​PowerSpeaking Blog: Tips and strategies for crafting presentations

Behind the Scenes of TED Presenters


TED Talks — an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, and Design — are almost universally considered the gold standard for successful public speaking. Curated by author and entrepreneur Chris Anderson and the TED leadership team, videos of TED speakers at conferences routinely go viral, racking up millions of views from all over the world.

The short, compelling presentations are delivered by thought leaders, craftsmen, artists, scientists, executives and innovators in a variety of fields. Filmed at TED conferences nationwide, speakers vary greatly and have included countless luminaries, including Sarah Silverman, Tony Robbins, Elizabeth Gilbert, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Al Gore, J.K. Rowling and many, many more.

What unites all these different figures? They have all harnessed the most effective presentation skills to deliver persuasive, insightful, funny, emotional and — most importantly — compelling speeches to rapt audiences on the TED stage. Here is a guide to what makes a TED talk so engaging and what tools subject matter and technical experts can use to make their own presentations as compelling — straight from the experts themselves.



Managing Presentations with Live and Virtual Guests


Executive presence is a powerful part of any presentation. So how do you maintain authority and control when you and your audience aren't in the same room together?

Technology has facilitated virtual communication and remote presentations in a way that makes it easier than ever to integrate live and virtual guests — both audience members and presenters. At the same time, as people, we are still used to listening and paying attention to the person in front of us speaking. To conquer the audience’s impulse to get distracted and tune out, foster engagement in remote settings by following these virtual presentation techniques.



Hook, Line, and Sinker: Grabbing Audience Attention with a Great Opening

One of the things that can trip up some subject matter experts who are tasked to make a presentation is their opening. Often it is the first 30 seconds to a minute that sets the tone for the remainder of your presentation — grabbing audience attention and holding it.

Your opening, whether it's a single sentence or a few lines, is where a presentation can be made or broken. It's your chance to hook them, tickling their curiosity so that you can slowly reel them in throughout the rest of your presentation. So how do you captivate an audience with your opening? Follow these tips for creating a great opening.



Make 'em Laugh: The Use of Humor in Successful Public Speaking

Successful public speaking − whether it's a business presentation, a conference keynote or a toast at a wedding − is all about creating that resonance with your audience, that emotional spark that gets them on board with your words. To this end, there is no greater tool in your arsenal than the judicious and skillful use of humor.

When we laugh, there are no barriers between speaker and audience − not skepticism or cynicism. If someone has made you laugh, chances are you are more open to the speaker and the authority of their words. Yet just because humor is a powerful tool doesn't mean that everyone can wield it proficiently. I'm sure everyone has silently suffered through conferences where a presenter attempted to make a joke, only to elicit groans from the audience.

To make the most of humor in your next presentation, follow these tips for public speaking. 



Reading, Speaking, Conveying: The Art of the Teleprompter

No matter what your personal politics are, this most recent election cycle has shown a compelling spotlight on the ways that powerful political personalities communicate with the world. We have been treated to a variety of different approaches to speech-giving, debating and stumping and much has been made of the distinctions between the ways that some candidates convey ideas versus their opponents.

However, what all the candidates have in common is that, overwhelmingly, their speeches are aided by a teleprompter. A teleprompter frees speechmakers from relying on written notes or presentations in front of them, allowing them to face their audience directly and move naturally in the space they are given. This creates an intimacy and naturalism that can reinforce effective presentation skills and lend you vital credibility.

Yet with this freedom comes a variety of unexpected challenges.  Using a teleprompter is one of the more involved presentation tools that requires practice and consideration, which is why we've included a series of quick tips to help you master it.  



Presenting Emotion-filled Talks with Composure

We coach clients to use a variety of facial expressions during talks to convey meaning and persuade. (Sport a poker face and you force audiences to work harder to grasp your meaning.) Expressing appropriate emotion during presentations can help move a conversation forward. But what happens when your strong emotion during a presentation hinders message delivery and distracts the audience (it might be while delivering sad news or happy news, or experiencing frustration or anger)? How can you stay on message, convey the information you must, and stay composed? The following tips will help you be effective in this unique talk scenario.



The Goal is Presence: Lessons from Amy Cuddy’s Book


“The state of being attuned to and able to comfortably express true thoughts, feelings, values and potential.” 

This is how Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy defines Presence in her book of the same name. 

Cuddy has followed up her "fake it until you become it" TED talk, which illuminates the positive effects of ‘power posing’ on confidence, with this new work, subtitled “Bringing Your BOLDEST SELF to your BIGGEST CHALLENGES.”  presence.png


Five Proven Tips for Greater Vocal Impact


We’ve all seen presenters whose voice quality sets the audience’s attention drifting. Their content might be strong, but they speak too softly, mumble or go too fast to be understood. Your voice is a critical aspect that can make your data come alive and your projects stand apart from the crowd. The following tips for voice help you convey your content with greater engagement and leadership presence.



Surefire Strategies to Manage Difficult Audiences


As if preparing content and effectively presenting it weren’t enough to manage, what happens when you walk in the room and face a difficult audience or a challenging audience member that could throw you off your game?

Be assured: you can maintain a confident, calm leadership presence…and manage the challenges and surprises that arise in your midst. These tips will help you tame challenging audiences and help create presentation success.



Sheryl Sandberg Leans Into a Standout Commencement Address

Early summer yields a bumper crop of noteworthy college commencement addresses. These speeches by cultural luminaries and business leaders often exhibit strategies to benefit the rest of us in our own talks at work. Like the most memorable TED talks, commencement speakers often invest significant time crafting and rehearsing talks beforehand and merit analysis. Here we spotlight Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s recent address to graduates at University of California, Berkeley. Sandberg’s powerful and moving address embodies useful tips to make your own presentations at work more impactful



Subscribe to Email Updates

Posts by topic

see all