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7 TED Talks on how to improve your presentations

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It’s a hard truth of the digital age: Capturing and keeping another person’s attention is getting more difficult. While the empirical evidence on the average person's attention span during a presentation is limited, the phrase "death by PowerPoint" rings all too true. IT leaders know from experience that audiences lack patience for ineffective speakers. That’s why it’s more important than ever for all of us to be thoughtful about how to deliver information.

[ Which IT roles are vanishing? Read our article,  4 dying IT jobs . ]

Thankfully for CIOs and other leaders in training, there are abundant tips from skilled presenters on how to elevate your performance before your next appearance – on stage at a conference, before the board or executive team, or even in front of your own organization. This no-nonsense advice will help you win – and keep – your audience.

1. The secret structure of great talks

Speaker: Nancy Duarte

Why do we sit with rapt attention listening to a compelling story yet find ourselves nodding off during most presentations? Communication expert Nancy Duarte spent time digging into the best stories from history, cinema, and literature – and also suffering through some of the worst presentations she could get her hands on – to explore the differences and come up with a winning model for great presentations. In this talk, Duarte explores the secrets and structures of the greatest communicators and their public speaking efforts – from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech to Steve Job’s public unveiling of the iPhone. She shares with the audience the common storytelling structure utilized by compelling presenters that you can apply to your next effort.

2. The beauty of data visualization

Speaker: David McCandless

Data is the lifeblood of IT, the business, and many an IT leader presentation. But on its own, data can be lifeless – or worse, ineffective or misleading.

British data journalist David McCandless is skilled at transforming complex data sets into engaging data visualizations that are not only lovely to look at but also instantly bring to life the stories within the data. Data is not the new oil, he says, but the new soil – “a fertile, creative medium” – if you know how to manipulate and design it. McCandless shares his tips for visualizing information so that an audience can see the patterns and connections that matter.

3. How to speak so that people want to listen

Speaker: Julian Treasure

The first thing IT leaders consider when preparing for a presentation might be the visuals, the words, or even the best outfit to wear – all important components. But they may be overlooking one of the most important instruments in their toolkits: Their voices. Sound and communication expert (and five-time TED speaker) Julian Treasure argues that what you say may be less important than how you say it, and outlines some of the most important aspects of vocal delivery.

4. Your body language may shape who you are

Speaker: Amy Cuddy

With nearly 50 million views, social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s now well-known TED Global 2012 Talk can help IT leaders harness another important aspect of presenting: body language. Her talk is not simply about how body language impacts how others see us, but also how we see ourselves. In this video, IT leaders can learn all about the “power pose” – a way of standing confidently like Superman or Wonder Woman. While there was some criticism of the science behind Cuddy’s research about power positions and their impact on hormones, which she has since refuted, IT leaders can try the posing advice out for themselves before stepping on the stage or into the boardroom.

business presentation ted talk

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How to give more persuasive presentations: A Q&A with Nancy Duarte

presentations_no_cliches_TED

Stepping onto the TED or TEDx stage — or speaking in front of any group of people, for that matter — is truly nerve-wracking. Will you remember everything you wanted to say, or get so discombobulated that you skip over major points? Will the audience be receptive to your ideas, or will you notice a guy in row three nodding off to sleep?

Presentation expert Nancy Duarte , who gave the TED Talk “ The secret structure of great talks ,” has built her career helping people express their ideas in presentations. The author of  Slide:ology  and  Resonate , Duarte has just released a new book through the Harvard Business Review:  The HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations .

What would you say are the three keys to giving a great presentation?

The number one thing, I think, is to be audience-centric. To take the time to think through who the audience is and develop all your material from a place of empathy toward them. You’re asking them to adopt your idea, which means they may have to abandon a belief they hold as true — and that’s hard. So, know your audience — take a walk in their shoes. What keeps them up at night? How are they wired to resist your message? Most presenters are consumed with preparing their content rapidly, which makes the material about their own narrow perspective. By flipping that paradigm to an audience-centric approach, your material will resonate and the audience can feel a deeper connection to you and your material.

Number two, you need to understand your role in the presentation. So many people feel like they’re the central figure — kind of like the hero of the story — because they’re the one talking the most. But in reality, your role is that of a mentor — you should be giving the audience a magical gift or a special tool, or helping them get unstuck in some way. You have to defer to your audience. When you put your idea out there for an audience to contend with — if they reject your idea, your idea will die. You have to think of it as, “The speaker needs the audience more than the audience needs the speaker.” Then you’ll start to approach a material with your audience in mind – you’ll have more of a stance of humility than one of arrogance. That will help you create the kind of movement needed to get your idea to spread.

And then the third thing — wrap your content in story. A story serves like the sugarcoating on the outside of a pill in some ways — it just makes it go down easier. If you look at preliterate generations for thousands and thousands of years, stories would pass down for generation after generation after generation — and stay almost completely intact. Yet, a lot of people can’t remember the last presentation they sat through. So, using principles of story — the tension and release that happens in a story — that’s what will help persuade the audience toward your idea.

What do you feel like you learned from giving your own TED Talk?

I learned so much. Being the “Presentation Lady,” I knew I couldn’t suck at it. The hardest part was getting [my talk] to fit within this finite amount of time. So I trimmed and trimmed, keeping in mind that you still have to nail why this is important to the audience. I had a person coach me and point out places where I could trim. “You took too long here, and that made this part of emphasis too long.” I worked with the timer counting up until I knew I was within the time window — then what I did was work with the timer counting down so I’d know, “When I’m a fourth of the way through, I should be on this slide. When I’m halfway through, I need to be on this slide.” I created markers in my mind so I would know how I was running on time. Sure enough, I finished the talk and I had six seconds left on the clock.

It was a great experience for me because I hadn’t gone through it myself. I’d coached people through it but — wow — to actually be a victim was interesting. I learned the power of rehearsing. If you rehearse really, really, really well — it looks improvisational. Some people rehearse to a point where they’re robotic, and they sound like they have memorized their presentation and didn’t take it to the next level. Going from sounding memorized and canned to sounding natural is a lot of work.

So, the classic advice for stage fright is to imagine the audience in their underwear. What do you recommend people do to calm their nerves?

I don’t usually get nervous, but when I got on [the TED] stage, I was nervous because it’s pretty high stakes. I recommend doing some breathing exercises — breathe in as deep as you can, and then take a couple more big gasps. Then, release it really slowly. That calms my heart down. But my favorite piece of advice isn’t my own — it’s from a guy named Nick Morgan. He said, “What you need to do right before you walk on stage is think of someone that you love dearly.” Doing that, I felt the chemistry in my whole body change. My shoulders relaxed and my heart melted. That feeling of affection makes your body calm itself down. That’s a really great way to stop stage fright.

What is the best way to start creating a presentation?

My best advice is to not start in PowerPoint. Presentation tools force you to think through information linearly, and you really need to start by thinking of the whole instead of the individual lines. I encourage people to use 3×5 note cards or sticky notes — write one idea per note. I tape mine up on the wall and then study them. Then I arrange them and rearrange them — just work and work until the structure feels sound. And from that sound structure, you start to fill it in using a presentation tool.

[For visuals], I think people tend to go with the easiest, fastest idea. Like, “I’m going to put a handshake in front of a globe to mean partnership!” Well, how many handshakes in front of a globe do we have to look at before we realize it’s a total cliche? Another common one — the arrow in the middle of a bullseye. Really? Everyone else is thinking that way. The slides themselves are supposed to be a mnemonic device for the audience so they can remember what you had to say. They’re not just a teleprompter for the speaker. A bullseye isn’t going to make anyone remember anything. Don’t go for the first idea. Think about the point you’re trying to make and brainstorm individual moments that you’re trying to emphasize. Think to the second, the third, the fourth idea — and by the time you get to about the tenth idea, those will be the more clever memorable things for the audience.

One thing that is really different about giving a TED Talk is the fact that you know it will be filmed. How do you think about the difference between live presentations and ones that will exist on video?

On stage, it feels really awkward to do large movements because — normally in life — we’re talking to someone in a more intimate setting and moving your arms really big feels melodramatic. But on the stage, you have to move your body in really big gestures. It feels awkward at first if you’re not used to it, so you have to kind of close your eyes and get used to it. Say things and move largely. Take big bold steps forward, big bold steps backward. You have this grand stage and people don’t use the space enough. I think one of the great things that Jill Bolte Taylor did was how she used her body. Her arms stretched all the way up when she talked about nirvana. Then she when she talks about her whole soul feeling constricted, she brings her hands down and folds her arms down in front of her. She’s using her body as a prop. That’s an important way to create meaning.

TED-Talks-on-public-speaking

Also, with video, a tech rehearsal is important. Your audience on video is exponentially larger than the people in the room. So by familiarizing yourself with the cameras, you can at least look in that general direction. You know how you’re supposed to look around the audience — look and hold for five seconds, look and hold for five seconds? You should look at the camera as if it’s a human. Get used to seeing that circular lens as a face. Feel like it’s a person you’re talking to, because that audience on camera needs to feel like they’re there and that you’re looking right at them.

To me, presentations are the most powerful device. You can’t really name a movement that didn’t start with the spoken word. TED was once this exclusive, amazing event where ideas were exchanged, but you’ve moved to treating presentations as a media type. You guys have been so refined at it, that what it’s done is created a movement. What TED has done is made a platform for introverts, for scientists, for inventors — to share their ideas in a way that’s clear and appeals to a broad audience so that their ideas spread and get adopted. It’s completely changed how people present. It’s created this desire to be excellent in communication.

When you look at even how businesses communicated in the ’30’s, ’40’s and ’50’s — they were so much clearer and well-crafted. I recently went to the Stanford Library and I got a bunch of old GE Board meetings from, like, 1957. And I thought, “These are so beautiful!” Their presentations referenced history, they quoted things, they crafted their words in such a beautiful way. Then PowerPoint entered into the mix and suddenly there wasn’t any desire to craft anymore. I think TED Talks have brought the desire for the craft back.

Your new book is from the Harvard Business Review. Is it intended for someone who is in business, or for anyone?

All of my books are for anyone who has an idea that they need to communicate! I loved working with Harvard Business Review and I think because of the publisher, business professionals may be more interested in this book. But anyone with an idea can benefit from it. It’s a guidebook, so that people can think, “Oh, I need to know how to do this specific thing. I’m going to go get this book and find that one thing.”

Want more advice on giving talks? Our curator Chris Anderson is writing the official TED guide to public speaking —to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in spring 2016. Titled Talk This Way! , it will be packed with insights on what makes talks work.

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How to Give a Killer Presentation

  • Chris Anderson

business presentation ted talk

For more than 30 years, the TED conference series has presented enlightening talks that people enjoy watching. In this article, Anderson, TED’s curator, shares five keys to great presentations:

  • Frame your story (figure out where to start and where to end).
  • Plan your delivery (decide whether to memorize your speech word for word or develop bullet points and then rehearse it—over and over).
  • Work on stage presence (but remember that your story matters more than how you stand or whether you’re visibly nervous).
  • Plan the multimedia (whatever you do, don’t read from PowerPoint slides).
  • Put it together (play to your strengths and be authentic).

According to Anderson, presentations rise or fall on the quality of the idea, the narrative, and the passion of the speaker. It’s about substance—not style. In fact, it’s fairly easy to “coach out” the problems in a talk, but there’s no way to “coach in” the basic story—the presenter has to have the raw material. So if your thinking is not there yet, he advises, decline that invitation to speak. Instead, keep working until you have an idea that’s worth sharing.

Lessons from TED

A little more than a year ago, on a trip to Nairobi, Kenya, some colleagues and I met a 12-year-old Masai boy named Richard Turere, who told us a fascinating story. His family raises livestock on the edge of a vast national park, and one of the biggest challenges is protecting the animals from lions—especially at night. Richard had noticed that placing lamps in a field didn’t deter lion attacks, but when he walked the field with a torch, the lions stayed away. From a young age, he’d been interested in electronics, teaching himself by, for example, taking apart his parents’ radio. He used that experience to devise a system of lights that would turn on and off in sequence—using solar panels, a car battery, and a motorcycle indicator box—and thereby create a sense of movement that he hoped would scare off the lions. He installed the lights, and the lions stopped attacking. Soon villages elsewhere in Kenya began installing Richard’s “lion lights.”

  • CA Chris Anderson is the curator of TED.

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All Articles Leadership Communication Learn from TEDx talks for your next business presentation

Learn from TEDx talks for your next business presentation

Even if you never deliver a TED or TEDx talk, there are lessons to learn about public speaking and presenting your ideas effectively.

By Stephanie Scotti 03/06/20

Communication

Learn from TEDx talks for your next business presentation

Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

Business presentations are an opportunity for leaders to showcase their expertise and audience members to engage with valuable, inspiring information. TED and TEDx talks (which are local and independently organized events) have come to represent the pinnacle of high caliber business presentations.

I recently had the honor of coaching speakers for TEDxCaryWomen . Participating in the process was educational (even for a veteran, like myself). The curator for this event, Stephanie Sarazin, did a marvelous job of making sure each presentation amplified a powerful idea and challenged the speakers to offer an alternate view that shifted listeners’ perspectives. Her vision and direction increased the value of the event for the audience and speakers alike.

With this in mind, let’s look at which best practices from TED-style talks apply to everyday business presentations.

1. Adjust your mindset to invite curiosity 

The first best practice that sets TED speakers apart is that they approach their talks as if they are simply talking with their audience. This approach touches each listener in a way that feels almost personal and invites listeners into the conversation.

Chris Anderson , curator and head of TED, describes this process in his book “TED Talks: the Official TED Guide to Public Speaking.” He says it all starts with mindset:

“The first step is to think of your talk as not being an issue, but an idea. … An issue-based talk leads with morality. An idea-based talk leads with curiosity. An issue exposes a problem. An idea proposes a solution. An issue says, ‘Isn’t this terrible?’ An idea says, ‘Isn’t this interesting?’”

I think this is one of the elements that makes TED talks so alluring — there is no judgment. But there is a shake-up, a prompting, an invitation to see or experience life from a different perspective. If you approach your next business presentation with a similar mindset, your ideas will resonate with your audience like never before.

Pro tip: What would happen if, when preparing for that next town hall meeting, you shifted your mindset from “let’s get through this” to “how can I pique my audience’s curiosity and invite them to be a part of the conversation or the solution?” 

2. Excavate your idea worth sharing

TED talks are a maximum of 18 minutes — a length intentionally chosen by TED organizers based both on neuroscience and strategy. Eighteen minutes is long enough for a speaker to flesh out a complete idea, but short enough for listeners to absorb, digest and understand. This particular “guardrail” helps TED speakers focus on one core idea and may be a good benchmark for your next business presentation. 

In my experience, whether you’re a TED speaker or a business leader, the real work starts with sorting through the topic and teasing out the core idea. Like an archaeologist carefully sweeping aside the grit to expose the nugget of real value, you need to excavate your idea worth sharing.

Regardless of the length of your presentation, aim to get your idea down to a pithy 10 words or less. Also referred to as the through line, core message, or what I call your unique perspective, these 10 words must be easy to recall and repeat. After all, if the listeners can’t recall and repeat, did they really “get” the message?

Pro tip:  To get to your unique perspective ask yourself: Why is this topic relevant to this audience at this time? What about it is critical for them to understand in order to move forward? Ask these questions not once or twice, but over and over — in the repetition, the answers will emerge. The goal is to discover the real need and express it simply and in plain language so listeners can recall and repeat your idea worth sharing. 

3. Connect, don’t perform

It’s easy to watch a masterful TEDx talk and think that the value is in the performance. After all, TED talks are known for being inspiring and entertaining, and TED speakers are absolutely at the top of their games. But to focus on the performance is to miss what really sets these presentations apart: the connection.

Consider your favorite TED talks and why you treasure them. I bet your answer has to do with the speaker’s passion, conviction, and their ability to connect with their listeners. Successful business presentations have this in common with TED-style talks. So how do you ensure you connect with your audience when you give your next presentation?

Developing an authentic business presentation takes thoughtful consideration. A cut-and-paste presentation rarely meets the need. Authenticity requires a commitment to writing and rewriting until you nail the content. Beyond content, delivery matters, too. Consider where to stand and what gestures emphasize your points effectively without coming across as phony. Then, practice out loud.

Adequate preparation will allow you to keep it real and talk to the audience as if you’re talking to a good friend over a favorite beverage; the real you will shine through. This level of authenticity builds rapport, establishes trust, and creates a lasting impression with your audience.

Pro tip:  A successful presentation is not about getting everything perfect. It’s about being prepared, wanting to connect and sharing openly with others. To get there, remember to practice out loud!

4. Share your passion to inspire

Finally, as a business communicator, you might not always feel as passionate about your subject matter as a TED speaker. However, you can use the desire to accomplish your goals as fuel to drive an engaging delivery that inspires action.

Regardless of the topic or how many times you’ve delivered a presentation on the subject matter, it’s crucial that you deliver your ideas with enthusiasm. Keep in mind that your audience will take their cues from you. If you seem disinterested, you can bet your audience will be bored. To deliver a message that resonates, you must convey your conviction for the topic.

Pro tip: Again, this best practice is about developing the mindset that will make you a successful presenter. It’s your enthusiasm for your topic that drives an engaging, authentic delivery that will in turn resonate with listeners.

Read this related article to learn how to develop a message you believe in: “The One Thing You Must Do To Be Successful When You Speak.”

Whether you’ve been asked to deliver a TED-style talk or present to your team, remember that every presentation is an opportunity to connect with people who can help you achieve results. Use these four best practices to ensure that you’re taking full advantage of your next opportunity!

Stephanie Scotti is a strategic communication advisor specializing in high-stake presentations. She has 25-plus years experience of coaching experience and eight years teaching presentation skills for Duke University. She has provided presentation coaching to over 3,000 individuals in professional practices, Fortune 500 companies, high-level government officials and international business executives. Learn more at  ProfessionallySpeaking.net  and  ProfessionallySpeakingBlog.com.

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for SmartBrief’s free e-mail on leadership and our weekly PR Council newsletter , among SmartBrief’s more than 200 industry-focused newsletters .

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How to build a TED Talk-worthy presentation

Presentation Shapes Image

If you’ve experienced the challenge of developing and/or delivering an important presentation to a good-sized audience, there’s a chance you hoped it would go as well as a TED Talk—those incredibly well regarded presentations first popularized by the TED Foundation in the mid 2000s. TED Talks are often considered the “Everest” of engaging, informative presentations. Killing it on the TED stage is significant.

So with the intention of acting as your presentation sherpa, this article offers 8 steps to give you the best chance of building and delivering a TED Talk-worthy presentation.

business presentation ted talk

TED Talks. People listen.   ‍

TED is a nonprofit with a mission to “spread ideas.” It began as a one-off conference (on technology, entertainment and design) in 1984—eventually evolving to a point where it launched an audio and podcast series called TED Talks .

From the history page on their site:

“ The first six TED Talks were posted online on June 27, 2006. By September, they had reached more than one million views. TED Talks proved so popular that in 2007, the TED website was relaunched around them, giving a global audience free access to some of the world’s greatest thinkers, leaders and teachers.”

As a result of their success and popularity, TED Talks have inspired many other presentation-centric activities and events—such as conference keynotes and investor fundraising “demo days.”

What makes a TED Talk?

TED presenters arrive from all walks of life, and although their TED Talks span a wide range of topics, they all share a few characteristics:

  • 18 minutes or less. This is a TED rule, initiated by their founder, Chris Anderson, and also backed by scientific research . The basic premise is 18 minutes is long enough to do the job, but short enough to avoid having your audience begin to lose interest.
  • A big idea, worth sharing. Again, straight from TED. But expecting to deliver a compelling presentation that relays several meaty ideas in under 20 minutes is wishful thinking. By focusing on a single, compelling concept—you ensure maximum impact and can more successfully communicate key points.
  • Large audience, sizable venue. One-to-one, or one-to-few presentations delivered in a meeting or conference room play by different rules. We’re not addressing those here.

8 steps to the TED Talk mountain top

TED Talks are so well done they can almost seem magical. But it isn’t wizardry that makes them so compelling. In fact, there’s a formula you can follow—8 steps that will allow your presentations to deliver similar impact:

Step 1: Know your audience

This is fundamental for maximizing the success of any communication. In order to relay your “big idea” in the most effective way, you need to understand what your audience knows and cares about. Then tailor your presentation appropriately.

If you’re presenting to a new or relatively unknown audience, there are some quick ways to gather intel—such as researching and reading an applicable Reddit thread, or having a quick conversation with someone who’s more familiar.

Step 2. Scout your venue

As a general rule, the background of your slides should match the room in which you’re presenting. It’s not uncommon for large venues to be darkened so the visual focus is on what’s on stage. In some instances, however, stage environments can be illuminated or even a specific color or color theme. Matching slide backgrounds to the specifics of your venue can be very effective—allowing eyes to be drawn to the presentation’s content, not the full outline of the slides themselves.

business presentation ted talk

Keep audience viewing angles and distance in mind as well. You want them on the edge of their seats, but not because they’re leaning forward and squinting to try and make out your tiny words.

business presentation ted talk

Step 3. Think about your presentation as a whole

Your presentation is a story. It should flow from start to finish, and you should understand the primary points you want to make along the way. Look for the “big opportunities” and use your slides to truly highlight them. Not every slide should “Wow!” Some should be supportive and lead up to your key points—just like scenes in a movie plot. If every slide (or every scene) is intense, nothing will stand out. Outlines, index cards or sticky notes can be helpful at the early stages when you’re planning the arc of your story.

business presentation ted talk

Step 4. One concept per slide (okay, maybe two)

To successfully make a point, you need your audience to be able to focus in and “get it.” So instead of asking a single slide to carry the load of relaying multiple concepts, put the second (or third or fourth) on their own slides. It can even make sense to relay a single concept across multiple slides. This allows the speaker to spend more time on it without losing momentum.

business presentation ted talk

In some instances, you may be starting with a recycled slide your presenter happens to love—although you can see it’s relaying too many things. In such a case, ask the presenter to literally present the slide to you, and listen for the one (or maybe two) key messaging concepts they’re trying to relate. Build the new slide content to support those, and put everything else in the speaker notes.

Working with a client to distill a keynote’s story down to a few big, clarified points can be difficult work. But if we’re successful, the result is truly transformative. David Mack Co-founder, SketchDeck

Step 5. Minimalize

The slides are there to support your presenter—not to steal the show. The focus should be on speaker. Think single graphics and/or few words over phrase. Think phrase over sentence. Sentence over… (don’t even THINK about multiple sentences). You don’t want the audience to start reading, and stop listening.

The slide content is supporting the message, not relaying it. Everything on your slides should be meaningful. No placeholders, watermarks, headers or footers. If you haven’t determined this already, using your standard company presentation template probably isn’t a good idea. (Looking for an event or presentation specific presentation template? SketchDeck can help with that!)

business presentation ted talk

Step 6. Maintain top quality

This is a premium presentation, and it needs to look and feel that way. No grainy photos, watermarked stock images, family snapshots, placeholder text or clip art. Just. Don’t. Do it. This is a day for Tiffany’s, not Target.

Step 7. Consider motion

Videos and animation can add a different and engaging dimension to your presentation. If done well, they offer a level of cinematic drama that can enhance the magic of a live performance.  But keep the previous steps in mind if you go this route. Every visual element needs a reason to be there. Everything must help tell the story.

Step 8. Get a great presenter

The reality is a speaker can make or break a presentation. A bad presenter can ruin a perfect presentation. And as much as it pains us to write this, a great presenter doesn’t really need slides (see Step 5 above). Therefore, if you’re presenting, practice—ideally in front of someone who will be brutally honest. You should also consider hiring a coach.

SketchDeck recommends taking the presentation to a small, controlled audience a week or so before the event to see how it delivers. Not only is it a great practice opportunity, it allows time for last minute adjustments.

And most importantly, hear feedback and adapt accordingly. If you’re not the presenter, ask whoever is to do the same. Great presenters are not born. It takes work, and the vast majority of that work is done before a speaker steps on stage.

It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech. Mark Twain

The big day

The audience is rapt… pin drop silent. Elegant slides flip in perfect timing behind your delivery. You pause—at just the right point—confidently adjusting the cuffs of your black turtleneck.

“They’re mine,” you think. And you’re right.

Fired up to blow away your next audience? So are we. SketchDeck would love to partner with you to help make your next presentation TED Talk-worthy.

Additional resources

https://www.ted.com/talks/nancy_duarte_the_secret_structure_of_great_talks

https://synapsiscreative.com/5-best-slide-decks-tedx/

https://blog.ted.com/10-tips-for-better-slide-decks/

Rob Lewczyk

Rob Lewczyk

  • Originally published on January 30, 2020

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Speak Up For Success

Giving a TED-Style Talk? Here’s How They’re Different from Business Presentations

by Jezra on March 18, 2014

In the past few years, TED , TEDx, and TED-style talks have become so pervasive and so popular that, even in business settings, speakers are often asked to give “a TED talk.” (And BTW, TEDx   refers to independently organized events held for local communities, or communities of interest.)

If you have a TED, TEDx, or TED-style talk coming up, here are the ways in which your talk will be different from a standard business presentation.

What Makes a Talk Be  a TED-Style Talk, Anyway??

First, let’s look at the superficial differences:

  • TED-style talks are delivered without notes, from memory . THEY ARE NOT, as some people think, spontaneous; far from it! They are scripted and carefully rehearsed, often for months (or famously, in Susan Cain’s case, for a year). In contrast, most business presenters use notes to deliver their speeches. Unfortunately for us in the audience, those notes are often on their slides .

Jill Bolte Taylor

  • TED-style talks are professionally visualized , meaning that someone who knows that they’re doing created your slides or video. This isn’t as true in smaller, TEDx venues — but if someone’s speaking at the mothership (TED), their slides, videos, or animations are generally well-crafted. If they bring props onstage with them — a Teddy bear; a suitcase; or, as neurologist Jill Bolte Taylor really did, a brain! — those props look good, and are well-lit. In fact, the whole stage is well lit. This is called having “high production values,” and it’s something that the vast majority of business speakers have to do without.
  • The talks that you see on TED.com have been  videotaped from several different angles  and skillfully  edited . You can see what I mean on  this video of Anne-Marie Slaughter  speaking about the path to true gender equality for both men and women, or on virtually any other TED video

When most people think about “giving a TED talk,” this is what they picture: a scripted, polished, well-designed, well-produced and edited presentation.

Want Speechwriting or Coaching Help?

But before you start looking for a videographer to make the movie you’ll show during your talk…  or for a forklift that can raise you into the air while you’re speaking, like Al Gore in his TED-style movie  An Inconvenient Truth , let’s back up and look at some of the  easier-to-achieve   distinctions between TED-style talks and run-of-the-mill business presentations.

TED Talks Are Also “TED Talks” Because of Their  Approach

Most B-flat  — that’s music-speak for “average” — business presentations are… well, flat! They’re about conveying facts and expectations, not passions and possibilities. And because business speakers represent their organizations instead of themselves, they tend to be cautious not only in  what  they say, but in  how  they say it.

In contrast,

  • TED-style talks are  personal . The only reason to give  a TED talk is that you feel passionately about something, and your sense of purpose creates an energy boost for both you and your audience.
  • TED talks often take us on a journey.  As the speaker shares his transition from ignorance to understanding of some important truth, we follow along in his footsteps. Where business speeches generally focus on a desired outcome,  TED talks are also about the process  of realizing  how you’re going to get there.
  • TED talks are  concise.  Because their times is short (generally, 5-18 minutes), TED speakers have generally done the hard work of cutting out any extraneous ideas. Ideally, every word of a TED talk counts — and that’s very different from the public speaking most of us are used to!

And last but not least,

  • TED-style talks feel important. Almost every speech presents an “ah-hah!” moment (the TED organization uses that phrase), and recounts with great intensity what it feels like to break through a problem in your mind. The problems themselves are often weighty — but even when they’re not, hearing about a breakthrough moment makes you feel that something  big is at stake.

TED-style talk

Craft Your TED-Style Talk with These Differences in Mind

Instead of thinking about multimedia, or memorization, or how you’ll look on video, start planning for a TED-style talk by focusing on the differences that matter:

  • Choose a topic you’re personally passionate about;
  • Play with different ways to narrate (take us on) your journey of discovery around that topic;
  • Stay focused on your most important point; and
  • Understand what makes all of this important to your audience.

Are you ready to create a talk that you’ll enjoy giving? Here is a step-by-step process for how to do it!

And if you’d like coaching or speechwriting help with your TED-style talk,   contact me !

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Should I Use the TED Talk Format for My Business Presentation?

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Originally published in 2019 on Mandel Communications' blog.

To TED… or not to TED? That is the question. Are you a TED Talk fan? I am.

Personally, I enjoy their thought-provoking educational and entertainment value. Professionally, I like them because the best   TED Talks   have become the benchmark for what defines excellent modern   presentation skills . There are an abundance of great examples.

I’m often asked by the people I coach, “Is the TED Talk format effective for business presentations?” It’s not a simple yes or no answer, because it comes down to recognizing the difference between using a TED Talk format and using TED Talk skills.

TED Talk format on the big stage? Definitely! Is adopting the TED Talk format appropriate in the business world? The answer is definitely yes, but only if you’re invited to speak on the big stage at something like a conference, a user event, or even a large company event like a global sales or all hands meeting.

A TED Talk is not just a presentation. It’s a speech. A monologue. Think, “Presentation” with an capital “P.” Interactions between the stage and the audience are limited. They happen mostly in the minds of audience members. Visible or audible reactions to the speaker are usually limited to facial expressions, laughter, gasps, and applause.

Have you ever noticed the visuals during a TED Talk? Slides are minimal and designed for maximum impact. What about the speakers themselves? Have you ever seen a TED Talk where the content  hasn’t  been rigorously practiced to the point of near perfection?

The best speakers make it look so easy, but don’t be fooled.

Speeches like these are a big investment of time and energy. Take a look at the informative  guide  published by the TED organization on how to put together a successful talk — it’s neither quick nor easy. The deceptively simple format of a TED Talk also extends to cost.

While some speakers have the skills, resources, and time to go it alone, many don’t. A whole cottage-industry has sprung up to help people develop their TED (or TED-style) Talks that includes speech writers, slide designers, and presentation coaches.

It may be costly to do it right, but when the stakes are high and your professional brand is on the line, seeking experienced, expert help can be a smart move. In fact, the presentation coaching team here at  Mandel  would love to help should you have the need.

TED Talk format in a conference room? Probably not. The TED Talk format is not a good fit in conference rooms mainly because the business topics discussed there can’t be delivered as monologues.

For example, topics like recommendations, customer briefings, quarterly business reviews, and sales proposals are all presentations with a lower case “p.” They require the presenter to use a hybrid of monologue  and  dialogue.

Your audience expects to interact with you, or even to interrupt you. Worse yet, they may expect to multi-task. Questions will be asked, objections will be raised, and you need to be ready to respond and interact with your audience. These are all expected and key aspects of a successful conference room presentation.

Preparing for a conference room presentation is also a different animal entirely from a TED-style talk.

Effective preparation and practice is still a mission-critical success factor, but presenters have to be self-reliant — there’s rarely budget for support resources. And competing demands on your time can make it tempting to skip practice all together. Please don’t. At the very least, practice your opening two or three times so you get off to a confident start.

Using TED Talk skills in a conference room? Yes! So, if the TED Talk format isn’t right for your everyday business presentation needs, what lessons can you take away from successful TED Talks?

Effective presentation skills.

If you were to watch just about any of the  top-rated  TED Talks with a critical eye, you’d discover that they all have a lot in common from a design and delivery standpoint, even if their affect and impact is unique.

Let’s take a look at seven presentation lessons you can learn and apply to your conference room presentations.

TED Talkers do these things well.

  • Get their audience’s attention right from the start and never let go. Do that in a business meeting by linking to the things your audience cares about, and by highlighting the value they’ll receive if they stay engaged. Mandel’s  SCI-PAB ®  framework can help you do that.
  • Apply a narrative approach to content organization. Take your audience on an easy-to-follow journey. The globally proven Mandel  Blueprint ®  can help you quickly do the same thing in a business presentation.
  • Share complex topics, like  technical breakthroughs , simply and concisely.  Leave out unessential information, speak conversationally, and either define or avoid acronyms and technical jargon. Every second counts in a TED Talk. Why should a business meeting be any different?
  • Use a very small number of image-driven slides. Challenge yourself to use minimal words on each of your slides (if any). Business presentations may require some slides to have a bit more information on them, but if you follow best practices for presenting data visualizations, you can have a similar impact.
  • Use stories and analogies to bring content to life for the audience. Joe Gebbia , of Airbnb fame, does this very effectively in his TED Talk. Stories and analogies work equally well in the conference room, especially when attempting to influence change and persuade your audience to take action.
  • Are not afraid to be themselves. TED Talkers speak with authentic conviction, sometimes to the  extreme . Having an open posture, fluid gestures, and an animated voice helps to quickly build audience connection and trust. Because of the highly interactive nature of a conference room presentation, that same connection can be everything.
  • Pause to punctuate and accentuate. Successful TED Talkers like  Amanda Palmer  demonstrate how to use pausing and sustained eye contact to create audience connection. You don’t have to be as dramatic as Amanda, but by applying these same skills in the conference room, you’ll find that they also help you maintain composure under pressure, creating space for you to think and breathe in the moment.

This last skill circles back to something I often hear from my clients who want to speak like a TED Talker, “How can I get rid of my notes?”

It’s true that TED Talkers don’t use notes. But remember that you’re likely preparing for a business presentation with a lower-case “p.” Given the frequency of presentations and the scarcity of time to prepare, notes can be your best friend — IF used skillfully. Put them in a high-level outline and take an unrushed pause whenever you need to refer to them.

Focus On the Skills Instead of the Format The next time you’re watching a TED Talk that really catches and holds your attention, watch it a second time.

Observe how the content is structured. Look at the design of the slides. Pay attention to the mechanics of the speaker’s delivery skills. Then think about how you can apply what you’ve seen and heard to your own everyday business presentations.

Citations (in order of appearance)

TED.com. (N.D.). Illustrated TEDx Speaker Guide. Retrieved from  http://storage.ted.com/tedx/manuals/IllustratedTEDxSpeakerGuide.pdf

TED.com. (N.D.). The 25 most popular talks of all time.  Ted.com . Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/playlists/171/the_most_popular_talks_of_all

TED.com. (N.D.). Jaw-dropping science breakthroughs.  Ted.com . Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/playlists/484/jaw_dropping_science_breakthro

Gebbia, Joe. (2016 February).  How Airbnb designs for trust  . Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/joe_gebbia_how_airbnb_designs_for_trust?utm_campaign=tedspread&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=tedcomshare

Lillie, Ben. (2011 August). Playlist: High Energy! Four speakers who bounce around the stage.  TED Blog . Retrieved from https://blog.ted.com/playlist-high-energy/

Palmer, Amanda. (2013 February).  The art of asking  . Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/amanda_palmer_the_art_of_asking

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15 Must-Watch TED Talks for Entrepreneurs

15 Must-Watch TED Talks for Entrepreneurs

Let’s face it: Entrepreneurship is not easy.

Because of its challenging nature, entrepreneurs are on a constant lookout for guidance and motivation.

Whether it’s inspiring movies , insightful documentaries , or thought-provoking books , the right piece of content can spur us into action and push us closer to our goals.

Thanks to the digital age, it’s now easier than ever to find online resources to learn new things and gain a new perspective on entrepreneurship.

In recent years, TED talks have emerged as some of the best online resources for entrepreneurs.

The question is: how do you find the best TED talks for entrepreneurs in their massive repository of videos?

To make your search for the best TED talks a little bit easier, I’ve curated a list of must-watch TED talks for entrepreneurs.

Here are the 15 best TED talks I’d recommend to all entrepreneurs.

Table of Contents

1. Paul Tasner: How I Became an Entrepreneur at 66

2. simon sinek: how great leaders inspire action, 3. susan cain: the power of introverts, 4. tim urban: inside the mind of a master procrastinator, 5. eduardo briceño: how to get better at the things you care about, 6. bill gross: the single biggest reason why startups succeed, 7. angela duckworth: grit: the power of passion and perseverance, 8. majora carter: 3 stories of local eco-entrepreneurship, 9. john doerr: why the secret to success is setting the right goals, 10. tim ferriss: why you should define your fears instead of your goals, 11. regina hartley: why the best hire might not have the perfect resume, 12. dao nguyen: what makes something go viral, 13. seth godin: how to get your ideas to spread, 14. daniel pink: the puzzle of motivation, 15. luvvie ajayi: get comfortable with being uncomfortable, final thoughts, 15 best ted talks for entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship is often believed to be a young person’s game. But age shouldn’t be a deciding factor when you’re trying to follow your dreams.

Wouldn’t you agree?

In this inspiring TED talk, Paul Tasner reminds us that age is just a number when it comes to following your passion. After working for others for 40 years, Tasner combined his experience and passion to launch his startup at age 66.

According to Tasner, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself and do something meaningful in the global marketplace.

If you ever have doubts about being too old for entrepreneurship, watch this talk to get inspired.

Best quote from Paul Tasner’s TED talk: “Aren’t the accomplishments of a 70-year-old entrepreneur every bit as meaningful, every bit as newsworthy, as the accomplishments of a 30-year-old entrepreneur? Of course, they are. That’s why I’d like to make the phrase ’70 over 70′ just as commonplace as the phrase ’30 under 30.'”

Simon Sinek, author of the bestselling book Start with Why , believes great leaders are driven by a clear sense of “Why.” In other words, they are inspired by a sense of purpose and this sense of purpose enables them to inspire other people to follow them in their pursuit.

In this TED talk, Simon Sinek dives deeper into his Golden Circle theory , which explains how some people and organizations are able to inspire others and demonstrate exceptional leadership.

Featuring striking examples and a touch of humor, Simon Sinek’s TED talk is a must-watch for all entrepreneurs.

Best quote from Simon Sinek’s TED talk: “Leaders hold a position of power or authority, but those who lead inspire us. Whether they’re individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead, not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves. And it’s those who start with “why” that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.”

A troubling misconception about leadership is that it’s only the extroverts who thrive. This is why so many entrepreneurs hide their introverted nature and try to pass off as extroverts when they are trying to inspire others.

This TED talk by Susan Cain attempts to break that misconception, as she illustrates the importance of embracing your introverted style of leadership.

In this passionate talk, Susan Cain argues how introverts are just as brilliant as extroverts and how introverted leaders can often deliver better results than extroverts.

A must-watch TED talk for entrepreneurs who are worried about their introversion being an impediment in inspiring others. If you’re inspired by this talk, do check out Susan Cain’s bestselling book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking .

Best quote from Susan Cain’s TED talk: “Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Gandhi — all these people described themselves as quiet and soft-spoken and even shy. And they all took the spotlight, even though every bone in their bodies was telling them not to. And this turns out to have a special power all its own, because people could feel that these leaders were at the helm not because they enjoyed directing others and not out of the pleasure of being looked at; they were there because they had no choice, because they were driven to do what they thought was right.”

To be a productive entrepreneur, you must beat procrastination.

Since starting my own business, I’ve tried several techniques to shake off procrastination. Helpful tips from books like The Power of Habit , Getting Things Done , and Atomic Habits have certainly helped.

But like a pesky mosquito, procrastination always finds a way to sneak back into my life.

Maybe you can relate?

If you do, then you’ll certainly relate to Tim Urban’s creative and highly entertaining take on procrastination. In this insightful and hilarious TED talk, Tim Urban shares his struggles with procrastination and encourages us to deliberate on the things we choose to procrastinate on.

While you’ll not find any specific techniques to beat procrastination in this video, Urban’s vivid insights on the topic will definitely resonate with you. In the end, it will strengthen your resolve to fight procrastination and be more productive.

Best quote from Tim Urban’s TED talk: “We need to think about what we’re really procrastinating on, because everyone is procrastinating on something in life. We need to stay aware of the Instant Gratification Monkey. That’s a job for all of us. And because there’s not that many boxes on there, it’s a job that should probably start today.”

Not improving at something despite putting in the hard work? You’re not alone.

According to Eduardo Briceño, many of us don’t improve because we are always in the “performance zone.” But in order to improve a particular skill, we need to be in the “learning zone” as well.

The performance zone is great for maximizing our immediate performance, but in the long run, it can hinder our growth and future performance. On the other hand, the learning zone maximizes our growth and future performance.

The learning zone also helps us adopt a growth mindset, which is extremely important when you’re an entrepreneur.

So what’s the solution to better performance and continuous improvement?

Briceño recommends alternating between the performance zone and the learning zone. We need to learn and build our skills in the learning zone, and then apply those skills in the performance zone.

In this insightful TED talk, Briceño reveals actionable techniques that you can use to keep learning and growing at the things that matter to you.

Best quote from Eduardo Briceño’s TED talk: “When Beyoncé is on tour, during the concert, she’s in her performance zone, but every night when she gets back to the hotel room, she goes right back into her learning zone.”

Related: 10 Best TV Shows for Entrepreneurs

Bill Gross, serial entrepreneur and investor, has launched or incubated hundreds of startups and has experienced many successes and failures. So after working with so many entrepreneurs, he was curious to learn what factors accounted the most for a company’s success and failure.

In his study, he found five key factors that contributed the most to a company’s success, and after ranking each factor, he found the one factor that stood out from the rest.

In this TED talk, he highlights the one factor that you must consider before starting your own business or before taking it in a new direction.

Best quote from Bill Gross’ TED talk: “Execution definitely matters a lot. The idea matters a lot. But timing might matter even more. And the best way to really assess timing is to really look at whether consumers are really ready for what you have to offer them.”

What’s the best predictor of success? Is it a person’s IQ? Is it talent? Is it intelligence?

According to psychologist Angela Duckworth, grit is the most significant predictor of success. Grit is a combination of passion and perseverance, and it’s the single most important quality one can adopt to achieve great success in life.

In this TED talk, Duckworth explains her theory of “grit” and reveals why it beats other characteristics to emerge as the best predictor of success. She also explores the growth mindset and offers quick ideas for building grit.

Duckworth expands on this theory in her brilliant book Grit . So if you like this talk, do check out her book.

Best quote from Angela Duckworth’s TED talk: “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Majora Carter is an eco-entrepreneur who encourages young entrepreneurs to embrace eco-friendly practices.

In this TED talk, Majora Carter makes a compelling case for responsible entrepreneurship — the kind of entrepreneurship that takes the environment and society into account. She shares three inspiring stories of local ecopreneurs to drive home the importance of her message.

After watching Majora’s TED talk, tech evangelist Guy Kawasaki compared her legendary presentation skills with that of Steve Jobs. That’s probably the best feedback one could receive after a TED presentation.

Best quote from Majora Carter’s TED talk: “It’s time to stop building the shopping malls, the prisons, the stadiums and other tributes to all of our collective failures. It is time that we start building living monuments to hope and possibility.”

Why do so many leaders and institutions fail us despite making bold promises? Is it because they are inherently flawed?

Prominent venture capitalist John Doerr argues that they fail us not because they are bad or unethical, but because they are leading us toward the wrong objectives.

As he explains in this practical TED talk, setting the right goals can mean the difference between success and failure.

Doerr shows how we can get our life back on track with something called “Objectives and Key Results” (aka OKRs) — a goal-setting system employed by top companies like Google, Intel, and individual performers like U2’s Bono.

Best quote from John Doerr’s TED talk: “If we think of the world-changing goals of an Intel, of a Nuna, of Bono, of Google, they’re remarkable: ubiquitous computing, affordable health care, high-quality for everyone, ending global poverty, access to all the world’s information. Here’s the deal: every one of those goals is powered today by OKRs.”

If you’ve read any of Tim Ferriss’ recent books or listened to his podcast, you’ll know fear-setting is a common motif. It’s a concept he explores with many of his podcast guests. Ferris credits the fear-setting exercise as one of the main reasons he’s been able to thrive in high-stress environments.

In this TED talk, Ferris gives us an overview of the fear-setting exercise and encourages us to visualize all the fears that are preventing us from taking action.

When you start your own business, there are several fears that you need to overcome to run a successful business. The exercise of fear-setting, as explained by Ferris, can help you preempt obstacles and improve as an entrepreneur.

Best quote from Tim Ferriss’ TED talk: “The hard choices — what we most fear doing, asking, saying — these are very often exactly what we most need to do. And the biggest challenges and problems we face will never be solved with comfortable conversations, whether it’s in your own head or with other people.”

Imagine you’re given a choice between two qualified candidates: Candidate A has an excellent resume, outstanding credentials, and great references. Candidate B, on the other hand, is a job hopper, average credentials, and experience of working in odd jobs.

Which candidate are you going to pick for your startup?

Most of us would naturally gravitate towards Candidate A, right? But human resources expert Regina Hartley prefers Candidate B.

Hartley calls Candidate B “the Scrapper” and Candidate A “the Silver Spoon.” According to her, Scrappers have a sense of purpose that prevents them from giving up because they have survived so many early hardships. On the other hand, the Silver Spoons have been engineered for success their whole life, so they may find it more difficult to handle tough times.

In this TED talk, Hartley provides compelling reasons as to why she would hire Scrappers over Silver Spoons and encourages us to do the same.

Best quote from Regina Hartley’s TED talk: “Take this resume. This guy’s parents give him up for adoption. He never finishes college. He job-hops quite a bit, goes on a sojourn to India for a year, and to top it off, he has dyslexia. Would you hire this guy? His name is Steve Jobs.”

Love them or hate them, but Buzzfeed has mastered the art of creating viral content.

In this insightful TED talk, Buzzfeed’s Publisher Dao Nguyen reveals how her team creates their viral quizzes, listicles, and videos. She also gives a glimpse into a system Buzzfeed has developed to consistently create content that resonates with their target audience.

If you’ve ever wondered how you can make your content go viral , this video is for you.

Best quote from Dao Nguyen’s TED talk: “Many media companies and creators do put themselves in their audiences’ shoes. But in the age of social media, we can go much farther. People are connected to each other on Facebook, on Twitter, and they’re increasingly using media to have a conversation and to talk to each other. If we can be a part of establishing a deeper connection between two people, then we will have done a real job for these people.”

Seth Godin is one of the most influential marketing gurus in the world and the author of over 18 bestselling business books . One of his most popular books is Purple Cow , in which he explains how businesses can stand out by creating something remarkable in a world full of boring products.

In this TED talk, Godin provides an overview of his Purple Cow concept and explains how individuals and businesses can get their ideas to spread by being remarkable.

Best quote from Seth Godin’s TED talk: “Cows are invisible. Cows are boring. Who’s going to stop and pull over and say, “Oh, look, a cow.” Nobody. But if the cow was purple — isn’t that a great special effect? I could do that again if you want. If the cow was purple, you’d notice it for a while.”

Related: 75+ Best Books for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

When it comes to motivation, there is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does. Most businesses adopt extrinsic motivators such as rewards and punishment when they should be using intrinsic motivators such as autonomy and mastery to motivate employees.

In this TED talk, Daniel Pink, career analyst and the author of Drive , examines the science of motivation and explains why the secret to high performance is not rewards and punishment, but the intrinsic drive to do things for their own sake.

Best quote from Daniel Pink’s TED talk: “The science confirms what we know in our hearts. So, if we repair this mismatch between science and business, if we bring our motivation, notions of motivation into the 21st century, if we get past this lazy, dangerous, ideology of carrots and sticks, we can strengthen our businesses, we can solve a lot of those candle problems, and maybe we can change the world.”

To be a successful entrepreneur, you often need to step out of your comfort zone. Luvvie Ajayi, writer, activist, and self-proclaimed professional troublemaker, has never been shy of stepping out of her comfort zone. She has always valued speaking up over quieting down, and this simple approach to life has helped her achieve phenomenal results.

In this uplifting and humorous TED talk, Ajayi argues why it’s important for us to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

She shares three questions you need to ask yourself whenever you have doubts about speaking up and encourages us to get a little more comfortable with being uncomfortable by speaking hard truths when they are necessary.

Best quote from Luvvie Ajayi’s TED talk: “In a world that wants us to walk around as representatives of ourselves, being yourself can be a revolutionary act. And in a world that wants us to whisper, I choose to yell.”

So that wraps up my list of best TED talks for entrepreneurs.

Now I’d like to hear from you.

Did I miss out on any of your favorite TED talks? Which is the one TED talk you’d recommend to entrepreneurs?

Please share your favorite TED talk in the comments below.

If you found this article useful, please share it on Twitter using the link below:

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on 26 November 2020 and has been updated regularly since then for relevance and comprehensiveness. 

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15 Must-Watch TED Talks for Entrepreneurs

I have always loved watching TED talks. They are just so inspiring and it gives you exactly what you need when you are at a lost on what to do.

Hi Sandeep, Thanks for this information about TED Talks. There is another new TED talk that I think you might like and is worth mentioning. It’s on the value of your time. Check it out, http://www.ted.com/talks/brian_nelson_palmer_reimagining_the_actual_value_of_your_time

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18 Best TED Talks for Team Building

You’ve found our list of the top TED talks for team building .

TED talks for team building are informative presentations that explore various aspects of team dynamics. These presentations feature thought leaders and business authorities sharing their expertise. By sharing online videos of past TED talks, you can introduce your team members to valuable ideas that make their work experience more meaningful. Examples of TED talks for team building are Amy Edmondson’s How to Turn a Group of Strangers into a Team, Patrick Lencioni’s Are You an Ideal Team Player, and Robin Hooker’s A Makerspace for Everyone. ”

You can present TED talks for team building as virtual team building activities and incorporate them into team building activities for small groups . These videos also provide your teams with online access to enlightening keynote speakers .

This list includes

  • TED talks about building high performing teams
  • TED talks about effective team communication
  • TED talks about team management
  • team TED talks
  • funny TED talks about teamwork

List of the best TED talks for team building

Whether you are hoping to learn more about how to help your team succeed or wondering how your team building skills measure up, these TED talks will provide insight to assist.

1. How to Turn a Group of Strangers into a Team by Amy Edmondson

Amy Edmondson provides an intriguing take for leaders seeking TED talks about building high performing teams. Her studies have tracked instances where team creation happens quickly for the sake of resolving emergencies. In these moments, strangers become a functioning team quickly out of necessity. Edmondson uses the 2010 mine collapse in Chile that trapped more than 30 miners half a mile underground as an example. She explains how learning by experimentation and willingness to take risks help forge a team when time is of the essence.

Watch How to Turn a Group of Strangers Into a Team .

2. Teamwork Reimagined by Kevin Cahill

Not all teamwork adheres to the same set of standards. With Teamwork Reimagined, Kevin Cahill explains how thinking in terms of “we” instead of “me” can add value to a group and multiply the benefits of team culture. Collaboration possibilities are a driving factor in Cahill’s vision of a new type of team, one where community is a defining element. Cahill shares anecdotes and his experiences with various groups to illustrate the need to identify your organization’s objective and develop it as a group.

Watch Teamwork Reimagined .

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3. Build a Tower, Build a Team by Tom Wujec

With a simple team exercise that uses three household objects, Tom Wujec demonstrates the dynamics of building an effective team. The objective of the exercise is to create the tallest tower using spaghetti, marshmallows, string, and tape. Wujec has conducted workshops that feature this exercise, learning that when posed to teams in real life, the groups who end up winning the challenge are not always the groups you would expect. That group, surprisingly, is kindergarteners! This video gives a lighthearted look at how teams can defy expectations with a simple shift in thinking.

Watch Build a Tower, Build a Team .

4. Are You an Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni

Communicating clear standards for what qualities a successful team player can help your workers achieve new heights of teamwork. Patrick Lencioni is an author who has written about team dynamics in business and the workplace. In this TED talk, Lencioni leads an enlightening session covering the importance of critical aspects that make a worker a valuable team member. According to his video, qualities such as humility, a sense of personal ambition, and genuine emotional intelligence are the most useful characteristics for a team member to possess. Lencioni explains why these attributes matter so much as he shares how he came to his conclusions.

Watch Are You an Ideal Team Player .

5. How Diversity Makes Teams More Innovative by Rocio Lorenzo

Having an array of backgrounds and viewpoints represented can turn your humble crew into a power team. Rocio Lorenzo explores how diversity can provide innovation when assembling a team. Lorenzo led a group that studied more than 150 teams to determine whether intentional diversity positively impacts the organization. In her TED talk, Lorenzo shares her findings that having a diverse team provides creativity and innovation that contributes positively to a company’s success, defying the expectations of some of her skeptical team members.

Watch How Diversity Makes Teams More Innovative .

6. First Step to Collaboration? Don’t Be So Defensive! by Jim Tamm

TED talks about effective team communication can help your employees discover a more meaningful way to get their ideas across. Former attorney and judge Jimm Tamm discusses the need for individuals to drop their defensiveness to create a collaborative atmosphere. When team members can sidestep conflict before it begins, the whole group has a better chance of successfully achieving their goals. Tamm explores the idea that star performers can suppress the abilities of their teammates, defining cooperative environments as green zones and competitive environments as red zones. His observations provide strategies to help workers recognize and reroute their defensive behaviors to maintain a more agreeable state of mind.

Watch First Step to Collaboration? Don’t Be So Defensive!

7. Play This Word Game to Come Up With Original Ideas by Shimpei Takahashi

You can find funny TED talks about teamwork that take a more playful approach to the topic, like the one given by toy developer Shimpei Takahashi. In his creativity-stimulating game, players take turns saying words that begin with the last letter of the previous word. For example, banana, ambulance, echo. The objective is to force connections between new words and start thinking in new directions. Having a proven means for providing fresh inspiration can keep your team from running aground when generating new ideas. With a simple word game in your arsenal like the one Takahashi uses, you have a powerful tool to keep the creativity flowing.

Watch Play This Word Game to Come Up With Original Ideas .

8. 3 Ways to Measure Your Adaptability and How to Improve It by Natalie Fratto

TED talks about team management include this revealing method for choosing potential members for your team. Natalie Fratto, a venture capitalist who invests in start-ups, explains what she looks for in a potential partner and gives a three-pronged approach to gauging adaptability to determine how effective your workers are as team members. A combination of “what if” questions, recognition of the ability to unlearn old information to make room for new data, and a sense of exploration are components that let Fratto know she has found a partner with whom she can mesh. This technique can also help your workers recognize their adaptability shortcomings while offering methods for strengthening this necessary trait.

Watch 3 Ways to Measure Your Adaptability and How to Improve It .

9. How Generational Stereotypes Hold Us Back at Work by Leah Georges

Having workers of varying ages is important to maintaining a team’s diversity. However, workers in a particular generation can have difficulty understanding and accepting workers in another generation. Social psychologist Leah Georges clarifies how stereotypes among the five generations—the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z—can hinder the success of teams and individuals. Georges provides a helpful explanation of each generation, then challenges the existence of these groups. Georges also demonstrates how preconceived notions limit the potential of a multigenerational workforce. The resulting message explains that workers from all generations have traits that call for understanding and compassion.

Watch How Generational Stereotypes Hold Us Back at Work .

10. A Makerspace for Everyone by Robin Hooker

Equality is key to a team’s success, but ensuring team members have equal access to resources and opportunities is sometimes tricky. Robin Hooker reimagines a creative workspace where the barriers come down, and workers can create and collaborate freely. These makerspaces allow diverse teams to assemble on-the-fly, in a place where each worker can contribute their ideas and others can help bring them to life. For teams that require creativity to excel, team TED talks like Hooker’s inspire and become tools and help you reimagine collaboration.

Watch A Makerspace for Everyone .

11. The New Power of Collaboration by Howard Rheingold

According to Howard Rheingold, media and communication are essential to the survival of the group. His speculations about the need for collaboration have been a critical feature of humanity since the dawn of civilization. The advancement of technology and social institutions have signaled that being cooperative is sometimes more important than competition. In his TED talk, Rheingold explains that collaboration, sharing of information, and teamwork are necessary for human development to advance.

Watch The New Power of Collaboration .

12. Innovative Team Building by Karen Grosz

Professional coach Karen Grosz demonstrates the principles of team building through collaborative art experiences. In her TED talk, she explains how owning a ceramics studio paved the way for her to use painting as a means of connecting groups, even individuals without an artistic background. Her early workshops revealed the power of group art to inspire vulnerability, insight, and understanding that may not arise otherwise. Grosz now uses her team art format to help groups forge essential bonds through shared creativity.

Watch Innovative Team Building .

13. The Power of Deliberate Creative Teams by Amy Climer

When creativity combines with purpose, the power of a team multiplies. Amy Climer shares her experiences with being open to the creative process to help strengthen a team. Rather than hiring creatives and leaving them to their work, Climer describes how to inspire and stimulate the creative spark of deliberate work. Innovation is a dynamic that team members and leaders can encourage and model by promoting team purpose, group dynamics, and a shared creative process. By structuring a team for intentional creativity, an organization can better facilitate a successful group experience.

Watch The Power of Deliberate Creative Teams .

14. The Puzzle of Motivation by Dan Pink

Keeping team members motivated is sometimes challenging for leaders. However, by understanding what drives motivation, you can find a more direct path to helping your workers stay engaged. Dan Pink’s 2009 TED talk uses humor and personal experience to showcase the misconception that incentivizing workers inspires creativity and explains how the business model of carrot and stick stifles motivation rather than driving it. Having studied the science of how teams can be better motivated, Pink explains how having flexibility as a leader and adapting your motivational model is the best way to keep your team driven.

Watch The Puzzle of Motivation .

15. Tribal Leadership by David Logan

Without realizing it, individuals align themselves with tribes in work settings and everyday life. Logan defines tribes as groups of between 20 and 100 individuals. These groups have similar values and interests that, together, are greater than their individual specialties. Leaders understand the various levels of tribal interaction and can benefit from knowing how to communicate with groups based on their levels. Successful tribal communication by a leader can help bring the whole team to a higher level, which leads to purposeful connections between tribes. Logan’s viewpoint is enlightening when determining how a leader can lift a team out of the status quo and inspire them to new achievements.

Watch Tribal Leadership .

16. World’s Greatest Workplace by Vishen Lakhiani

Vishen Lakhiani, owner and CEO of Mindvalley, shares the five ways he has attempted to build the best company in the world. Mindvalley addresses aspects such as happiness, purpose, and personal growth to provide a workspace that benefits the workers and the organization. Lakhiani’s organization offers beautiful workspaces for employees to enjoy and allows flexible schedules that make sense for each individual’s lifestyle. Reimagining aspects like team meetings to make them less stressful and gamifying work-based achievement has led to a more engaged workforce for Mindvalley. Being named the Most Democratic Workplace by World Blu for 11 years in a row speaks to the value of giving employees a say in how their workplace functions.

Watch World’s Greatest Workplace .

17. Got a Meeting? Take a Walk by Nilofer Merchant

Conference rooms and offices may not be the most productive setting for your team meetings. As Nilofer Merchant explains, a change of scenery and a breath of fresh air can stimulate new thoughts and better ideas. This TED talk centers on the health dangers of sitting for too long in the workplace, and the inspiration that arises when you stand and walk instead. In addition to offering a more healthful approach to work habits, walking meetings can help keep productivity flowing for you and your team.

Watch Got a Meeting? Take a Walk .

18. How to Disagree Productively and Find Common Ground by Julia Dhar

It is possible to disagree with your teammates and still accomplish your common goals. Former debate champion Julia Dhar explains the best approach for turning disagreements into opportunities. The secret is deciding on a shared reality and keeping a person’s ideas separate from their identity. These techniques can help teams focus on the issues at hand without responding to the status of the people proposing solutions. With this removal of personal identity, Dhar reveals, the ideas on the table become solvable for all team members participating in the discussion.

Watch How to Disagree Productively and Find Common Ground .

Including TED talks among your team building resources gives you a ready-made solution you can tap into whenever you want. Sharing a link to a quick video with a request for your team to watch at their convenience is a great way to begin. Setting up a time to watch TED talks with your team members in person or virtually is even better!

Next, check out this list of songs about teamwork and this list of professional development ideas .

FAQ: TED talks for team building

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about TED talks for team building.

What are the best TED talks for team building?

The best TED talks for team building include How Generational Stereotypes Hold Us Back at Work by Leah Georges, which explores issues stemming from preconceived notions about cross-generational team members, and First Step to Collaboration: Don’t Be So Defensive by Jim Tamm, which explains how to identify and remove boundaries that can make teamwork challenging.

What are some TED talks about team building?

Some TED talks about team building are How to Turn a Group of Strangers into a Team by Amy Edmondson, How Diversity Makes Teams More Innovative by Rocio Lorenzo, and Build a Tower, Build a Team by Tom Wujec. These videos tackle different aspects of team building to provide guidance on various useful topics.

Why should you watch TED talks with your teams?

You should watch TED talks with your teams to share new perspectives from experts who have studied ways to improve and ensure effective teamwork. When you watch along with your crew, you can start an ongoing conversation with your workers regarding how best to keep the team thriving and succeeding. As new issues arise, you can view a TED talk that addresses the topic and encourages your team members to participate in solving the problem.

Author avatar

Author: Grace He

People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com. Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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Home Blog Business Business Presentation: The Ultimate Guide to Making Powerful Presentations (+ Examples)

Business Presentation: The Ultimate Guide to Making Powerful Presentations (+ Examples)

Business Presentation Ultimate Guide plus examples

A business presentation is a purpose-led summary of key information about your company’s plans, products, or practices, designed for either internal or external audiences. Project proposals, HR policy presentations, investors briefings are among the few common types of presentations. 

Compelling business presentations are key to communicating important ideas, persuading others, and introducing new offerings to the world. Hence, why business presentation design is one of the most universal skills for any professional. 

This guide teaches you how to design and deliver excellent business presentations. Plus, breaks down some best practices from business presentation examples by popular companies like Google, Pinterest, and Amazon among others! 

3 General Types of Business Presentations

A business presentation can be given for a number of reasons. Respectively, they differ a lot in terms of content and purpose. 

But overall, all types of business presentations can be classified as:

  • Informative
  • Persuasive 
  • Supporting 

Informative Business Presentation 

As the name suggests, the purpose of an informative presentation is to discern the knowledge you have — explain what you know. It’s the most common type of business presentation out there. So you have probably prepared such at least several times. 

Examples of informative presentations:

  • Team briefings presentation 
  • Annual stakeholder report 
  • Quarterly business reviews
  • Business portfolio presentation
  • Business plan presentation
  • Project presentation

Helpful templates from SlideModel:

  • Business plan PowerPoint template
  • Business review PowerPoint template
  • Project proposal PowerPoint template
  • Corporate annual report template

Persuasive Business Presentation 

The goal of this type of presentation is to persuade your audience of your point of view — convince them of what you believe is right. Developing business presentations of this caliber requires a bit more copywriting mastery, as well as expertise in public speaking . Unlike an informative business presentation, your goal here is to sway the audience’s opinions and prompt them towards the desired action. 

Examples of persuasive presentations:

  • Pitch deck/investor presentations
  • Sales presentation  
  • Business case presentation 
  • Free business proposal presentation
  • Business proposal PowerPoint template
  • Pitch deck PowerPoint template
  • Account Plan PowerPoint template

Supporting Business Presentation 

This category of business PowerPoint presentations is meant to facilitate decision-making — explain how we can get something done. The underlying purpose here is to communicate the general “action plan”. Then break down the necessary next steps for bringing it to life. 

Examples of supporting presentations:

  • Roadmap presentation
  • Project vision presentation 
  • After Action Review presentation 
  • Standard operating procedure (SOP) PowerPoint template 
  • Strategy map PowerPoint template 
  • After action review (ARR) PowerPoint template 

What Should Be Included in a Business Presentation?

Overall, the content of your business presentation will differ depending on its purpose and type. However, at the very minimum, all business presentations should include:

  • Introductory slide 
  • Agenda/purpose slide
  • Main information or Content slides
  • Key Takeaways slides
  • Call-to-action/next steps slides

We further distill business presentation design and writing best practices in the next section (plus, provide several actionable business PowerPoint presentation examples!). 

How to Make a Business Presentation: Actionable Tips

A business presentation consists of two parts — a slide deck and a verbal speech. In this section, we provide tips and strategies for nailing your deck design. 

1. Get Your Presentation Opening Right 

The first slides of your presentation make or break your success. Why? By failing to frame the narrative and set the scene for the audience from the very beginning, you will struggle to keep their interest throughout the presentation. 

You have several ways of how to start a business presentation:

  • Use a general informative opening — a summative slide, sharing the agenda and main points of the discussion. 
  • Go for a story opening — a more creative, personal opening, aimed at pulling the audience into your story. 
  • Try a dramatic opening — a less apparent and attention-grabbing opening technique, meant to pique the audience’s interest. 

Standard Informative Opening 

Most business presentation examples you see start with a general, informative slide such as an Agenda, Problem Statement, or Company Introduction. That’s the “classic” approach. 

To manage the audience’s expectations and prepare them for what’s coming next, you can open your presentation with one or two slides stating:

  • The topic of your presentation — a one-sentence overview is enough. 
  • Persuasive hook, suggesting what’s in it for the audience and why they should pay attention. 
  • Your authority — the best technique to establish your credibility in a business presentation is to share your qualifications and experience upfront to highlight why you are worth listening to. 

Opening best suited for: Formal business presentations such as annual reports and supporting presentations to your team/business stakeholders. 

Story Opening 

Did you ever notice that most TED talks start with a quick personal story? The benefit of this presenting technique is that it enables speakers to establish quick rapport and hold the listener’s attention. 

Here’s how Nancy Duarte, author of “Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations” book and TED presenter, recommends opening a presentation: 

You know, here’s the status quo, here’s what’s going on. And then you need to compare that to what could be. You need to make that gap as big as possible, because there is this commonplace of the status quo, and you need to contrast that with the loftiness of your idea. 

Storytelling , like no other tool, helps transpose the audience into the right mindset and get concentrated on the subject you are about to discuss. A story also elicits emotions, which can be a powerful ally when giving persuasive presentations. In the article how to start a presentation , we explore this in more detail.

Opening best suited for: Personal and business pitches, sales presentations, other types of persuasive presentations. 

Dramatic Opening 

Another common technique is opening your presentation with a major statement, sometimes of controversial nature. This can be a shocking statistic, complex rhetoric question, or even a provocative, contrarian statement, challenging the audience’s beliefs. 

Using a dramatic opening helps secure the people’s attention and capture their interest. You can then use storytelling to further drill down your main ideas. 

If you are an experienced public speaker, you can also strengthen your speech with some unexpected actions. That’s what Bill Gates does when giving presentations. In a now-iconic 2009 TED talk about malaria, mid-presentation Gates suddenly reveals that he actually brought a bunch of mosquitoes with him. He cracks open a jar with non-malaria-infected critters to the audience’s surprise. His dramatic actions, paired with a passionate speech made a mighty impression. 

Opening best suited for: Marketing presentations, customer demos, training presentations, public speeches. 

Further reading: How to start a presentation: tips and examples. 

2. Get Your PowerPoint Design Right

Surely, using professional business PowerPoint templates already helps immensely with presentation deck design since you don’t need to fuss over slide layout, font selection, or iconography. 

Even so, you’ll still need to customize your template(s) to make them on brand and better suited to the presentation you’re about to deliver. Below are our best presentation design tips to give your deck an extra oomph. 

Use Images, Instead of Bullet Points 

If you have ever watched Steve Jobs’s presentations, you may have noticed that he never used bullet-point lists. Weird right? Because using bullet points is the most universal advice in presentation design. 

business presentation ted talk

But there’s a valid scientific reason why Jobs favored images over bullet-point texts. Researchers found that information delivered in visuals is better retained than words alone. This is called the “ pictorial superiority effect ”. As John Medina, a molecular biologist, further explains :

“Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%.”

So if your goal is to improve the memorability of your presentation, always replace texts with images and visualizations when it makes sense. 

Fewer Slides is Better

No matter the value, a long PowerPoint presentation becomes tiring at some point. People lose focus and stop retaining the information. Thus, always take some extra time to trim the fluff and consolidate some repetitive ideas within your presentation. 

For instance, at McKinsey new management consultants are trained to cut down the number of slides in client presentations. In fact, one senior partner insists on replacing every 20 slides with only two slides . Doing so prompts you to focus on the gist — the main business presentation ideas you need to communicate and drop filler statements. 

Here are several quick tips to shorten your slides:

  • Use a three-arc structure featuring a clear beginning (setup), main narrative (confrontation), ending (resolution). Drop the ideas that don’t fit into either of these. 
  • Write as you tweet. Create short, on-point text blurbs of under 156 symbols, similar to what you’d share on Twitter. 
  • Contextualize your numbers. Present any relevant statistics in a context, relevant to the listeners. Turn longer stats into data visualizations for easier cognition. 

Consistency is Key 

In a solid business presentation, each slide feels like part of the connecting story. To achieve such consistency apply the same visual style and retain the same underlying message throughout your entire presentation.

Use the same typography, color scheme, and visual styles across the deck. But when you need to accentuate a transition to a new topic (e.g. move from a setup to articulating the main ideas), add some new visual element to signify the slight change in the narrative. 

Further reading: 23 PowerPoint Presentation Tips for Creating Engaging and Interactive Presentations

3. Make Your Closure Memorable 

We best remember the information shared last. So make those business presentation takeaways stick in the audience’s memory. We have three strategies for that. 

Use the Rule of Three 

The Rule of Three is a literary concept, suggesting that we best remember and like ideas and concepts when they are presented in threes. 

Many famous authors and speakers use this technique:

  • “Duty – Honor – Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, and what you will be” . Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
  • “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” are the unalienable rights of all humans that governments are meant to protect.” Thomas Jefferson 

The Rule of Three works because three is the maximum number of items most people can remember on their first attempt. Likewise, such pairings create a short, familiar structure that is easy to remember for our brains. 

Try the Title Close Technique

Another popular presentation closing technique is “Title Close” — going back to the beginning of your narrative and reiterating your main idea (title) in a form of a takeaway. Doing so helps the audience better retain your core message since it’s repeated at least two times. Plus, it brings a sense of closure — a feel-good state our brains love. Also, a brief one-line closure is more memorable than a lengthy summary and thus better retained. 

Ask a Question 

If you want to keep the conversation going once you are done presenting, you can conclude your presentation with a general question you’d like the audience to answer.

Alternatively, you can also encourage the members to pose questions to you. The latter is better suited for informational presentations where you’d like to further discuss some of the matters and secure immediate feedback. 

Try adding an interactive element like a QR code closing your presentation with a QR code and having a clear CTA helps you leverage the power of sharing anything you would like to share with your clients. QR codes can be customized to look alike your brand. With the help of the best QR code generator , you can create a QR code that’s secure and trackable.

12 Business Presentation Examples and What Makes Them Great 

Now that we equipped you with the general knowledge on how to make a presentation for business, let’s take a look at how other presenters are coping with this job and what lessons you can take away from them. 

1. N26 Digital Bank Pitch Deck 

The Future of Banking by N26. An example of a Business Presentation with a nice cover image.

This is a fine business pitch presentation example, hitting all the best practices. The deck opens with a big shocking statement that most Millennials would rather go to the dentist than step into a bank branch. 

Then it proceeds to discuss the company’s solution to the above — a fully digital bank with a paperless account opening process, done in 8 minutes. After communicating the main product features and value proposition, the deck further conceptualizes what traction the product got so far using data visualizations. The only thing it lacks is a solid call-to-action for closing slides as the current ending feels a bit abrupt. 

2. WeWork Pitch Deck

Business Presentation Example by WeWork

For a Series D round, WeWork went with a more formal business presentation. It starts with laying down the general company information and then transitions to explaining their business model, current market conditions, and the company’s position on the market.

The good thing about this deck is that they quantify their business growth prospects and value proposition. The likely gains for investors are shown in concrete numbers. However, those charts go one after another in a row, so it gets a bit challenging to retain all data points. 

The last part of their presentation is focused on a new offering, “We Live”. It explains why the team seeks funds to bring it to life. Likewise, they back their reasoning with market size statistics, sample projects, and a five-year revenue forecast. 

3. Redfin Investor Presentation 

Redfin Investor Presentation for Business. A Technology-Powered Real Estate Company.

If you are looking for a “text-light” business presentation example, Redfin’s investor deck is up to your alley. This simple deck expertly uses iconography, charts, and graphs to break down the company’s business model, value proposition, market share, and competitive advantages over similar startups. For number-oriented investors, this is a great deck design to use. 

4. Google Ready Together Presentation 

This isn’t quite the standard business presentation example per se. But rather an innovative way to create engaging, interactive presentations of customer case studies .

Interactive Online Presentation example by Google, from Customer Insights.  Google Ready Together Presentation.

The short deck features a short video clip from a Google client, 7-11, explaining how they used the company’s marketing technology to digitally transform their operations and introduce a greater degree of marketing automation . The narrated video parts are interrupted by slides featuring catchy stats, contextualizing issues other businesses are facing. Then transitions to explaining through the words of 7-11 CMO, how Google’s technology is helping them overcome the stated shortcomings.

5. Salesforce Business Presentation Example 

This is a great example of an informational presentation, made by the Salesforce team to share their research on customer experience (CX) with prospects and existing customers.

Business Presentation Example by Service Salesforce on How to Know Your Customer. A look into the Future of Customer Experience.

The slide deck errs on the lengthier side with 58 slides total. But bigger topics are broken down and reinforced through bite-sized statistics and quotes from the company leadership. They are also packaging the main tips into memorable formulas, itemized lists, and tables. Overall, this deck is a great example of how you can build a compelling narrative using different statistics. 

6. Mastercard Business Presentation

This slide deck from Mastercard instantly captures the audience’s attention with unusual background images and major data points on the growth of populations, POS systems, and payment methods used in the upcoming decade.

Business Presentation by MasterCard on Technology and Payment solutions. The Unfinished Revolution.

Perhaps to offset the complexity of the subject, Mastercard chose to sprinkle in some humor in presentation texts and used comic-style visuals to supplement that. However, all their animations are made in a similar style, creating a good sense of continuity in design. They are also using colors to signify the transition from one part of the presentation to another. 

In the second part, the slide deck focuses on distilling the core message of what businesses need to do to remain competitive in the new payments landscape. The team presents what they have been working on to expand the payment ecosystem. Then concludes with a “title close” styled call-to-action, mirroring the presentation title.

7. McKinsey Diversity & Inclusion Presentation 

This fresh business slide deck from McKinsey is a great reference point for making persuasive business presentations on complex topics such as D&I. First, it recaps the main definitions of the discussed concepts — diversity, equity, and inclusion — to ensure alignment with the audience members. 

Business Presentation Example by McKinsey Company on Diversity Wins: How inclusion matters.

Next, the business presentation deck focuses on the severity and importance of the issue for businesses, represented through a series of graphs and charts. After articulating the “why”, the narrative switches to “how” — how leaders can benefit from investment in D&I. The main points are further backed with data and illustrated via examples. 

8. Accenture Presentation for the Energy Sector

Similar to McKinsey, Accenture keeps its slide deck on a short. Yet the team packs a punch within each slide through using a mix of fonts, graphical elements, and color for highlighting the core information. The presentation copy is on a longer side, prompting the audience to dwell on reading the slides. But perhaps this was meant by design as the presentation was also distributed online — via the company blog and social media. 

Business Presentation Example by Accenture on Accelerating Innovation in Energy.

The last several slides of the presentation deck focus on articulating the value Accenture can deliver for their clients in the Energy sector. They expertly break down their main value proposition and key service lines, plus quantify the benefits. 

9. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Technical Presentation 

Giving an engaging technical presentation isn’t an easy task. You have to balance the number of details you reveal on your slides to prevent overwhelm, while also making sure that you don’t leave out any crucial deets. This technical presentation from AWS does great in both departments. 

Business Presentation created by AWS explaining how to build forecasting using ML/DL algorithms.

First, you get entertained with a quick overview of Amazon’s progress in machine learning (ML) forecasting capabilities over the last decade. Then introduced to the main tech offering. The deck further explains what you need to get started with Amazon Forecast — e.g. dataset requirements, supported forecasting scenarios, available forecasting models, etc. 

The second half of the presentation provides a quick training snippet on configuring Amazon SageMaker to start your first project. The step-by-step instructions are coherent and well-organized, making the reader excited to test-drive the product. 

10. Snapchat Company Presentation

Snapchat’s business model presentation is on a funkier, more casual side, reflective of the company’s overall brand and positioning. After briefly recapping what they do, the slide deck switches to discussing the company’s financials and revenue streams.

business presentation ted talk

This business slide deck by Snap Inc. itself is rather simplistic and lacks fancy design elements. But it has a strong unified theme of showing the audience Snapchat’s position on the market and projected vector of business development. 

11. Visa Business Acquisition Presentation 

VISA Acquisition of Plaid Business presentation.

If you are working on a business plan or M&A presentation for stakeholders of your own, this example from Visa will be helpful. The presentation deck expertly breaks down the company’s rationale for purchasing Plaid and subsequent plans for integrating the startup into their business ecosystem. 

The business deck recaps why the Plaid acquisition is a solid strategic decision by highlighting the total addressable market they could dive into post-deal. Then it details Plaid’s competitive strengths. The slide deck then sums up all the monetary and indirect gains Visa could reap as an acquirer. 

12. Pinterest Earnings Report Presentation 

Pinterest Business Presentation Example with Annual Report

Annual reports and especially earnings presentations might not be the most exciting types of documents to work on, but they have immense strategic value. Hence, there’s little room for ambiguities or mistakes. 

In twelve slides, this business presentation from Pinterest clearly communicates the big picture of the company’s finance in 2021. All the key numbers are represented as featured quotes in the sidebar with diagrams further showcasing the earning and spending dynamics. Overall, the data is easy to interpret even for non-finance folks. 

To Conclude 

With these business presentation design tips, presentation templates , and examples, you can go from overwhelmed to confident about your next presentation design in a matter of hours. Focus on creating a rough draft first using a template. Then work on nailing your opening slide sequence and shortening the texts in the main part of your presentation when needed. Make sure that each slide serves a clear purpose and communicates important details. To make your business presentation deck more concise, remove anything that does not pertain to the topic. 

Finally, once you are done, share your business presentation with other team members to get their feedback and reiterate the final design.

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Business Presentations, Corporate Presentations, Design, Design Inspiration, Examples, Executive Reports, Inspiration, Presentation Ideas Filed under Business

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business presentation ted talk

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  1. Online: TEDTalk Style Presentation Skills Workshop with ICE

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  2. How to build a TED Talk-worthy presentation

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  3. How to Design TED Worthy Presentation Slides: Presentation Design

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  4. How To Write A TED Talk In 7 Quick And Easy Steps

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  5. 4 Tips From TED TALKS For Your Better Presentations!

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  6. The 5 Best TED Talks for the Creative Business Athlete

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  5. 8 Things That Lead to Success 3

  6. 5 Life Changing TED talks / Ted talks motivation / best TED talks / Sriniwas Marathe

COMMENTS

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  14. Ideas about Presentation

    A collection of TED Talks (and more) on the topic of Presentation. Skip to main content Skip to search. ... Browse the library of TED talks and speakers. Playlists. 100+ collections of TED Talks, for curious minds. TED Series. Go deeper into fascinating topics with original video series from TED. TED-Ed videos. Watch, share and create lessons ...

  15. Should I Use the TED Talk Format for My Business Presentation?

    The answer is definitely yes, but only if you're invited to speak on the big stage at something like a conference, a user event, or even a large company event like a global sales or all hands meeting. A TED Talk is not just a presentation. It's a speech. A monologue. Think, "Presentation" with an capital "P." Interactions between ...

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  17. The Complete Guide to Making Great Business Presentations in 2021

    To do this, open the Google Slides business presentation with the slide design you want. Click the desired slide and click Control-C to copy the slide to your clipboard. Open a second business presentation that you want to copy the slide to. Click the slide before where you want to insert the copied slide.

  18. TED Masterclass: TED's Official Public Speaking Course

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  21. Ten lessons for success in business

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