Book Summary – Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo

9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds – Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo

🗣️ Public speaking 🎙️ is a fundamental and an essential skill for anyone in today’s world. Whether one is a student, a worker, an executive, a homemaker, a CEO, or a world leader, the ability to speak publicly is crucial.

The ability to speak well publicly will not only enhance one’s current standing but also open many new opportunities 🔑, boosting our career growth.

Since learning to speak professionally will provide a good foundation for our career as well as social life, why don’t we learn from some of the best in the business 👑?

Carmine Gallo’s “Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds” offers a guide on how to deliver captivating, inspiring, and outstanding presentations.

Drawing examples and learning points from some of the most famous TED Talks, Gallo breaks down the 9 KEY SECRETS that could make a presentation or speech extremely potent 🔥.

In this article, we will dive deep into each of these secrets, providing examples, actionable tips, and insights to help you hone your public speaking skills. With continuous practice and self-evaluations, you too can become a great public speaker 🎤!

Public Speaking with Audience

Image by wavebreakmedia_micro on Freepik

Public Speaking Secret #1: Deliver your Passion ❤️‍🔥

Gallo says “Science shows that passion is contagious, and you cannot inspire others unless you are inspired yourself 💪”.

🌟 Passion is a key driving force behind powerful presentations. When speakers are genuinely passionate about their topic, their enthusiasm becomes evident and contagious, thus captivating the audience.

For example, in Brené Brown’s TED Talk – “The Power of Vulnerability”, she speaks with real palpable belief and passion about the importance of embracing vulnerability in our lives. The topic is so relevant to all of us and she was so genuine and convincing that the talk has garnered more than 60 million views to date 🤯!

Once we are connected to our personal passion, it would be almost effortless for us to sustain the high level of energy ⚡ and focus throughout our presentation.

Public Speaking Secret #1 - Deliver Your Passion

So it’s imperative that we decide on the topic or message that truly resonates with our values and beliefs 💗. We should consider what excites us, what motivates us, what drives us and what brings out our authenticity.

If we can incorporate some, or even all, of those elements into our presentation, the resulting enthusiasm and energy will empower us to create a truly engaging experience for the audience 👏.

We would then be able to ‘unleash our inner master’.

Public Speaking Secret #2: Deliver Stories 📽️

Storytelling is a great way to relate to your audience on multiple levels 🪜, especially the emotional level. Gallo says that “Brain scans reveal that stories stimulate and engage the human brain 🧠, helping the speaker connect with the audience”.

By integrating stories, you can make a complex and ‘dry’ presentation into something more palatable, relatable and enjoyable 😀.

In case you don’t have personal stories to share, you can use 📜 case studies, anecdotes, or examples to illustrate your points.

Watch how humorous personal anecdotes and experiences 😂 are used in Shawn Achor’s TED Talk “The Happy Secret to Better Work” as he explains the relationship between productivity and happiness. This insightful and entertaining talk has accumulated more than 25 million as of March 2023.

When crafting your stories, Gallo suggests that you should consider the emotions and experiences that audience can relate to.

Additionally, you can experiment with proven storytelling techniques, such as the hero’s journey 🦸‍♀️ (simplified: Departure, Initiation, Return) or the three-act structure 📈 (Act 1 – Setup, Act 2 – Confrontation, Act 3 – Resolution), so that your stories have the mass appeal and ability to engage most audiences.

Public Speaking Secret #2 - Deliver Stories

Essentially, a good story has a clear structure: a beginning, middle, and end, with a relatable protagonist, a challenge or conflict, and a transformative journey.

Public Speaking Secret #3: Deliver a Conversation 💬

Deliver your presentation as if you were having a conversation with your audience. This means avoiding jargons, using conversational language, connecting with your listeners, and practising thoroughly.

⛔ Avoid jargons as you want the audience to understand and follow your every word. If you must use a jargon, be sure to explain it clearly.

Public Speaking Secret #3 - Deliver a Conversation

🗣️ A conversational language would make you, the speaker, appear to be relatable and at their level. This way, your audience would feel at ease and more receptive to your message. To be more conversational, try to mimic how you’d converse with your family and friends: ask rhetorical questions , pause whenever necessary ⏯️, pace yourself comfortably 🚶, and use simple words 💬. 

🖇️ To connect with the audience, ensure that your body language is positive and congruent: 👀 eye contact, 😐 facial expressions, 🧍 posture, and 🤏 gestures.

🔁 In terms of practice, Gallo suggests that we practice uncompromisingly to internalize the content to the point of being able to comfortably present as if we’re talking to a close friend.  That would be basically practising A LOT 🔂.

Watch how natural and expressive body language is coupled with simple, conversational language in this inspiring TED Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” by Simon Sinek.

Public Speaking Secret #4: Deliver Novelty 🎉

We love to learn something new and so do your audiences. Gallo says it quite simply “The human brain loves novelty”.

When we present fresh and useful information, we actually make our talk more appealing and memorable. We should always try to offer 😲 startling findings, unexpected insights, myth busters, or even ground-breaking research 🔬.

In Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are”, she reveals surprising research findings about the impact of body language on our confidence and success 🙌. Her sharing reveals new ways to the audience on how to understand and utilize their own body language.

When sharing new information, ensure that it’s digestible and actionable. Break down complex concepts into simple terms and provide clear, relevant examples to explain your points.

Lastly, remember to strike a balance between educating 📖 and entertaining 🙂 your audience so they can stay interested and engaged throughout the presentation.

Public Speaking Secret #5: Deliver Surprises 😮

Gallo encourages speakers to create “jaw-dropping moments” that would surprise 🎁 and delight 🤗 the audience. These moments can be visual, emotional, or intellectual, so long as they can leave a lasting impression.

Public Speaking Secret #5 - Deliver Surprises

For example, in his TED Talk, “The Hidden Influence of Social Networks”, Nicholas Christakis uses visualizations to reveal the complex, interconnected nature of social networks, creating a surprising and mesmerizing speech.

We could also incorporate 🎊 unexpected components into your presentation, such as demonstrations, experiments, or interactive activities.

In geneticist Jenneifer Doudna’s “The Promise and Peril of Our Gene Editing Powers” she demonstrates the CRISPR technology by showing a video 🎞️ of the process in action. This creates a lasting and unforgettable impression on the audience.

Alternatively, we could use impactful images 🖼️, quotes 🗨️, or figures 🔢 that challenge preconceived notions and encourage your audience to think differently about your topic.

Public Speaking Secret #6: Deliver Humour 😹

Humour works because the brain 🧠 likes it, it drops the audience’s guard 🛡️ and makes them more accepting of our message.

Public Speaking Secret #5 - Deliver Humour

While humour can make your presentation or speech more enjoyable and memorable, it’s equally important to deliver it wisely.

Avoid offensive jokes and choose light-hearted anecdotes or self-deprecating humour that feels natural and genuine 🙇. Consider your audience’s preferences and cultural sensitivities to ensure your jokes are appropriate and well-received 👐.

In his TED Talk, “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator”, Tim Urban uses self-deprecating humour to discuss his personal struggles with procrastination, making the audience laugh 😆 while effectively conveying his message.

Execution wise, practice your timing and delivery to maximize the impact of your humour. Always be prepared to adapt your approach based on audience feedback during your talk.

Public Speaking Secret #7: Deliver Efficiency 🚀

TED Talks are limited to 18 minutes because this is the optimal length for maintaining audience’s attention. Gallo also mentions that “… too much information prevents the successful transmission of ideas

Based on this, try to keep your talk concise and focused 🔎. If you have slightly longer content, break it down into smaller segments, and use visual aids or interactive elements to keep your audience engaged.

For example, in her TED Talk, “How to Make Stress Your Friend”, Kelly McGonigal keeps her message focused on the benefits of rethinking stress, using visuals and anecdotes to drive home her points within less than 15 minutes.

One tip to ensure your presentation can be completed in 18 minutes is to have a clear outline of your main points 🧱 and allocate a specific amount of time for each point ⌚. This will help you structure your talk and avoid going off on tangents.

Lastly, rehearse your presentation using a timer ⏱️ to ensure you can deliver your message effectively within the allotted time.

Public Speaking Secret #8: Deliver Immersions 👁️👂🤚

To facilitate your audience’s immersion and engagement, try to incorporate visual, sound, and tactile experiences into your presentation.

Consider using high-quality images 🖼️, videos 📹, and even props ✏️ to illustrate your points. Verbally, use metaphors 🎤 in your descriptions and explanations to paint vivid mental pictures.

Referencing Nicholas Christakis’ TED Talk “The Hidden Influence of Social Networks” once again, he uses a combination of images, animations, and metaphors to explain the complex connections between people in social networks. By engaging multiple senses, he creates a richer and more complete experience for the audience.

Another example would be Dan Gilber’s TED Talk “The Surprising Science of Happiness”. He uses visuals and metaphors to explain complex psychological concepts, making them more accessible and interesting for the audience.

Public Speaking Secret #9: Deliver Authenticity 💃🤸‍♂️

Finally, Gallo emphasizes the significance of authenticity. We should strive to be true to ourselves and our message, and avoid trying to emulate someone else’s style.

Public Speaking Secret #9 - Deliver Authenticity

This way, our audience will appreciate our genuine passion and expertise. We must embrace our unique voice and perspective 📢 and let it shine through in our presentation. Doing this will make our presentation a lot more powerful and impactful 💥.

For example, in her TED Talk, “The Power of Introverts”, Susan Cain speaks from her personal experience as an introvert 🥺. She shares her unique perspective on the value of introversion in a society that often celebrates extroversion. By staying true to her authentic voice, Cain delivers a powerful and relatable message that resonates with many in her audience.

Another example would be the TED Talk “The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She speaks authentically about her personal experiences growing up in Nigeria and the impact of cultural narratives, creating a powerful and insightful presentation.

🔐 In conclusion, Carmine Gallo’s “Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds” provides invaluable insights into the art of public speaking by drawing from the best practices of world-renowned TED speakers 🔑.

In my own words, summarizing Carmine Gallo’s 9 Public Speaking Secrets is essentially to Deliver:

  • Passion ❤️‍🔥
  • Stories 📽️
  • Conversations 💬
  • Novelty 🎉
  • Surprises 😮
  • Humour 😹
  • Efficiency 🚀
  • Immersions 👁️👂🤚
  • Authenticity 💃🤸‍♂️

By delivering these 9 principles (or ‘secrets’ as Gallo calls them), and incorporating the additional insights and examples provided in this post, you can elevate your presentations and become a more 💪 engaging, persuasive, and memorable speaker 🗣️, just like those amazing TED speakers.

Read more on engaging audiences and boost your presentation skills for career growth.

Scroll to Top