Yesterday I treated myself to a couple of TED talks. For those who do not know what a TED talk is let me briefly explain. TED stands for Technology Entertainment and Design. Essentially TED talks are a series of lectures each of which lasts only 18 minutes, on subjects reflecting the name TED. It has expanded to other topics since its inception in 1984, and has had speakers from all over the world who are innovators in their field. A quick search on YouTube on TED Talks, and you are there.

The most striking thing that one hears while listening to many of these talks is that, for the most part, the person doing the talking is NOT a speaker by profession. Many of these presenters are the very innovators that had a passion for a new idea, product, or way of doing something different.

Within seconds of listening to many of these speakers, the critical ear may become aware of a plethora of ums and ahs, or other 'word whiskers' that are the trademark of the novice speaker. The seasoned speaker may notice the excessive pacing back and forth denoting someone who is not in their milieu and thus expressing the unconscious feeling of being caged.

And yet...

They are some of the most inspiring speakers I have heard in a long time.

Nowhere is the point so well made, by those who are not even trying to do so, that passion in your talk, can supersede almost all technical faux pas that may be inherent in your style of delivery.

Bringing an audience to a state of awe, is not so easy to do. Seeing an audience with their mouths agape because they have just heard something outside of their realm of expectation is a state that most speakers would aspire to, and few achieve. Yet, consistently, speaker after speaker observed on the TED Talks, elicit this apex of experience in their audience.

It doesn't take long to figure out why.

The world has changed dramatically over the years, and no more so than in the last 20-30 years. But these changes are, for the most part, linear. What I mean by that is that the first apple computer, looked like a typewriter without a place to put paper. It had a 'return' key instead of an enter button, because on a typewriter, you would hit 'return' when you wanted to start a new line. CD's still went round and round like vinyl record albums, and hard drives spun like the magnetic tapes, that it replaced.

In other word, most innovation, is an adaptation of the technology that preceded it. When you start to listen to the speakers in TED Talks, you start to realize why so many of them take your breath away. While the world at large basically is making a left turn at the fork in the road, these people are wondering what would happen if they got off the road completely. As a result, the new ideas that they come up with are not adaptations, but completely different ways of doing things that radically affect the world in ways that have never been previously thought .

That is the fuel that makes their talks so interesting. But lets get back to the speaking itself, and what we, as speakers can take away from what they are doing.

If you look at all the books on Public Speaking, (mine included) and compare their messages, you would find a lot of commonality. The difference is more toward the approach. In other words, our books are linear, adaptations of what has come before. Looking at some of our TED Talk speakers, and you could be forgiven for thinking that many of them gave most of these books a miss.

First and foremost these speakers are so infused with the enthusiasm of their discoveries, that they remind me of young children talking about their first trip to the pond. The excitement in their voice is genuine, the pride in their accomplishments is written in their eyes, and their delivery can be likened to a child presenting their mother with a gift on her birthday that they made themselves at school. Any one of these images can evoke memories of our own, or our children's experience. We have known this joy of sharing this experience, and whether we were the giver or the receiver, we came away feeling enriched, refreshed, and in tune with life.

Your speeches can have the same impact as I have described herein. The secret is in the source of your inspiration. Those of you who are writing speeches about experiences or telling stories, have the opportunity to bring out that genuinely childlike enthusiasm that is still there within you. The secret of course is to find or write the stories, that naturally evoke this passion. The other secret is to allow this enthusiasm to come out. Far too many speakers are concerned with presenting a certain 'professional image' at the expense of personal contact with the audience. The objective is to impact the audience so that they remember you and your presentation. This you cannot do by being like all the others.

Those of you who routinely have to deliver speeches that are more reports of data, and conclusions of findings and the like, might at first think that this does not apply to you. I would beg you to think again. Why not 'get off the road' completely and ask yourself; “How could I give this report in such a way as to get them to remember the context of my message, while taking away the pain of delivery that so many report speeches can be produce.”

If your stuck with giving these kinds of speeches, remember that your audience is stuck listening to it also. There is a tremendous opportunity for you to un-stick you and your audience, and provide them with an experience that is in the least, memorable.

I challenge all speakers to go beyond the tried and true, and infuse your talks with the same level of energy, or enthusiasm, but mostly passion that is evinced in the TED Talks.

Author's Bio: 

Phil Méthot, a Montreal, Canada, author and motivational speaker, has been an avid student of human behaviour most of his life. His book "Through the Door!" :A Journey to the Self, explores the origins of negative self images in a unique way that allows readers to more easily separate the real self from the 'imposed self'.