Talk Like Ted – Book Review

I am a fan of books on presenting, especially good ones, and this new book by Carmine Gallo, TALK LIKE TED – The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds, is definitely a good one. The approach Gallo has taken is to analyse over 500 Ted talks, looking at the videos, interviewing the speakers, and working with the people involved in making it happen. The book highlights great Ted Talks, such as those by Hans Rosling, Amy Cuddy, and Amanda Palmer, and uses these to describe the lessons we can all learn from them. Gallo divides these lessons into three groups of three, and includes many of the well-known points about passion and storytelling. However, because TED talks are available via the web, we can read his descriptions and check out the videos – increasing our understanding of the points he is making, seeing them in action. No book is going to be a complete solution, and I could quibble with some of the advice. For example, I would like the book to focus a bit more on identify the needs of a specific audience, and in my professional world I often have to deal with speakers and/or audiences […]

Stand tall and if necessary ‘fake it till you make it’

For several years, when teaching presenting, I have been asking people to stand when they present and to adopt ‘high power’ body positions and avoid low power positions, for example not crossing your arms and legs, and not standing sideways on to the audience. I arrived at this advice based on my own observations, tips from other trainers, and by applying learning from other fields – but there was limited, specific evidence for what I was saying. However, I no longer need to rely on my homespun theories. Kristin Luck (a great presenter in her own right) has highlighted Amy Cuddy to me. Watch the video below, Amy Cuddy at TED, and you will understand the extent to which how you stand impacts a) how the audience receive your message, and b) the way you feel. The ‘fake it till you make’ it part has two elements. Firstly, standing in a power position changes the chemicals in your brain to make you more confident, even though you are ‘pretending’ to be confident. Over time, you will change and you won’t be faking it. So faking it till you make it means getting a benefit in the short term and changing […]

Significant Digits – a key element of clearer numbers

I am in the process of writing an introductory statistics book for market researchers. This post and some of the following posts are taken from that book, in an attempt to field test the style, approach, and depth I am employing. All comments welcome. My recommendation is that most numbers in presentations and reports should be presented as 2 or 3 significant digits. I feel that the issue of significant digits is more important than the more frequently discussed issue of decimal places. In a number, the significant digits are those that carry the key details. If a bank robber steals $56 million, the 5 and the 6 are the significant digits – and the million gives the scale of the number. If we say that PI is 3.1416 then we are showing it to four decimal places and five significant digits. Table 1 shows the number of internet users in five key, original, members of the EU; showing the raw numbers and the same numbers using two significant digits. Column B shows the estimates in the format they were downloaded from the InternetWorldStats website. These raw numbers contain 7 or 8 digits, and commas are used to help make […]