career advice, leadership

How to Craft A Talk That Spreads Your Ideas

Mary Rosenbaum | February 4th, 2014

One of the top 5 skills of any successful professional is the ability to effectively communicate their ideas. Strong communicators are able to get their ideas across in a way that prompts the listener to buy in, to help, or to believe. And those communicators are the ones who are able to implement change.

Nancy Duarte, in an excellent TED talk called The Secret Structure of Great Talks, reveals some wonderful tips on how to give a talk so you can communicate your ideas. Her suggestions can and should be applied to any conversation or presentation where you are trying to convert your listeners (clients, managers, co-workers, interviewers) into believers and ultimately into activists on your behalf.

The premise of her talk is that an idea that is not effectively communicated is essentially powerless. Here’s a summary of her tips:

– Story is the best way to communicate a new idea. If you want people to buy into or help you or believe in your idea, then they have to be moved to do it. We have all sat through our share of long power point presentations that become forgettable and result in little or no action on the listener’s part. Stories move people – they react both physically and emotionally. And they are remembered.

– Powerful stories illustrate the interplay between what exists now and what can be. The greater the gap between those two, the more powerful your story and the more galvanized your audience becomes. Think of the great speeches of our time – Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream Speech and Steve Jobs’ speech on the introduction of the IPhone (both used as examples in the TED Talk) – they each moved their audiences to action by constantly comparing life as it is with the world as they saw it in the future. And it was powerful.

– The audience is the hero of your story. Only they have the power to spread your idea and turn it into reality. You are the mentor who helps them and guides them to take your special new idea and move it forward. Without the millions of people who believed in MKL’s message or in Steve Jobs’ view of the future of communications, neither would have been able to change the world.

I highly recommend you listen to this talk and if you heed her words and follow the structure she lays out, you too can successfully communicate your ideas and maybe –  even change the world a little bit.

Want to move your career from the status quo to what you envision your future could be, contact me.