How to be more TED and less Tigger – How to Be the Best Speaker You Can Be

Posted on: May 25, 2018

TED talks have become the gold standard for public speaking – powerful, touching and authentic. You’ve probably got a favourite talk – Brene Brown on The Power of Vulnerability or maybe Simon Sinek’s Start With Your Why?

With TEDx events being run in every major city its now even easier to claim your 18 minutes of glory.

You may not aspire to giving a TEDx talk, but when you’re next presenting at work, how about bringing in some of that TED magic?

A powerful TED style presentation will include 2 key elements:
ENERGY (passion, enthusiasm) and AUTHORITY (gravitas, credibility).

The formula is:


Most of us can manage one or the other under pressure – the key to a successful talk is to combine both.

What happens when this formula goes wrong?  Let me draw on an analogy from Winnie The Pooh.

If you have lots of energy but very little authority, then you’re in danger of coming across like Tigger – bouncing around with loads of enthusiasm, but not very reliable, focussed or adult. Great fun at a party but you’re unlikely to hire him as your adviser, trust him to lead a big team or invest in his business.

At the other extreme you might have lots of authority but low energy – think Owl.  He makes seemingly wise pronouncements in a ponderous way, but when you listen to what he’s actually saying – it’s banal. A safe pair of hands but he isn’t going to inspire anyone.

Worse still is to have low energy and low authority – you’ve probably guessed this is Eeyore, the famous depressed donkey.  Eeyore revels in his misfortunes: “2 weeks on Tuesday it’ll be 3 weeks since anyone came to see me” is one of his favourites.  While there’s a certain humour in his “poor me” behaviour, he’s not going to set anyone alight with his message.

So, how do you avoid these traps?

Firstly, notice what you do under the pressure of giving a presentation. Do you get more excitable and Tigger-like or do you become ponderous and formal like Owl?

For Tiggers, a key tip is to slow down and allow pauses between your sentences.  It’ll feel weird at first but trust me, what feels too slow is about right.

For Owls, practice talking about something you feel passionate about such as the best holiday you ever had and then practice your talk bringing the same level of energy to it.  If it feels over the top you’re probably in the right zone.

We can’t all be Brene Brown but we have the chance to bring our own bit of magic to our presentations if we “act TED”.

If you want help with accessing your inner TED speaker get in touch and let’s have a chat about how I can help you.