Talk Like Ted – The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds
Talk like Ted‘ by Carmine Gallo

Intro – Talk like Ted

Book Title: Talk like Ted
Pages: 288
Publisher: Macmillan
Amazon Link: Paperback, Kindle


I have had this book sitting on my bookshelf for about 18-24 months now. When I purchased this book. I did start reading it but i got distracted by something else, only god knows what. Recently I was looking through my bookshelf. To see if I had many unread books and Talk like Ted happened to be one of them. So I added it to the small pile of books that  keep beside my bed. My next reads pile, if you will. About a month after adding it to the pile, here I am. I have finally managed to pick it up and read Talk like Ted and boy am I glad that I did.
I love the way Carmine walks you through each of the 9 steps by using facts, science, stories and examples from actual Ted conferences.
My personal favourite being the time. Bill Gates released Mosquitoes into the audience. Then said “There is no reason only poor people should have the experience”.
The Mosquitoes were malaria free, but the audience did not know that.
Bill Gates was giving a talk about eradicating malaria from countries in Africa and Asia.
Not only does this make for a very enjoyable read. I also feel that it backs up and brings to life the 9 secrets right in front of you. I have come out of this book learning a lot more than I usually would. Due to the author touches my senses with stories, humor and makes me feel like I am actually at a Ted conference.

The 9 Secrets

1. Unleash the Master within

Identify your unique connection to the topic. Allow your passion for your topic to come through. You have to show an audience why you can be called an expert in your field. Let your audience feel your passion, let them take part in your passion. But be weary your passion may not always be obvious.
You may be mistaken to think that I am passionate about PowerPoint via my blog PowerPoint Training Online but PowerPoint is not my passion. What that tool allows me to do is my passion. Deliver amazing presentations to my audience. Allow me to build beautiful graphics. Design is what I am passionate about.
We all understand the importance of passion but why is it so important. Carmine makes the point that when an audience can feel passion. There is a better chance the listeners will be persuaded or inspired by ideas.

2. Master the Art of Storytelling

Stories can reach people’s hearts and minds. You can use a story to stimulate and engage the human brain. Across all the chapters within this book the author does exactly that. Every chapter has plenty of examples from Ted conferences. These help to reinforce the points made.
Furthermore Carmine has sifted through decades of studies and research to help back up his points.

3. Have a conversation

Practice so much that you can deliver the presentation as if it was versation. Talk like Ted offers a lot of key takeaways but having a conversation is one of the most important. Almost all us know the following statement – ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail’. This is exactly what Carmine is talking about here. And it is not about the what you say, it’s how you say it. Voice, gestures and body language must match your words. As a result people may distrust you otherwise.

4. Teach me something new

Try reveal information that is completely new, packaged a different way or offers a new way to solve an old problem. Unfamiliar, unusual or unexpected elements can jolt listeners out of preconceived notions. You want to keep the listeners awake for as long as possible. Keep the listeners motivated to listen by teaching them something new.

5. Deliver Jaw dropping moments

Jaw dropping moments create emotionally-charged events. These are very emotional events that an audience is more likely to remember. Remember the Bill Gates story I mentioned in the Intro. This is exactly one of those moments that the author is talking about. That was one of the most memorable moments in the book.

6. Lighten up

Give the audience something to smile about. Humour Lowers defenses and will allow an audience to become more receptive. One other point which Carmine makes is that humour can make you seem more likeable. And we all want that, right.

7. Stick to the 18 minute rule

Too much information prevents successful transmission of ideas. Research has proven that the human attention span is around 7 seconds. Also, the human mind can only store 4-5 items in the short term memory. 18 minutes has proved to be enough time to get a key message across. So much so that Ted actually sets a limit of 18 minutes for a presentation. One way which the author advises you can keep to the 18 minute rule is by using the power of 3. Do not include more than 3 key points in the talk. Then only break each point into 3 sub points. The power of 3. Don’t forget.

8. Paint a mental picture with multisensory experiences

Utilise more than one of the senses – sight, sound, touch, taste or smell. It is harder to be bored when presented with awesome images or videos. Furthermore you can use props. In chapter 5, Carmine uses an example from a Ted talk. Dr Jill used a brain with the spinal cord still attached as her prop. Words cannot give this justice so head over here to see the full presentation.  That audience didn’t forget that talk any time soon.

9. Stay in your Lane

Be authentic, open and transparent. Fake people will find it difficult to gain trust with the listeners. Stick to what you know best and let yourself enjoy what is going on around you. A beautiful point to close the book off on. 

What I underlined

When I read a book, I underline. I underline points that are important or are good takeaways. What I underline may be different to what you underline. Or maybe it won’t.
This is what I underlined when I read Talk like Ted.
  • ‘Keep your talks short. Use stories as they are a more powerful way of connecting emotionally with your audience’ (pg 6)
  • ‘Inspire listeners by expressing enthusiasm, passion and a meaningful connection to your topic’ (pg 17)
  • Melissa Cardon – “If you’re starting a company in an area that you think will you rich but don’t enjoy the product, industry or the anything else about it – that’s a mistake” (pg 31)
  • Q – Why didn’t you tell us?  A – You never asked. (pg 38)
    • If you want to help someone, shut up and listen.
  • ‘No technique is 100% but telling personal stories comes close’ (pg 56)
  • I’m not going to get stuck on a no. I know a yes is coming’ (pg 58)
  • ‘Storytelling should be part of every discussion intended to persuade a listener to back your idea – whether is is a formal presentation or a casual conversation’ (pg 67)
  • A leader who fails to instill confidence among his subordinates during hundreds of everyday actions – will lose the loyalty of his troops when it really matters.’ (pg 91)
  • ‘Great presenters have animated body movements, they do not stay in one spot or look motionless. Standing absolutely still makes you appear rigid, boring and disengaged.’ (pg 102)
  • ‘Reveal information that is completely new, packaged differently it offers a fresh and novel way to solve an old problem to your audience.’ (pg 113)
  • ‘Researchers have discovered that “Cognitive backlog”, too much information, prevents the successful transmission of ideas.’ (pg 184)
  • ‘A constrained presentation is often more inspiring, creative and engaging than longer, meandering presentations that are boring, confusing and convoluted.’ (pg 190)
  • ‘Multimodal learning – pictures are processed in several channels instead of one, giving the brain a far deeper and meaningful encoding experience.’ (pg 214)
  • ‘Maya Angelou once said “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel”.’ (pg 221)
  • ‘Work is not separate from play and play is not separate from work. It’s all living – Richard Branson.’ (pg 242)

Final Synopsis

This was a very interesting read. One I am glad I took the time to enjoy.

Because of the topic of this book you may think it is not for you. I would like to disagree with that. Anybody that is involved in delivering any form of presentation should read this book. Whether you are in the boardroom or the classroom. Presenting a keynote speech or having an argument down the local pub. This book has something for you. Talk like Ted will help you be on the winning side of any argument or on the other side of a standing ovation.

The author, Carmine, presents the ideas in this book in a way that will allow any level of reader to pick them up easily. With his use of stories and facts, Talk like Ted truly is an enjoyable read.

My key takeaway from Talk like Ted was simply that I too can deliver an outstanding talk to anybody. The 9-secrets will help me to achieve this. Even if I decide not to use a human brain as a prop.

Thanks for reading.




About David Lewis