Meeting Presentation Skills: 3 TED Talk Secrets

Want to improve your meeting presentation skills?

Then, you’ve come to the right place.

You see, TED talks are some of the most engaging presentations. So is there a better way to learn how to give a persuasive meeting presentation than by studying these talks?

Probably not. Read on to learn how to give a meeting presentation that’s as effective as a TED talk.


Why are TED talks so engaging?

So what makes TED talks so special?

Why do millions of people watch these talks?

Fortunately, TED has given a talk on giving TED talks.

And here are the core parts of the most engaging TED talks:


1. Lead with curiosity to capture people’s attention

Meeting planning

What’s one of the best ways to capture someone’s attention… fast?

Make them curious.

You see, curiosity is one of the best ways to get people’s ears to perk up.


When someone opens a “curiosity gap”, we feel we need to close it. So if something’s uncertain and we don’t know the answer to it, we want to figure out the answer.

What does this mean for you?

Ask questions before giving answers.

You can highlight results or hint you have the answer… without giving away what you have.

What sounds more enticing?

“Today, I want to talk about improving time management in our organization.”


“Today, I want to talk about three things we can do to improve time management in our organization.”

The second, right?

That’s because it opens a curiosity gap. The audience thinks: “What are these three things? Hm, tell me more.”

The result?

You have their full attention.


2. Use a single idea to avoid overwhelming people

Have you noticed something?

TED talks are always built around a single idea.

That idea can then be supported by subideas. But there’s always one core idea or message.


Because our brains love simplicity. If you present several ideas at once, people will get overwhelmed. And this, again, makes your talk forgettable.

Use this principle by focusing on one core message in your presentation.

Try to summarize your points. What’s the one thing that connects them?

Can’t do this (say, you need to talk about different things in your presentation)?

Then, make your separate points or ideas as simple and clear as possible.

Next up:

Secret #3.


3. Why you should focus on familiar concepts

Many TED talks are specific talks about complicated things.

The presenters have often been researching their topics for years.

So how come you understand everything they say and it doesn’t sound like total gibberish?

Because engaging TED talks use their audience’s language.

Instead of niche-specific terms and concepts, the speakers use simple language.


They use rhetorical tools such as:

  • Metaphors. So: “All the world’s a stage” and “you are what you eat.”
  • Vivid language. “It’s like…” or “It’s as if…” Example: Instead of saying “It’s an automated time management tool we can use in our organization”, you could say: “It’s as if someone automatically sets up your schedule… And you don’t have to lift a finger.”

Those are the three core parts of an engaging TED talk… Or your next meeting presentation.

Next up:

What else can we learn from TED talks?


How can you use these principles to improve your meeting presentation skills?

In his book “Talk Like TED”, Carmine Gallo talks about nine principles TED speakers use in their talks.

And these are principles you can use in your meeting presentation.

Now, we’ve already looked at one of these principles (use vivid language). But there are eight more to go.

So what are these principles?

Here you go:


1. Be passionate about your presentation.

First things first:

Your enthusiasm will show.

If you’re passionate about your topic, you’ll naturally put on a better performance.

Is your presentation boring with a capital B?

Then, try to connect it to a personal goal. For example, how will this presentation help you develop in your current role?

Why? Because intrinsic (‘internal’) motivation is the best way to motivate yourself.

If you feel that you learn something and develop, you will feel passionate.


2. Tell stories that engage.

Storytelling is one of the best ways to connect with people… That is, to communicate your ideas to people.

Our brains connect when we tell stories.

So how do you tell an enticing story?

Check out this post on storytelling in meetings.

You can tell stories about pretty much anything and everything. Use studies and data to explain your point. Tell jokes. Share quotes.


3. Shift your perspective.

Want to know what bores people to tears?

Hearing about the same things in the same way, over and over again.

So look at your topic from a slightly different perspective.

How can you highlight a new angle?

This way, you get people to listen. And that, again, means you deliver an effective presentation.


4. Make your audience laugh.

What’s more powerful than humor?

Hardly anything. People fill up with the feel-good hormone dopamine when they laugh.

So they end up attaching positive feelings to your talk…

Now, that’s the reaction you want.

But how do you get people to laugh?


Here are 8 fun ways to start a meeting.


5. Include surprises.

meeting presentation skills

You want to lead with curiosity…

And that means including surprises in your presentation.

Whenever you think your presentation starts to get a bit boring or predictable, try to incorporate something that wakes people up.

For example, use surprising images, maybe a joke…

Whatever it is that makes people sit up in their chairs.


6. Make it feel like a conversation.

Who wants to listen to a lecture?

No one!

Just think about what it was like to sit locked in a classroom, listening to your teacher’s monotone voice…

Déjà vu, right?

Yeah. So avoid all that and instead make it feel like a conversation.

You don’t need to sound formal, you don’t need to sound stuffy…

Get people to ask questions, engage, and participate.


7. Be yourself.


Public speaking can be terrifying.

And especially so if you’re presenting to a big team or at a high-level meeting.

But whatever you do, don’t try to take on a different role.

Instead, be authentic.

People connect with other people and if you show you’re a person like them, they’ll nod along, laugh, and remember your presentation.


8. Keep it brief.

Last up:

Be brief.

Keep it simple and don’t try to fit in 1001 different things into your presentation.

As we talked about before, people LOVE simplicity.

So reduce your presentation to its shortest and simplest form. Go through your presentation, step by step, and ask yourself:

“Is this necessary for my presentation? What would happen if I removed it- would that make it harder for my audience to understand this information?”

And what does brevity mean in terms of time?


Only talk about those high-level things for 15 minutes at a time.

In between, you can tell stories, show videos, and other things that let the brain rest.

If you can, only talk about three separate “sub-points” at a time. So you have your core idea and up to three arguments around that idea.

Why three?

Because of the rule of three.

According to this rule, the most effective way to communicate with people is to share information in groups of threes.

You know, just like in stories. “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, “The Three Musketeers”, three heroes (e.g., Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger), three parts of an epic tale (the Lord of the Rings series) and so on.

So to summarize:

  • Stick to the point.
  • Share your information in 15-minute chunks.
  • Make your information consumable by dividing it into groups of three.


PowerPoint presentation tips

Need to use a PowerPoint presentation?

Then, there are a few presentation skill tips you can learn from TED talks.


Don’t rely on your PowerPoint presentation.

It can help you – yes – but what you say is more important than your slides.

First, you need to figure out what you want to say. And then you can create your presentation.


Use images and videos. Limit the number of words you use on each slide.

If you need to use a lot of data and text, try to break them up over several slides.

Remember how we talked about using one single idea during your talk?

That applies to your slides, too.

So, try to keep your slides to one idea or point per slide.

Sounds good?

Cool, because we’ve come to the end…


Conclusion: Your meeting presentations can be just as engaging as a TED talk

Crazy, isn’t it?

The idea that your meeting presentation doesn’t have to be a boring snooze fest.

Instead, you can use these proven techniques to spice things up and make people lean in to catch every word you say.

All it takes is to get a hang of the right meeting presentation skills.

Now, I’d love to know:

What’s your #1 tip for creating an engaging meeting presentation?

Let me know in the comments below.

By |April 20th, 2018|Meetings|0 Comments