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Top 7 TED Talks on Public Speaking to Inspire You

Top 7 TED Talks on Public Speaking to Inspire You

TED is the hub for innovators to spread ideas, mindsets, and opinions for people around the world. Public Speaking is a frequently mentioned topic during the TED Talk series. All TED Talk speakers are excellent at public speaking, due to their ability to captivate an audience’s attention during the 30-60 minute length of the talk. Wonder how they can do it? Here are the top 7 TED Talks on Public Speaking to inspire you!

Have you ever wondered why after watching Steve Jobs introduce a new iPhone model, you had the urge to run to the store and buy the newest model? Or, why the enduring sentence by Franklin Delano Roosevelt – “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” still echoes a century later? That’s the power of public speaking. Excellent public speakers have the ability to inspire the audience and motivate them to act. These TED Talks on Public Speaking will help you master the art of effective communication, and we will tell you why. 

1. Before you even get started practicing

TED’s secret to great public speaking | Chris Anderson

In this talk, TED’s curator Chris Anderson shares this secret ingredient to great public speaking, and four actionable way, or what we call “The perfect formula for a great speech”, to spread your ideas and opinions to the next audience.  

One, what is the one idea you are enthusiastic about sharing? Ideas are oftentimes complicated and take the speaker time to explain with reasoning and evidence. People have limited time, so stick to only one idea and develop from there.  

Two, why should people care? According to the TIME magazine, human attention span has decreased drastically to only 8 seconds. So, what methods you will use to capture a person’s attention and ask for their permission to welcome you in? – It’s curiosity. By stirring their curiosity and identifying a knowledge gap, you will be able to grasp a person’s attention.  

Three, how you are going to express that idea? Language has tremendous power, “but not your language, their language”. Flexing on complicated words and sentences makes you seem smart, but no one is going to listen to you.  

Four, who does this idea benefit? With TED’s slogan being “ideas worth spreading”, it’s important that you know the potential of your idea. Someone is going to be inspired by your opinions and go out to the world to develop something better, or change their actions based on your ideas. Share an idea worth listening to and being inspired. 

2. Ok, but you hate speaking in front of an audience, whether it’s several or thousands of people

The science of stage fright (and how to overcome it) | Mikael Cho 

How I beat stage fright | Joe Kowan  

Remember the feeling when you gave your first presentation in front of the class, and you were just frozen, your palms were sweaty, and you couldn’t seem to form a proper sentence without “uhmm”, “uhh”, “like”, etc. In these two videos, TED educator Mikael Cho explains your body’s reaction when you have stage fright and TED speaker Joe Kowan leads us on his personal story of how he fought or came to co-exist with his fear to perform in public. Fear has two meanings: Forget everything and run, or face everything and rise. It’s up to you to choose whether you will run or rise.  

3. I can work on stage fright, but how can I get people to listen to me?

How to speak so that people want to listen | Julian Treasure 

Your body language may shape who you are | Amy Cuddy 

When you try your best to deliver a speech, but no one seems to be listening to you, you wonder, what did you do wrong? Are you boring? Julian Treasure and Amy Cuddy have spoken excellently on this topic and provide you with methods to deliver a powerful speech and control your body gestures. In the video, Julian mentioned 7 bad speaking habits that people should turn away from gossip, judging, negativity, complaining, excuses, penultimate, and dogmatism. Then, he suggested using the “HAIL” method to transform your public speaking ability: Honesty, Authenticity, Integrity, and Love. In her talk, Amy Cuddy introduces tiny tweaks to your body that can change how your speech is delivered. One of those tweaks is power posing.  

4. I don’t know how to structure my talk

The secret structure of great talks | Nancy Duarte 

The clue to a great story | Andrew Stanton 

All great talks by leaders share a common structure to deliver their messages and make them resonate with listeners. Nancy shares with the audience the structure she discovered. “You need to establish what is…here’s the status quo, here’s what’s going on. Then you need to compare that to what could be”, then you end with “a call to action” – “this is the way the world is going to look, when we join together and we solve this big problem”.  

Another great video is from Andrew Stanton, the filmmaker of “Toy Story” and “WALL-E”. He shared what he knows about storytelling from years of working to writing different Disney movies that children and adults enjoy throughout their lives.  

What’s better than a TED speaker creating a TED Talk to discuss public speaking? These TED Talks provide information about methods of storytelling, body language while public speaking, and how to go out to the world and leave a lasting impression on your audience.  

We hope that the article motivates you to overcome the fear of public speaking by taking actionable steps. There is no single formula to public speaking improvement, but to practice and practice every day. Check out Aralia’s Public Speaking Course Series and learn how to communicate effectively, and improve your public speaking skills even if it’s through Zoom or in person.  

Public Speaking and Debate

This Public Speaking and Debate class will offer the opportunity to speak and listen to others talk only as much as possible. We will alternate between learning the structure of different types of speeches and making presentations by one student to the rest of the class. After each speech by students, we will have a critique from the peers, and the teacher. They will also be required and coached on how to participate in the discussion and to critique their peers.

TED-Style Public Speaking

In this English Speaking course, each class will focus on different topics: sports, volunteer experience, current affairs, politics, culture, education, literature, technology, and the environment. These various themes are based on real situations that students will encounter when they come to the United States. Learning to discuss these topics will be very useful when interacting with native English speakers. Students will build a solid foundation in oral expression and learn how to express themselves confidently and clearly in English.

Accent Reduction

The accent reduction course focuses on understanding and strengthening the unique sounds and structures that make up the “neutral” dialect. While there are many dialects throughout America, it is the neutral accent commonly practiced by public speakers and officials. Radio DJs, TV news anchors, and even most Hollywood movie actors use the neutral accent to convey their message to the largest group of Americans possible. By eliminating accents in communication, we can more easily connect to our audience and erase any misunderstandings or unconscious bias from a foreign dialect, whether domestic or international.

What's Next?

Are you ready to improve your public speaking skills? Read more at 3 Ways to Improve Public Speaking — Tips for High School Students

Want to improve your nonverbal aspect of public speaking? 8 Nonverbal Tips for Public SpeakingTop 12 Summer Reads for Incoming High School Freshmen

You’re great at public speaking and want to participate in debate competitions! Check out 6 Debate Competitions for High School Students


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