TED Talks: Book Quotes by Chris Anderson

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "TED Talks" by Chris Anderson. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you looking for TED Talks quotes by Chris Anderson? What are some of the most noteworthy passages worth revisiting?

As curator for TED, Chris Anderson has seen hundreds of speeches succeed and fail, and he has figured out the secret formula. In his book TED Talks, he argues that everyone has got what it takes, and shares his informed take on what makes or breaks a speech.

Here’s a selection of passages highlighting some of the key ideas.

TED Talks: The Official Guide to Public Speaking

Published in 2016, Chris Anderson’s book TED Talks: The Official Guide to Public Speaking is a nuts-and-bolts guide to public speaking. A great speech has the power to inspire and change the world, but most people believe that public speaking is an innate talent. Chris Anderson wrote this book to derail that self-limiting belief.

“Your goal is not to be Winston Churchill or Nelson Mandela. It’s to be you. If you’re a scientist, be a scientist; don’t try to be an activist. If you’re an artist, be an artist; don’t try to be an academic. If you’re just an ordinary person, don’t try to fake some big intellectual style; just be you. You don’t have to raise a crowd to its feet with a thunderous oration. Conversational sharing can work just as well. In fact, for most audiences, it’s a lot better. If you know how to talk to a group of friends over dinner, then you know enough to speak publicly.”

Often, people believe their idea must be “big” to be worthy of a speech, and this simply isn’t true. Some ideas are big—for example, an invention that will save lives, or a civil rights issue that will affect future generations. But other ideas are subtle, like an observation about human behavior or a juxtaposition of landscapes. 

For example, remember a time when your thinking was shifted, or you were delighted and entertained. Often, subtle ideas spark these life-changing moments. Both big and subtle ideas have the potential to influence or move an audience.

“At a conference, people don’t come to a talk to be sold to. As soon as they understand that might be your agenda, they will flee to the safety of their email inbox. ”

Anderson warns against using your speech as an advertisement tool. When your audience senses that they’re the targets of an advertisement, they instantly become wary. The speaker is unlikely to yield sales this way, and he also risks damaging his reputation.

Even if your goal is to sell something, you should always seek to give. Instead of plugging yourself, focus on communicating your ideas. For example, if you’re a life coach and you’re hoping to secure new clients, don’t center your speech around your services or achievements. Instead, show the audience an important way they can improve their lives and let them come to you for more. 

“Presentation literacy isn’t an optional extra for the few. It’s a core skill for the twenty-first century.”

In this day and age, public speaking skills are essential for getting ahead. Anderson asserts that by learning to speak effectively, you’ll experience greater confidence and success—particularly in your professional life. Great public speaking has the power to influence. With the right presentation, your ideas can spread like wildfire and inspire positive change. 

In addition, when you share your expertise and unique way of thinking, Anderson says new opportunities will find their way to you. The ability to influence others combined with a constant flow of opportunities is a recipe for professional and personal success.

TED Talks: Book Quotes by Chris Anderson

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Chris Anderson's "TED Talks" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full TED Talks summary :

  • A nuts-and-bolts guide to public speaking that takes you from the initial idea to your final bow
  • TED curator Chris Anderson's public speaking advice on everything from scripting to wardrobe
  • A comparison of Anderson's advice to that of other public speaking experts

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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