Have you ever watched a TED talk?
If you ask most business consultants, thought leaders, speakers, educators, and I would say all millennials in college, they would be all too familiar with a TED talk.
According to their website, a TED talk is a video created from a presentation at the main TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference or one of its many satellite events around the world. TED talks are limited to a maximum length of 18 minutes but may be on any topic. TED looks for engaging, charismatic speakers that have interesting ideas to share with a broad audience.
The first TED conference was in 1984; the conference has been held annually since 1990. Over the years, presenters of TED talks have included Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Bono, Jane Goodall, Malcolm Gladwell, and Anthony Robbins.
You can look mine up too!
Here are some approaches to consider if you’re looking to deliver a TED talk, offer seminars in connection with sales of life insurance, annuities, or other financial services products, or bone up on your speaking skills.
1. Start with your best stuff!
Many TED talks begin with a direct statement. “Social media is actually preventing many of us from establishing real life personal connections. We’re losing sight of the value of the personal touch.” Of course, your best stuff can be a direct statement, a story, statistic, a “Did you know…”, or a quote. Try not to let your “best stuff” be, “Good morning, my name is…and I’m here to discuss…”
2. Tell stories to make your points.
Audiences remember stories. Especially stories they can relate to and that create an emotional charge. The best stories are colorful and detailed, but not too wordy. If you can tell a story in a succinct and yet compelling way, you’ll be able to take your audience for a ride. Just make sure the last stop is a relevant point you’re looking to make with them.
3. Organize your main thoughts.
It’s always best if your audience can follow your main points. “I have a few ideas about Long Term Care that I want to share with you.” Or, “Here are the five most important things you need to know about Long Term Care. First, …”
4. Relate to your audience.
Your topic, stories, main points, sub points, and overall purpose of your presentation (to inform, persuade, or entertain) needs to be relevant to your audience. You can certainly tell stories about yourself and share experiences but try to put yourself in the audience’s seat. What is important to them? What problems are they looking to solve? How can you help them? What should they do about it?
5. Use humor when possible.
Depending on your topic, main points, and context, humor can be a nice way to keep your audience engaged while making you likeable and relatable. Heck, you may surprise attendees who thought they were in for a boring presentation about life insurance. You don’t need to be Robin Williams funny but if you’re humorous, in a way that isn’t condescending and sarcastic, your audience will listen and remember.
6. Maintain eye contact.
Always keep your eyes on your audience and give each section of the room equal time. When speaking, I view my audience in thirds – the left, right, and center. This way, I’m able to split my time in the form of my eye contact in three even ways. This is especially true when you’re speaking from notes or PowerPoint. In fact, the less notes and information on slides you have, the less compelled you will be to peek at them.
7. End with a call to action.
In TED talks, most speakers will offer a “call to action” or an invitation to consider something, think differently, or to take action to make a difference. What do you ultimately want from your audience? There are all different styles when it comes to “selling from the stage.” I tend to take more of a soft sell approach. “If you like my ideas and want to learn more, let me know. If you think I can help you with…let’s discuss and see what might make sense.” If you’re clever, you could start with your “call to action” at the beginning of your presentation (your best stuff?) and circle back and repeat in your close. Just make sure your presentation is full of great ideas and not simply an infomercial.
As a financial advisor, broker, planner, product wholesaler (especially given all the speaking you do!), or other type of sales producer, if you can take important information and incorporate these ideas in a brief presentation that matters, you’ll be more impactful about making a connection with your audience and ultimately, writing more business.
Who’s your target market? How can you get them in a room to listen to you speak about important information that can help them? When will you get started?
Sell your next seminar not your next appointment.
There’s your call to action!
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article carried by the wrong author name. The author is Michael Goldberg.
— Read 6 Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking Voice on ThinkAdvisor.