Book Summary: Talk Like TED Summary Carmine Gallo

Talk Like TED Summary

Book Review:

  • Lively and appealing… the book draws on current brain
  • science to explain what wins over, and fires up, an audience
  • The book is sure to be a hit with anyone who
  • wants to be more a successful communicator

Introduction: Ideas Are the Currency of the Twenty-first Century

Talk Like TED is for anyone who wants to speak with more confidence and authority.

It’s for anyone who delivers presentations, sells products

and services, or leads people who need to be inspired.

PART I: Emotional

The key part of the TED format is that we have humans connecting to humans in a direct and almost vulnerable way

1. Unleash the Master Within

Science shows that passion is contagious, literally.

You cannot inspire others unless you are inspired yourself.

You stand a much greater chance of persuading and inspiring

your listeners if you express an enthusiastic, passionate,

and meaningful connection to your topic.


“What makes my heart sing?” Your passion is not a passing

interest or even a hobby. A passion is something that is

intensely meaningful and core to your identity.

Amazingly, if your motivation is to share your passion

with your audience, it’s likely that you’ll feel less nervous

about speaking in public or delivering that

all-important presentation in front of your boss

If the highly charismatic person was happy,

the low charismatic would report being happier, too.

“individuals who are rated high on charisma tend

to express more positive emotions in their written

and spoken communications.”15 Positive emotions include

passion, enthusiasm, excitement, and optimism.

It’s been said that success doesn’t lead to

happiness; happiness creates success.

2. Master the Art of Storytelling

“Stories are just data with a soul.”

Bryan Stevenson, the speaker who earned the longest

standing ovation in TED history, spent 65 percent of his presentation telling stories.

Brain scans reveal that stories stimulate and engage

the human brain, helping the speaker connect with the

audience and making it much more likely that the audience

will agree with the speaker’s point of view.

Persuasion occurs when three components

are represented: ethos, logos, and pathos.

Ethos is credibility. We tend to agree with people whom

we respect for their achievements, title, experience, etc.

Logos is the means of persuasion through logic, data, and statistics.

Pathos is the act of appealing to emotions

10% Ethos, 25% Logos, 65% Pathos

We all love stories.

We’re born for them.

Stories affirm who we are


When I give a keynote presentation I tell personal stories,

stories about other individuals whom I know personally,

have interviewed, or have read about, and stories of brands

that have successfully leveraged the business strategy I’m discussing.

Avoid overused buzzwords and clichés. Marketers love

to use words such as leading, solutions, and ecosystem

He called the first story shape “Man in a Hole.”

“Somebody gets into trouble; gets out of it again.

People love that story. They never get sick of it!”23

The second story shape was called “Boy Gets Girl.”

Ideas are the currency of the twenty-first century and

stories facilitate the exchange of that currency.

Stories illustrate, illuminate, and inspire.

3. Have a Conversation

Practice relentlessly and internalize your content so that

you can deliver the presentation as comfortably as having

a conversation with a close friend

An authentic presentation requires hours of work—digging deeper

into your soul than you ever have,

choosing the right words that best represent

the way you feel about your topic, delivering those

words for maximum impact, and

making sure that your nonverbal

communication—your gestures, facial expressions, and body

language—are consistent with your message.


The way you carry yourself actually changes the way you

feel when you’re delivering a presentation.


Sirolli’s gestures are so animated,

it’s impossible to adequately

describe them in text. Visit TED.com and search

“Ernesto Sirolli” to see him for yourself.

Every gesture helps to paint the pictures he’s creating verbally.

He doesn’t even use slides.

He doesn’t need to. His gestures and animation decorate his

words for him. His presence is commanding and dynamic.

Walk, move, and work the room.

PART II: Novel

4. Teach Me Something New

Reveal information that’s completely new to your audience,

packaged differently, or offers a fresh and novel way to solve an old problem

The human brain loves novelty.

An unfamiliar, unusual, or Unexpected element

in a presentation intrigues the audience,

jolts them out of their preconceived notions, and quickly

gives them a new way of looking at the world.

Learning is addictive because it’s joyful.

5. Deliver Jaw-Dropping Moments

Jaw-dropping moments create what neuroscientists call an

emotionally charged event, a heightened state of emotion that

makes it more likely your audience will remember your message

One popular technology blogger wrote the headline, “


Well, it wasn’t exactly a “swarm” of mosquitoes (the small jar contained only a few).

Your presentation content will make a better impact if it

can be stamped onto the minds of your listeners.

6. Lighten Up

Don’t take yourself (or your topic) too seriously.

The brain loves humor.

Give your audience something to smile about.

Humor lowers defenses,

making your audience more receptive to your message.

It also makes you seem more likable, and people are more

willing to do business with or support someone they like.

Laughter also plays an important role in strengthening group cohesion

Most TED presenters who elicit laughs from the audience tend

to relate anecdotal information about themselves or people they know, observations about

Many popular TED presenters provoke laughter by using analogies

An easy way to get a laugh without being a comedian or

telling a joke is to quote somebody else who said something funny.

Video, however, is a very effective way of bringing humor into

a presentation: it takes the pressure off you to be funny.

PART III: Memorable

7. Stick to the 18-Minute Rule

Eighteen minutes is the ideal length of time for a presentation.

If you must create one that’s longer, build in soft breaks

(stories, videos, demonstrations) every 10 minutes.

“cognitive backlog,” too much information,

prevents the successful transmission of ideas.

Long, convoluted, and meandering presentations are

dull; a surefire way to lose your audience.

8. Paint a Mental Picture with Multisensory Experiences

Deliver presentations with components that touch more

than one of the senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell

The brain does not pay attention to boring things.

It’s nearly impossible to be bored

if you’re exposed to mesmerizing images, captivating videos,

intriguing props, beautiful words, and more than one voice bringing the story to life.

It takes courage to make your story so simple that a seventh-grader can understand it.

It takes courage to build a slide with one word on it, as Bono did.

It takes courage to show photographs instead of filling your slides with bullets points and text.

9. Stay in Your Lane

Be authentic, open, and transparent.

Most people can spot a phony. If you try to be something

or someone you’re not, you’ll fail to gain the trust of your audience.

When you deliver a presentation, your goal should

not be to “deliver a presentation.” It should be to inspire your audience,

to move them, and to encourage them to dream bigger.

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