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Great TED Talks Tips (And How Brock University Students Can Use Them)

Great TED Talks Tips (And How Brock University Students Can Use Them)

Brock University students: you’ve probably heard of the TED Talks series. They are labeled as, “ideas worth spreading.” TED Talks have been given about science and industry, history and art, and about things that have happened, or could happen. They tap into the part of us that wants to escape our bodies, and explore the possibilities of the world. The part of us that wants to learn, and know, and become an aspect of something greater than ourselves. But what traits do TED Talks share? The ones that really go viral, that is. What common attributes makes them lodge themselves in our brains, and refuse to leave?

Well, people have been trying to figure that out. Here are some of the common traits that help shoot a talk into the stratosphere.

Trait #1: Nonverbal Communication

It isn’t what you say, it’s how you say it. This old aphorism is more true than we know when it comes to TED Talks, because even though the word talk is half the title, research has found successful talks are more about body language and nonverbal communication. While what a presenter says is still important, how they say it can make an even bigger impact on the audience.

The lesson to take away from this is that standing up straight, a confident relaxation, and even making eye contact with the camera, can be just as important as the facts you’re sharing, and the jokes you’re making.

Trait #2: Smile, It Makes You Look Smart

When we think of really smart people, chances are we think of dour professors, or serious statesmen. Despite that, though, presenters who smile more often are rated as more intelligent. As well as more personable. Even though advice for being seen as a strong leader in a field says you should be a hard-faced eagle, people respond better to someone that has a lighter tone. So even if you’re talking about something serious, you’ll get better results if you remember to smile from time to time. Hard as that might be with some topics.

Trait #3: First Impressions Matter

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Whether it’s meeting your new boss, your significant other’s parents, or introducing yourself to a TED Talk audience, you have about seven seconds to get it right. That’s one hell of a snap decision, especially since you’ll be giving a speech that lasts for at least twenty minutes or so, but it’s about the length of time an audience will give you to influence them. That’s why it’s important to think about how you come out on stage. You need to ask what you’re wearing, how you’re moving, and what expression is on your face. These are things that can sway your audience before you even open your mouth.

Trait #4: Don’t Be Afraid to Go Off-Script

When you’re giving a speech, especially a speech that has to be filled with facts and figures, it’s tempting to stick rigidly to your script. After all, that’s the speech you wrote up, and it has all the information you need in it. If your audience feels that you’re just reading from the page, though, they’re going to disengage.

Personal charisma is what makes or breaks a successful TED Talk, and there are few factors that reduce an audience’s perception of a speakers charisma than staying rigidly on-script. So loosen up, and don’t be afraid to be a little spontaneous. Just make sure that when you need your facts, you can locate them with barely a pause for breath. Because being rigid is bad, but looking unprepared is even worse.

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