Everyone knows boring presentations. Stephan Balzer explains how to captivate your audience with a presentation.

Everybody knows it: eternal meetings with boring presentations, pure technical content without personal reference or inspiration, overflowing PowerPoint slides, which the speaker hangs on to and in the worst case reads from. For more than 30 years, the U.S. ideas conference TED has been showing how to do things differently, how to give inspiring and entertaining talks with the motto "ideas worth spreading. In this post, you'll learn the 10 secrets of great presentations and how to design and deliver inspiring TED-style short talks.

You are asked to give a presentation or a lecture and want to do it differently and better than before? Would you like to inspire colleagues and employees and leave a strong impression? From the U.S. TED Talks, whose videos have taken off around the world in recent years, you can learn what's important - e.g., telling a personal story and telling it well, focusing on a core idea, thinking from the end, and sticking strictly to a time limit. Here are 10 rules for great presentations that you can use to turn any topic into a gripping TED-style talk:


Start with a big idea

Share a big vision or a new idea. Take it upon yourself to give the best presentation you have ever given. Pay attention to your first sentence, surprise the audience. For example, start with a strong "why§ question ("The whole world is organized digitally and network-like. Why are our internal company processes actually still analog and linear?").
"Why" questions are more powerful than "how" questions and create a tension in the audience as to what the reason behind the described condition or circumstance might be - listeners will now continue to listen because they want to know that reason.

Show the real you

Tell about your passions and dreams, but also your doubts, fears and failures. Share a truth that comes from your personal experiences. Don't be afraid to show yourself vulnerable.
This in particular is often not common in management and the office world, and managers in particular are afraid to show weakness. However, you can only really convince and inspire people if you show yourself to be human, and being human also includes doubts and fears. By telling about it and your failures, real identification and bonding will be established and people will listen and follow you.

Place the focus on a key message or idea

Ask yourself: what should people talk about after your presentation is over and they go back to their break or workplace? What is the one message and key message that should stick? If possible, don't try to fit multiple results that have gradually made a difference in your life into one presentation. Design your talk to address the basic needs of every human being: love and belonging, desire and self-interest, learning and growth, and hope and change. To present these concepts appropriately, choose a single, strong, unifying idea. One event, one idea is the reference point for the entire lecture. For example, ask yourself: What was the happiest or the saddest moment, what is the most important lesson I learned? Only when you have this theme do you develop your story.

Think about the end before you start

What is your last sentence? To make the presentation memorable, choose a catchphrase or slogan that sums it up. A perfect ending is a "call to action." This can be phrased as a question ("what's stopping you from trying X") or addressed directly to the audience as a request ("I need all of you to do X" or "now when you return to your teams in the next few days, ask yourself: what can I do to..."). In the best case, the slogan rhymes or has a musical rhythm, such as Simon Sinek's TED Talk message "Start with why." In stories, a good ending (happy ending) helps create motivation, while a bad ending (the failure of the protagonist) teaches an important lesson.

Connect with the emotions of the audience

Design each talk and each section of your presentation to appeal to both sides of the brain. Facts, data, strategies, advice, and techniques appeal to the left hemisphere of the brain, whereas stories and actions appeal to the emotional right hemisphere. The goal of your presentation must be for the audience to change their view of a situation, for the audience to change their view of a situation, or for them to take an action. Therefore, take the audience on an emotional journey. Cite facts to demonstrate your credibility and convince the skeptical left brain. Combine facts with emotional stories to appeal to the right side of the brain. Use statistics in a way that creates an emotional connection with the listener. Don't say "20 million Germans suffer from heart disease," but "Look around this room. One in four here has heart disease and will die from it." Don't be afraid to make your audience laugh or cry. Just because a topic is serious doesn't mean the audience can't laugh at a funny remark of yours in between.

Make the complex simple

Don't speak in abstractions. Give examples, be specific. Use visual words and metaphors. For example, if you are talking about the excessive consumption of meat and why you and others have nevertheless not become vegetarians, don't say "the issue poses great challenges to humanity" and " too many people still eat meat", but make it personal, address the audience directly and use expressive language, for example, with "I knew all this, but still somehow I was not ready to give up eating meat altogether. Imagine: Your last hamburger."

Don't make an EGO show

If you present yourself as the great hero of your story, the audience will lose interest in you and your message. Try to be just the audience's guide for the journey through your story. Make someone else the hero of your story (A mentor, your partner, a colleague, the bus driver...).

Stick to your time limit

Set yourself a clear time limit, if it is not already given externally, and stick strictly to it. This forces you to concentrate on the essentials and to plan and keep an eye on the dramaturgy of your own presentation.

Practice, practice, practice

Practice your speech as often as possible - for timing, for clarity, for achieving an effect. Often it is the speakers who think they are very good, but whose presentation is not convincing and does not carry the audience along.
By the way, no master has ever fallen from the sky. The presenters at the TED idea conferences (the "speakers") are also intensively prepared for their appearance - in terms of the topic and story ("storytelling"), presentation ("delivery") and tools ("visuals"). With speaker coaching and practice, first-time presenters are introduced to their TED Talk and experienced speakers are made even better, so that in the end everyone can be proud of their talk - after all, it will be posted online at ted.com afterwards and potentially viewed by millions.
By following these ten rules, company executives can help to change the communication culture in the company, promote the creation of innovations and also practice "leadership" in a new way - leadership through inspiration is the goal of TED-style presentations.