You are going to give a TED talk? You want to give a TED talk? It is on your bucket list to deliver a TED talk?  This video is for you…

The 10 Areas to Prepare a TED Talk

ted

Learn about the 10 areas:

This is a 20 minute video covering 10 areas that you will need to work on in order to Prepare, Deliver and benefit from a TED Talk.

 

TED Talk Further Materials:

Here’s June Cohen, Executive Producer at TED Media, sharing her answers to

  1. What makes a great TED Talk?
  2. What are the elements of a great TED Talk? and
  3. What makes a TED.com talk?

She passionately outlines her experience of what types of talks will “go viral”.

The Ingredients of a Great TED talk

In this 14 minute talk, she covers:

  • the importance of story in a TED talk
  • being personal without being confessional
  • how to start a TED talk (the online editors deliberately remove “hello”, “good morning”, and any silly joke at the start, anything that doesn’t grab us at the start)
  • how to focus (there is time for 1 single idea)
  • how to be relevant to a wide audience (giving relevant context)
  • Practice, practice, practice… and more practice (including the sad, sad story of “That was a really good talk, but it wasn’t the best talk that that speaker could give”)

Three wonderful short videos from The School of Life youtube channel, total duration 27 minutes:

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How to Make a Country Rich

If you were setting out to make a country rich, what kind of mindsets and ideas would be most likely to achieve your goals? We invent a country, Richland, and try to imagine the psychology of its inhabitants.

Would you want to live in Richland?

How to Make an Attractive City

We’ve grown good at making many things in the modern world – but strangely the art of making attractive cities has been lost. Here are some key principles for how to make attractive cities once again. Please subscribe to our channel.

Does your city have the political will to create beautiful spaces?

How to become a better person

It sounds normal to say one’s out to become a fitter person; but it sounds weird to say one would like to be a nicer or better person. It shouldn’t – so here is a guide to 10 virtues of a nice person.

Are these your 10 most important virtues?  Which are the easiest for you?  Which are the hardest for you?

These videos come from the School of Life youtube channel, you can subscribe to new videos here.

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 11.40.41The world has 7.323 billion people living on it (as of 20 June 2015, source Worldometer).

The World as a Village of 100

If the world was a village of 100 people, 48 live on less than $2 a day.  21 are overweight and 16 are hungry.  12 speak Chinese, 5 spanish and 5 english.  49 live in the countryside and 51 in the village.  26 are under 14, and 8 are over 65.

Check out the infographic below for a wonderful representation of the world as a village of 100 people.

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What do you think?  Does it match with your assumptions about who we are sharing the planet with?

I came across a wonderful series of explanation videos on youtube this morning (sometimes random internet clicking has its benefits!).  Kurz Gesagt, a Munich based design studio founded by Philipp Dettmer & Stephan Rether in 2013 creates 5 minute animated explanations on some of the most complex topics there are.  Here are 4 of my favourites – on Iraq & ISIS, on Banking, on Fracking and on Time itself!

Iraq Explained — ISIS, Syria and War

Banking Explained – Money and Credit

Fracking explained: opportunity or danger

On Time

Watch More Great Explanations

These videos are all produced by the design studio Kurz Gesagt and take up to 200 hours each to create.  You can subscribe to their youtube channel here

 

Toastmasters is a wonderful organisation for anybody who wishes to improve their ability to speak with impact.

However, there is something that has often challenged me with the “best” toastmaster speeches. They are very clearly the work of someone who has worked very, very, very hard on the words, gestures and voice that they use to deliver the speech. The “best” toastmaster speeches verge on the theatric and sometimes leave behind a sense of a natural conversation.  Toastmasters evaluations can focus on bringing attention to symbols of hard work on the art of public speaking – big gestures, long pauses, wide ranges of volume, tone and pace in voice.

I am reading Sims Wyeth‘s book “The Essentials of Persuasive Public Speaking” at the moment.  One of his sections is called “Hide the Art”.  It speaks about the need to hide your brilliance as a speaker.

Hide the Art

Why hide the art?  Why would you want to go to the effort to hide the work you have done on being a great speaker?

Sims refers to a number of great political orators of the Athenian state.  They knew that if the people saw them as relaxed and natural, they would be more open to listen to their ideas.  If the people saw how much they worked on their ability to speak, the people would be worried about being manipulated by them.

It is a paradox – being visibly “too good” makes you less likely to connect and persuade.

Hiding the art does not mean that you intentionally are a poor speaker.  It means what Bruce Lee refers to as Natural Un-Naturalness (see final paragraphs of post).

“The natural instinct and control need to be combined in harmony – one to the extreme you become very unscientific, the other you become a mechanical man… no longer a human being – the ideal is unnatural naturalness, or natural unnaturalness… yin yang” Bruce Lee

The swan swims gracefully over the water of the pond – only the fish see how hard her little feet are paddling beneath the surface.  This is the art of great speaking.  The art is to go through theatrical and get back to looking authentic, human and natural.

Moving people to action requires that you go beyond the level of preparation that allows you to deliver an excellent performance and arrive at an ability to hold a peer-to-peer conversation with the audience.

The path to Natural must pass through Contrived

The path to natural unnaturalness must pass through “contrived unnaturalness” – you have to do the work to move through discomfort and expansion of your natural range as a speaker – and Toastmasters is the absolute best path.  However, taking your message beyond toastmasters requires integrating the gestures, voice, words back into yourself so that the audience feels like you have not worked so hard.  This way they trust the person and listen to the message, rather than are impressed by the person, but distrustful of the message.

Great artists mastered the basics over many, many years before they found the path back to what we might call “authentic” or natural.

Devdutt Pattanaik tells TEDx that if you know the patterns that you are looking for, India’s apparent chaos is actually order.

  • The mythology of the West: kill the chaos-creating dragon, create order
  • The mythology of India: liberate yourself from boundaries

A beautiful western garden is ordered.  Weeds are weeds, trees are trees and flowers are in their rightful place.  But who says a weed is a weed?  It is the pattern of the gardener.  It is not the pattern of nature.  It is imposition of a western gardener’s view on the nature.  The imposition of boundaries.

A western meal has starter, main course, dessert.  They are clearly separated.  The chef and the restaurant impose their boundaries on the food.

In India, the aim is to liberate from forced boundaries.  An Indian road does not have fixed lanes – but there is an order arising in the apparent chaos.  An Indian meal does not have clear distinction between starter, main, dessert – but there is an order in the apparent chaos.

Here is Devdutt Pattanaik speaking at TEDx (video here on the blog):

When I teach with Maty Tchey, she teaches those who wish to communicate powerfully to “think complex, speak simple”. She challenges speakers to find metaphors that allow the audience to see new material as an extension of what they already know.

What existing and understood patterns can you show the audience to connect them to new material?

There is a power tool in negotiation.  I would say this is the single most useful tactic that I use in my years of selling (I sell private jets among other high value products).

It is not competitive, it is not aggressive, it is not avoiding anything.

It does not require massive intellectual development, years of training or genetic gifts.

It requires no study, no poetic ability nor any magical secret ingredients.

It is …

 

Silence.

Silence.

Me: “What is your best price?”

Supplier: “Blah, blah [Product feature #2], blah… I can offer you €100”

Me: “Hmmm.” and wait…  10…  20 seconds…  (tension increasing)

Supplier: “Ok, I can give you €90…  but that is our best price”

Me:  “Hmmm.”  and wait…  10… 20 seconds… (tension increasing)

… and on…

Last week I taught a course on persuasive communication.  One individual was a charismatic speaker who repeatedly gave speeches that I would classify as “Rant”.  This is a passionate and initially engaging way of speaking, but it has no place in a Leader’s communication.

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To rant is to speak or shout at length in an angry, impassioned way.

Leaders Do Not Rant

A rant is never a leadership speech.

A rant doesn’t help the situation.

A rant is lazy.

A rant is not enough.  You have to decide:

  1. “what action can I take to improve the situation?”
  2. “what action can we take together to improve the situation?”

If you are ranting about something that you can change, this is lazy: do the next step and take action, then ask us for action.

St Francis of Assisi had this prayer:

“Lord give me the strength to change the things I can change,
Give me the patience to accept the things I cannot change,
and the Wisdom to tell the difference.”

If you are ranting ab0ut something that we cannot change, you are wasting your energy.

The wisdom to tell the difference comes from thinking about whether there is an action that you or I can take that might improve the situation.  If I cannot find an action, then I am probably dealing with a type 2 Assisi situation: lets accept this one and find a place we can make a difference.  If I can find an action, then the speech is about inspiring us to take this action.

We are what we choose to become.

More on the Wisdom to tell the difference:

How to Give a Killer Presentation

Chris Anderson, Owner of TED
Presentations rise or fall on the quality of the idea, the narrative, and the passion of the speaker. It’s about substance, not speaking style or multimedia pyrotechnics. It’s fairly easy to “coach out” the problems in a talk, but there’s no way to “coach in” the basic story—the presenter has to have the raw material. If you have something to say, you can build a great talk. But if the central theme isn’t there, you’re better off not speaking. Decline the invitation. Go back to work, and wait until you have a compelling idea that’s really worth sharing.  Read More

 

The Inconvienient Truth about Change Management –

McKinsey & Company
Conventional change management approaches have done little to change the fact that most change  programs fail. The odds can be greatly improved by a number of counterintuitive insights that take into account the irrational but predictable nature of how employees interpret their environment and choose to act.  Read More

 

11 Simple Concepts to Become a Better Leader

Dave Kerpen
All 11 concepts are simple, and yet, perhaps in the name of revenues or the bottom line, we often lose sight of the simple things – things that not only make us human, but can actually help us become more successful. Read More

 

5 Models for Leading Change

Tristan Wember
In this article we introduce five models for leading change. No single model isright. However, they all have something valuable on offer and can help us to navigate our way through complex organisational situations or circumstances.  Read More