Sunday, July 24, 2016

Review of "TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking," by Chris Anderson

Review of

TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking, by Chris Anderson ISBN 9780544634497

Four out of five stars

 It is common knowledge that having to speak in front of others is one of the greatest fears of many people. People that are otherwise confident are turned into a mass of frayed nerves at the prospect of giving a speech to others. TED is an acronym for “Technology, Entertainment, Design” but is really just a label of an approach for delivering public talks and a non-profit organization having the same name.
 The book is largely an intertwined combination of examples of success using the TED methods as well as a commercial for the organization. The author is the head of TED, so this is understandable.
 The main point of the TED method is the development of speeches that are roughly 18 minutes long and consequently must stay on message. This is of course an essential precondition for a successful speech. Other points concern appropriate attire, the use of electronic presentations and notes, how to engage with the audience and recovering from small gaffes. In these areas, great latitude is given to the speaker as the author points out that in almost all cases it is the content that counts. If you are keeping the audience on the edge of their seats, they have less interest in engaging in critical analysis of the person delivering the speech.
 While this is a book about public speaking, it is more about the ability to effectively communicate. All fears notwithstanding, most people have to give presentations to groups and success or failure can ride on their performance. This book contains sound advice on tactics that all people can use to overcome this great fear.

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