Tips from TED: Presenting ideas to engage your teams

Looking for ways to present your ideas and comments and engage your team? Ever wonder “What is the secret ingredient that causes another person’s comments to linger in someone else’s head and change the way they think?”. Do you ask yourself, “How can I present my ideas to my team in a way that genuinely engages them?” Read below to learn more about how you can master the art of presenting like those who present in TED talks.

Audience before content. Always.

There’s no purpose in speaking if your audience doesn’t recognize themselves in your presentation, doesn’t care about your meeting, or, worse still, doesn’t comprehend how your pitch pertains to them. The finest communicators constantly put their listeners above their material because of this. Consider storytelling best practices that promote empathy and perspective taking – the ability to put one’s self in another’s shoes. Meeting your audience where they are, and taking their needs into account, will help you tell your best story. As your craft your presentation, keep these audience prompts in mind:

  • What are the individual or group traits of your audience?
  • What are their aspirations or goals?
  • What problem do they have or need to solve?
  • What do they know and believe about the topic you’re presenting?
  • What do they need to know? Why?
  • What assumptions do you have about the group? How can you validate them?

Focus your presentation on a distinctive notion.

Everyone’s attention spans are almost nothing since there are so many distractions available in the world. As a result, it’s useful to make sure to focus your presentation on one distinctive notion or theme.

At TED, they always ask their speakers to identify the “gift” they want to give to the audience. If you want to knock your next communication out of the park, ask yourself that same question and center your presentation around this “gift”.

Ditch wordiness and unnecessary jargon.

As you prepare for your next meeting – ask yourself how you would articulate your message if you were having coffee with a friend. Keep your words concise without using obscure language to keep your audience engaged. Weed out wordiness by reviewing your speaker notes or written presentation and applying these best practices:

  • Pay attention to phrases that may signal redundant information like “in other words” or “what I mean by that”, and evaluate how you can make the information more concise and clear
  • Avoid phrases like “I think” or “in my opinion”, as they are naturally assumed if you are the one speaking
  • Every word should add value – if it doesn’t, omit it

When using data – contextualize it.

Any presentation can benefit from the credibility that data can bring. However, having too many statistics might actually make the most crucial ones seem less significant. Make an effort to edit if you’re going to use data! After that, attempt to contextualize each statistic. What does, for instance, $10 million in yearly sales actually mean? Try using the Explain-Enlighten-Engage model when incorporating data:

  • When you couple your narrative with data, explain the components that make up the data and highlight why an insight is important
  • Visualization of data through simple charts, colors, and patterns can enlighten your audience to insights that they would have normally missed in cluttered spreadsheets or overcrowded statistics
  • When combined, a strong narrative and enlightening visuals create a data story that engage your audience in a way that can influence and drive change


Finally, stories are fantastic—but only if they are pertinent.

You must tell tales in order to engage with your audience since we are “hardwired” to connect with one another via stories. Stories do indeed help us bond. However, many managers make the mistake of sharing really personal tales in order to establish a connection. The true reason we’re “hardwired” to prefer narratives is because narrative information is simpler for our brains to process than a list of facts. Therefore, compelling stories shouldn’t be intensely personal, but instead should be relevant to your point. Additionally, they must always adhere to the proper narrative framework, which is as follows: Setting; Characters; Conflict; Climax; Resolution.

But the above doesn’t only apply to important presentations – we constantly have the chance to transform ordinary words into charming, convincing, and unforgettable messages. Try the above methods at your next daily or weekly team meeting and start using your new skills before your next big presentation. To learn more about how Tractus can help you implement the above with your team – email


Written by

Amalia Swanson