting wondering what to talk about. Be relevant, be realistic and most importantly, be a bit adventurous!

 

This post was originally published on 27 Feb 2019, and was updated on 28 Feb 2019. 

Peter Rodger

Presentation Coach & English Teacher

Peter has worked both as an extensive background in public speaking and coaching having competed internationally in speech evaluation. He is also a qualified teacher of English as a second language and specialises in helping non-native speakers with pronunciation. He currently coaches at TEDx Stockholm as well as being actively involved with Toastmasters. Talk to him here.

What You Need to Know About Eye Contact

What You Need to Know About Eye Contact

Remember a time when you wanted to communicate with a childhood friend secretly but without your teacher knowing? What did you do? Most probably, you looked at your friend straight in the eye, and quickly glanced at the door with the fullest force of your eyebrows. It was the purest form of communication: eye contact.

The psychology of eye contact goes deeper than just childhood habits. It satisfies a more profound need for all of us to be seen, to matter.

 

 

If you are in the audience, the presenter doesn’t need to look directly in the eye to engage you. The impact of eye contact can be felt as long as the speaker seems to look at your direction. So if it’s your turn to speak, it’s wise to share your eye contact love equally to as many numbers of people as possible.

Yet, there is such a thing as staring too much at someone, so where should you direct your eye contact and for how long?

Easy. Plant friendly faces on each corner of the room: two at the front and two at the back. These are your friends, whom you’re comfortable staring at for an extended period. Instead of sharing your attention to everybody, you only need to care about these four faces.

Start from the front faces, and perform a swipe with your laser-focused eyes, i.e. if you start from the front-right corner, go to the back-right corner, then to the back-left, then the front-left. Change the direction of your glance swiftly back to the back-left. It shouldn’t look like you’re jumping from one corner to the other. Imagine an electric fan swivelling side-to-side consistently.

They say “eye contact is more intimate than words will ever be”. Not using it to communicate your next presentation will be a misfortune.

 

This post was originally published on 21 Feb 2019, and was updated on 22 Feb 2019. 

 

Martha Winata

CEO & Co-founder of Get Sandwich

Martha coaches people presenting on startup pitches and science presentation grants. When she's not hard at work helping people present better, she can be found travelling around the globe and eating delicious delicacies.

3 Root Causes of Public Speaking Apprehension to Overcome

3 Root Causes of Public Speaking Apprehension to Overcome

To improve your skills in speaking publicly, you need to put in the reps to talk in front of large crowds more often.

It’s easier said than done though. We human beings are wired to be fearful of any risk of social isolation, commonly based on:
Situations–who are in the audience? What are the penalties if you fail?
Preparation–do you have enough info to make a good talk? Do you have enough time to rehearse?
Thoughts–are you the best person for this? What if the audience finds you boring?

The first two fears are real. They are grounded on externalities: it’s not a good idea to talk spontaneously about a hard subject if your boss’ boss is in the room. Doing that will create an attention debt that will retaliate later in the future.

But the third fear is only base on your thoughts and is not real, especially if others don’t share the same fear when you ask them. If you don’t usually talk in front of a large number of people, it’s tempting to follow those internal thoughts. It’s better to address only the first two instead.

 

This post was originally published on 18 Feb 2019, and was updated on 19 Feb 2019. 

Martha Winata

CEO & Co-founder of Get Sandwich

Martha coaches people presenting on startup pitches and science presentation grants. When she's not hard at work helping people present better, she can be found travelling around the globe and eating delicious delicacies.

Practice does not Make Perfect

Practice does not Make Perfect

Practice makes perfect. You may think this is part and parcel of the wisdom of the crowd, and whoever saying it to you is trying to help you. Reminding you that hard work counts, and that perfection is the goal.

But is perfection the reason for anyone practicing? Is that why you practice creating your signature cakes? Or reciting your presentations?

 

Perfection is subjective. The day is perfect. Whose day? Yours. The trip was perfect. Whose trip? Definitely not everybody’s. We don’t describe anything objectively using the word. Try this out: The research results are perfect. Sounds weird? Perfection is objectively unattainable.

In fact, focusing on perfection has led many to failures. The more you cognitively associate what you are doing with perfection, the more likely you will make mistakes. Even when practicing, too much focus on the details derails you from the bigger picture and can easily demotivate the whole process. If practice is all we need to get better, then why don’t everybody just practice for their own good?

Practice makes perfect. But then another voice in your head chimes in: “but no one is perfect therefore there is no need to practice. Yay!”

Wrong.

Practice makes progress. What can you say now to that?

It’s much more useful because it’s hard to refute and don’t let the nuance deceive you. A small change in wording leads to a massive shift in the mindset.

Small incremental progress, is the underrated sister of innovation. Similar to how the interest of your bank account works, progress compounds. It even has a name, called The Kaizen Effect. This blog post describes it well:

“Try to do just 1% better than the day before. Start small and make your increases gradual. Avoid the temptation to get impatient and start rushing forward and taking bigger leaps. Take it slow, steady, and consistent.”

Through this lens, doing 1% better is virtually the opposite of striving for perfection. It’s just a tad better, and that’s enough to practice just one more time. Practice that song for one more minute or run just 100 meters more. The act of practicing becomes that much easier. After all, you’re not striving for perfection, are you?

Aristotle, umm err actually, Will Durant famously said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” You can choose to make a habit out of practice, and that’s enough. Some even go as far as saying, do your worst. And doing your worst does count for progress.

Progress leads to change and change leads to growth. Catch yourself desperately trying to attain perfection, and refocus your effort to simply create 1% progress for today.

So what are you waiting for?