TEDxTuesdays, a weekly-ish 'zine about TED-style messaging.

TEDxTuesdays: Insights from... The TED Talk Whisperer (13feb24)

Published 3 months ago • 2 min read


These PowerPoint laws worked for my client with 46-million views on TED.

It is an all-time TOP 10 TED Talk.

And guess what...?

While Dr. Robert Waldinger shared Harvard research from an enormous data set...

Not a single slide included a graph, statistic, or pie chart. No bullet points either.

He scrupulously followed these rules. Consider doing the same. They work wonders!

1. Don’t use fonts, animation, and transitions.**

Just as “over-fonting” is a mistake in PowerPoint design, so too is the trap of jazzing up a presentation with flourishes.

→ Keep the design super simple.

** Kudos to Brant Pinvidic and his book, The 3-Minute Rule for this inspiring insight set. (pp. 188-193)

2. Slides are only for critical or key elements.

You don’t need a slide for everything you say. Use PowerPoint only for thoughts that really need to be seen. Have a reason for each slide and each thing on the screen.

→ Draft the entire presentation script without PowerPoint. Then ask what slides are absolutely necessary.

3. Max out the word count at 10 per slide.

Simple phrases and sentences only. The shorter, simpler the better. And if you can swap words with an image, do so.

→ Small words. Short phrases.

4. No more than five slides per 3 minutes.

Even better: 10 total for the entire preso! If you follow the first 3 commandments, this’ll be easy-peasy. Anything more than that ratio and you’re giving a slide show and not a presentation.

→ Forego slides entirely.

Think Sir Ken Robinson and Brené Brown here — not a slide in either Top 10 TED Talk!

5. Your deck is not your handout.

Make different slides for your PowerPoint and handouts. Your deck is there to help you; your handout reviews and reinforces what you’ve already said.

→ The leave-behind is optional.

If you use one, design it as a single front-back page. It is an explanatory tool for sharing with someone who never heard the talk.

Hint: If you must, this is where the statistics and charts belong.

DEVIN D. MARKS is known as The TED Talk Whisperer. His firm, CONNECT to COMPEL, has served 100s of TED, TEDx, and TED-Style speakers. The result: 100s of millions of views. His team helps leaders, just like you, catalyze ideas.

You can reach Devin at 617.804.6020, or DM him here.

Introducing... BETTER Speaking!

Communication is different these days.

Let's face it, TED Talks have raised the bar on spreading ideas from stage and screen.

Wanna hit that bar beyond the TED stage?

Click here to subscribe to the bi-weekly(ish) BETTER Speaking newsletter.

BETTER Speaking is focused on best practices for general keynotes, boardroom presentations, employee all-hands, and the like. This is the sister publication to TEDxTuesdays and is (largely) a TED Talk-free zone.

Let’s work together to improve your everyday presentations with the very best of TED-style tools!

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Short TEDster Insights

Here's a quick video that unpacks a bit of how book authors can make use of TED-style skills:

How Authors Can Use The TED-Style of Speaking to Impact Audiences?

video preview

Become a Breakaway TEDster!

When you're ready to take center stage (or center screen), let me know. Whether you're working on a TED Talk or a commencement address; an all-hands preso, or a keynote, you will want to be:

[ ✔] 5Fold-Focused
(5 factors here)
[ ✔] Story-Wrapped
(3 factors here)
[ ✔] Action-Igniting
(7 factors here)

And those three priorities make the TED Messaging Method so very, very connecting and compelling.

To begin a conversation, click here:

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TEDxTuesdays, a weekly-ish 'zine about TED-style messaging.

From... The TED Talk Whisperer, DEVIN

I help niche execs, experts and authors master the TED stage and "short talk" messaging style. (TEDx clients enjoying views in the many, Many, MANY millions.) LET THE WORLD LIVE YOUR MESSAGE!™ #tedtalks #tedx #tedstyle #publicspeaking #speechwriting #pitches #presentations #messaging #branding #publicrelations #events #conferences

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