For many years I have used Jeanine O’Neill-Blackwell’s Engage techniques to structure my presentations and lectures. It is my bible, and I would not want to drop it. However, add in Carmine Gallo‘s ideas on persuasive presentation techniques and you have an incredibly powerful set of tools for communicating ideas and knowledge to global audiences.
Gallo starts with the premise that ideas are the currency of the 21st Century, echoing the thoughts of the School of Life. The quid pro quo is that ideas, unlike products, need special attention in order to get them out into the world where they can do some good. As he says, even if you will never give a presentation on TED, you need to be able to provide a TED-worthy presentation. ‘It represents a bold, fresh, contemporary, and compelling style that will help you win over your audience.’
If we cannot present our ideas, we are going nowhere and in this book Gallo provides plenty of good material on how to present ideas sharply, concisely and efficiently – and with a bit of humour and style.
His material comes from the TED forum. Gallo sees in TED speakers global leaders looking to make the world a better place, and in order to do so they have had to work out how to maintain the attention of a highly critical and supportive audience for 18 minutes and communicate their message in a way that will be understood, absorbed and acted upon.
Gallo, himself a professional speaking coach, set himself the enviable goal of watching many hours of TED talks, analysing them and setting out in his key elements and techniques that make a presentation not just successful, but masterfully persuasive.
One by-product of this book is that it not only helps you to present your ideas well; it also has a mind expanding quality. Gallo has researched over 55 TED talks covering a huge range of subjects. Even those he has selected and highlighted in this book are more than enough to take you into realms of thought and deed you never new existed. I’ve compiled most of these into a YouTube playlist and now recommend the book to school students when I talk to Sixth Formers, not just because I believe it’s vitally important that school leavers are able to present well, but also because of the book’s potential to open up the minds of those heading out into the world.
We should not underestimate the power of a good presentation. Gallo cites the example of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson delivering a talk to 1,000 people attending the annual TED conference in Long Beach, California. For 18 minutes Stevenson held the audience spellbound by appealing to their heads and their hearts. The combination worked. He received the longest standing ovation in TED history and the attendees that day donated a combined $1 million to his nonprofit, the Equal Justice Initiative. That’s over $55,000 for each minute he spoke.
Not bad for just 18 minutes. Except, of course, it wasn’t just 18 minutes. It was days, weeks, months of hard work to get to that point, and it’s that prep work that Gallo guides us through in this book. He covers three areas we have to get right, discussing three elements in each area (we get to understand the power of three later in the book). Gallo cannot emphasis enough the importance of creating an emotional connection with your audience, and talks at length, with examples, about telling your story. Novelty is Gallo’s second theme. Here he covers similar ground to thought leaders such as Alain de Botton and Robert Rowland Smith who see meaning through novel ideas as the main product of businesses in the 21st Century. Finally, Gallo shows us how to make presentations memorable providing presentation techniques that will ensure your presentation is not forgotten five minutes later, that it stays around in your audience’s hearts and minds for a long, long time.
Gallo tells us he has written Talk Like TED for anyone who wants to speak with more confidence and authority. Echoing the TED Tag line, Gallo suggests that if you have ideas worth sharing, the techniques in his book will help you craft and deliver those ideas far more persuasively than you’ve ever imagined. From my own experience, including a significant amount of time rewriting my own presentations, that’s very true. This book gets results. If you present anything, whether it be a product, a service, an idea, a cause, this book will be a key part of your presentation armoury.