Talk like Ted

Ever felt mesmerised by a speaker who shared his story? Carmine Gallo did a very thorough research on why Tedx speakers connect and amaze listeners in their events. Speaking aside, if you are leading your Team as a manager, being able to engage your employees is a skill that you can build and sharpen. It takes effort, practice and learning simple to use techniques that I have shared here. 

Book summary

Speaking secrets by Carmine Gallo

Becoming an awesome speaker starts with you. Dig in deep to identify the passionate topics that has moved you. The story that you want to share must inspire you. I did 2 half ironman races in my 30’s and 40’s, they required insane amount of training that I personally had to endure. My stories on the race and the training sessions have always moved my listeners. Hence do dig in deep. The 3 building blocks for a good story;

  1. Its emotional (pathos)
  2. Novel (new and never tried before)
  3. Memorable (Leave an impression)

I have wondered how charlatans weave a good story… its always starts with a sad story and leads you to how he survived nearly dying or how he sold his ring to start his business and he is now insanely successful. Moving on.. Speaking is a skill and its been used well to sell, craft and deceive. 


3 effective ways to persuade
Becoming a better speaker using pathos, ethos and logos.

Persuasion is an art that the Greeks cultivated. Socrates shared the science behind how you can persuade people. 10%, 25% and 65 %, Ethos, Logos and Pathos. This is a technique that has been adopted by both amazing speakers and crooks who wants to sell you a quick lie. Socrates shared the 3 components on what it takes to persuade. 

  • Ethos – your credibility, that many are able to fact check now, thank God. I have a masters’s degree and the thesis that I wrote has been curated at Nanyang Technological University and you can easily google what I did in that thesis. Likewise if you call yourself a Doctor or Professor and you have no known thesis to show for. That very much shows the person is a charlatan selling snake oil. More so when these qualifications comes from Universities that is unknown. Guard your credibility, for every lie it takes only a matter of time for the truth to unravel itself. I despise watching motivational speakers, Money Gurus and Youtube ads, cos many do not show how their qualifications were attained except for titles they show for. 25% of credibility helps in persuading people you speak to and when you lie, it can be fact checked easily.
  • Logos – Use of logic, that I very much like to do in my blogs and my programs. Having in place mandatory research that we undertake using journals and data. This has helped us prime our materials. 10% of logical thinking and materials that you use can be ascribed to this. Here is where, the money Gurus and motivational speakers lose out… there is no data or scientific co relation to detail the essence of their talks. 
  • Pathos – Once again emotions holds the glue towards making mesmerising speeches. 65% of what we say appealing to emotions can help you persuade people. This is where you get to listen to awesome speakers in Tedx, they carry authenticity and credibility; a stage where you will not find motivational speakers. These speakers do not hold any gravitas, credibility or even respect amongst the learned and informed. Where science and logic is used as a barometer for truth, such charlatan speakers fail pandering to their gift of the gab, language and superstitions.

Story telling

Story telling

By now you would have realised, it takes a good story to captivate an audience. From young we have always grown up on stories. Here are 3 effective ways to tell a story;

  • Personal stories that is inspiring and you are able to take them on a journey with the high and lows. Craft your story like a director who spins his movie. Make it rich with imagery, adjectives and visuals. 
  • Stories about other people. Neuroscientists have shared that we are geared towards empathy and share stories amplifying what they have been through. As you tell this story put yourself in their shoes.
  • Stories about brand success or even failures. I usually do this with the concepts and topics I cover and this requires research that needs to be done. 

Nephew of mine based in Malaysia studied in an Ivy League university on a Malaysian scholarship. I have heard his talk on Tedx. He brought gravitas and class to the podium, sharing with the audience what it takes to bring design thinking into practice. It was all about validating a distinct approach towards helping organisations. Leveraging on using a defined methodology to bring lasting impactful change, using empathy. That got me curious enough to study design thinking at my end and become a practitioner myself. Speakers must move you to take action in a logical way. Hope these techniques will help you become an authentic speaker and craft the value of speech to help organisations.


Galo, C. (2016) Talk Like Ted, The 9 Public Speaking Secrets, Pan Books