Book Review: TED Talks

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In order to be the best at your craft, you have to get obsessed with the journey.  That’s why I chose to read this book. TED talks are great educational videos that help relay a specific message. I knew this book would help me in my current work environment, but in my endeavors to become a motivational speaker and achieve my 2019 goal of creating videos this year.

The book is broken up into 5 sections foundation, talk tools, preparation process, on stage and reflection.  The foundation section discusses many myths about public speaking and the content of the speech itself.  One takeaway I had from this section was “What is the precise idea you want to build inside your listeners?  What is their takeaway?”  The content of your speech is so important because it is the meat and potatoes.  If you don’t have good content, it doesn’t matter how well you perform the speech, no one will remember what your point was.

One important talk tool is to make it personal.  That means ensuring you have good eye contact, you make your speech relatable in some way and/or you make yourself vulnerable by telling a story that effected your life forever.

In the preparation process, Chris Anderson discusses whether you should memorize or not memorize a script or outline that is created.  It is important to get over this valley that comes with your memorization of your script or outline.  If you don’t rehearse it enough, it shows in your speech because you may forget somethings you needed to discuss, some of which are vital to pull the speech together, or you’ll try and buy yourself time by stumbling through the rest of your speech.  If you rehearse it enough to get to this “valley” then your speech may become boring because it is monotone in nature.  You have to continue rehearsing past that valley, so you can still improvise during your speech, but still maintain the integrity of your content.  You get out what you put in, so if you give 80% effort, expect, at most, 80% return.  However, if you give 120%, you are increasing those chances for success.  Success is a journey, not a destination.

When it comes to your on-stage presence, you have to be yourself.  You shouldn’t be too concerned on your wardrobe, because more time is required for the preparation process.  Know your setting and be yourself.  When conducting your speech, you have to ensure your presence is known and that your message is getting across to the audience.  One thing I learned when I was younger is that people only pay attention 25% of the time, which is why speakers, often repeat themselves 2-4 times.  Everyone gets nervous on stage and during public speaking, but you’ll just have to center yourself and get yourself mentally ready.

One important strategy for reflection is to record yourself.  See the speech or performance AFTER it is completed.  Sometimes we get focused on criticizing ourselves while we are giving the speech, but that takes  away from the message and the integrity of the speech.  After the speech is over, look at a recording and take down notes on what you did well and what you can improve on.

I thought this was a very informative book and I learned a lot from it.  I would rate this book 7/10 because it is very informative and some notes can be taken away from it; however, the book doesn’t make me want to go back and re-read the entire book from cover to cover again, like some other books do.

Have you read this book? What is your take on it?  What is your favorite TED talk?  Comment below and don’t forget to subscribe!


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