分类目录归档:协作翻译

如何做好TEDtalks这样的顶级演讲?

最近,Chris Anderson 先生在《哈佛商业周刊》发表了名为《如何做顶尖级演讲》(“How to give a killer presentation”)的文章,从如何更好地叙述与表达想法,演讲形式、现场表现与多媒体应用等方面分享了30多年来作为TED 大会策展人的经验,并引用多个他在工作中接触到的事例。此文由TEDxNanjing 外事翻译部成员首度翻译,供大家学习参考,了解TED 筹备组的精神与思想,也欢迎喜爱思考的各位对本文内容及翻译进行交流,各平台宣传使用!http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_772d87330101epr5.html

Chris-Anderson-TED-007

如何做顶尖级演讲
By Chris Anderson
TEDxNanjing 翻译&校对 曾冉 胡雪妮

一年多前,我和一些同事们在去肯尼亚内罗毕的路途中遇到了一个12岁叫Richard Turere的马赛族男孩,他给我们讲述了一个非常有趣的故事。他家在一个开阔的国家公园边上,以蓄养家畜为生,然而有一个大麻烦就是得保护牲畜免受狮子的侵害,特别是在夜间。Richard发现在牧场放置灯泡并不能阻挡狮子,不过当他持着电筒巡查时,狮子就不靠近了。打小时候起,他就对电子器件无比痴迷,并通过例如拆卸父母的收音机来自学。运用这些经验,他设计了一个由太阳能板、汽车电池以及摩托车转向灯构成的灯光系统,可以依次开灯关灯,营造出一种运动感,他希望可以借此吓跑狮子。在他安装了灯光系统后,狮子再也没有攻击家畜了。之后不久,肯尼亚的其他村庄也开始安置Richard的“驱狮灯”。

这么鼓舞人心的故事十分值得通过TED大会让更多的观众来了解,然而表面看起来,Richard并不太可能成为TED讲者。他十分羞涩,英语也说的结结巴巴。一旦他尝试介绍述自己的发明就会变得语无伦次。坦白来说,我们很难想象一个小孩站在1400个观众面前演讲,更何况这些观众已经习惯了听诸如Bill Gates、Ken Robinson爵士或Jill Bolte Taylor等大师级的演讲。

可是Richard的故事是如此引人入胜,我们太想邀请他了。在2013年大会举办的几个月前,我们和他一起准备提纲,寻找合适的切入点以及简洁且有逻辑性的叙事方式。得益于Richard的这个发明,他获得了肯尼亚顶尖学校的奖学金。借助申请奖学金的机会,他得以在真正的现场观众面前练习了几次演讲。关键的一点是他得能够建立足够的自信,从而闪耀出自己的个性。最终当他在长滩发表TED演讲时,你可以说他紧张,但紧张仅使他更加充满魅力——观众们全神贯注地聆听着他说的每一个词语,他们被Richard的每一个笑容感染。演讲结束时,回应他的是爆发般的欢呼与持续不断的掌声。

Richard Turere:我的一个与狮子和平共处的发明

在13岁男孩——Richard Turere所生活的马赛族,所有的牛畜都是极其重要的。但是狮子的袭击却变得越来越猖獗。 在这个短片里,通过鼓舞人心的演讲,你将会看到,这个年轻的发明家是如何利用他发明的太阳能方法安全地驱赶走捕食的狮子。


http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_turere_a_peace_treaty_with_the_lions.html

自三十年前第一届TED大会以来,跨越各领域的讲者如政治家、音乐家和电视演员在观众面前表现的要比不知名的学术家、科学家和作者更从容,后者中的一些在演讲时会感到极不自在。这么多年来我们探索出一套程序,帮助缺乏经验的讲者表达、演练并最终做出为人喜爱的演讲。这个程序一般在大会举办前九到六个月开始,包括不断修订讲稿、排练以及大量的微调。我们也一直在改进具体的方法——因为公众演讲艺术也随着时代变化而改变——但从公众的反馈来看,基本的一些方法是很有效果的:TED视频自2006年上线以来至今已被观看十亿多次。

基于这方面的经验,我相信要做一个好的演讲需要很多训练。在区区几小时内,演讲的内容和叙述方式就可以由混沌不清变得精彩动人。我们团队所专注的18分钟甚至更短形式的演讲经验,对其他演讲者也很有用,无论是做IPO路演的CEO,发布新产品的品牌经理,亦或寻求风头的创业者。

表达你的故事

除非你有值得一说的东西,不然你就做不了一个好的演讲。同时,对你想说的内容进行提炼和升华,并恰当地表达出来是准备过程中最重要的部分。

我们都知道人们很喜欢听故事,那些最引人入胜的叙述结构中有着大量的隐喻。当我想到要做一个扣人心弦的演讲,在我脑海中的是去带着观众踏上一段旅途。一个成功的演讲是一个小小的奇迹,人们由此看到不同的世界。

如果你把故事当作一段旅途,最重要的便是找出从哪里开始、到哪里结束。想想观众们对你的故事可能已经有了哪些了解、他们有多关心它,以此找到合适的起点。若你高估了观众的知识储备或者对话题的兴趣,亦或你开始使用术语搞得太专业,你就失去观众了。最棒的演讲者会非常快速地介绍主题,解释他们自己为什么会对这个话题感兴趣,并说服观众相信他们也应该关注这个主题。

我在演讲者的初稿中发现的最大问题是会涵盖太多内容。你无法在一个演讲中去概括整个行业。如果你试图塞进所有你知道的东西,那就没时间去举出关键的细节了,而且你的演讲会因各种抽象的语言而晦涩难懂,从而会导致本身就懂的人能听得懂,而之前不懂的人就不知所云了。你需要举出具体的例子来使你的想法有血有肉充实起来。所以,把你的演讲局限在可以被解释清楚的范围内,并且尽可能举出例子使其生动。我们在筹备前期给讲者的反馈大多是建议他们不要太冲动,不要一心想把所有东西都纳入到一个短短的演讲,相反应当深入下去把内容细节化。不要告诉我们你研究的整个领域,要给我们分享你独一无二的贡献成果。

当然,过度阐述或者纠结于内容的意义也不可行。对这种情况有另一套补救的方法。记住观众们很聪明,让他们自己去找寻出一些意义,去各自归纳收获的结论。

很多顶级的演讲具有着侦探小说般松散的叙事结构。演讲者引出问题开始演讲,然后介绍寻求解决方法的过程,直到恍然大悟的一刻,这时观众自会看到这一切叙述的意义。

如果一个演讲失败了,大多数是因为讲者没有找到好的表达方法,错误估计了观众的兴趣点,或者忽略了故事本身。即使话题再重要,没有足够的叙述作为铺垫,反而偶然冒出一些武断的意见总会让人感到不爽。没有一个递进的过程,就不会感到自己有所收获。

我参与过一个能源会议,市长和前州长两人出席了一个座谈。市长的演讲大量罗列了他的城市开展的各种大型项目。这样的演讲如同吹嘘自诩,就像他再次选举所用的成绩单或者宣传广告。演讲很快变得无聊起来。而当州长开始演讲的时候,她并没有列出各种成就,相反的,她分享了一个想法理念。她虽然也叙述了执政期间的诸多趣事,不过那个理念则是核心,所有故事都是围绕这个理念而来,故事本身也说得到位而有趣。这个演讲相较而言则更令人有兴趣。市长的潜在台词看起来是在说他有多伟大,而州长的演讲却表达了“这儿有一个很了不起的启示,我们都能从中获益”。

一般来说,人们对关于组织或者机构的演讲并没有什么兴趣(除非他们是其中成员)。理念和故事吸引着我们,但机构组织使我们厌烦——因为他们和我们没太大关系。(商务人士特别需要注意:不要吹嘘你的公司,与其那样还不如告诉我们你的公司正在解决什么问题。)

决定你的演方式

一旦你想好怎么说故事了,就可以开始重点考虑具体的演讲方式。发表一个演讲有三个主要的途径:你可以照着手稿或提词器直接读;你可以记下演讲提纲来提示你要讲的具体内容而不是把整个演讲都记下来;或者你可以记住全部内容,当然这需要大量的排练预演,直到你最终能完全把控演讲内容。

我的建议是:别照着读,不要使用提词器。提词器通常会有一段距离,人们会知道你在照着读。并且一旦他们发现了,他们的注意力就会转移。突然你就与观众变得疏远,从而变得太官方。在TED我们一般不允许照着读的行为,虽然几年前有个例外,因为有个讲者坚持使用显示器。我们在观众席的后面设置了一个屏幕,希望观众不会注意到它。起先他讲的很自然。可没过多久他僵住了,当人们发现“我勒个去他在照读”的时候,你可以看到一种很糟糕的消极情绪在观众间传递。虽然他的演讲内容很精彩,得到的评分却很低。

我们很多最受欢迎的TED演讲都是脱稿的。如果你有充裕的时间做这样的准备,这其实会是最好的演讲方式。不过不要低估这项准备工作所需要的时间。TED上最令人难忘的一个讲者是Jill Bolte Taylor,一位得过中风的大脑研究员。她分享了自己在这八年的大脑恢复期间学到了什么。在仔细雕琢并一个人练习了数十小时后,她又在一个观众面前演练了十几次以保证她的演讲可以成功。

吉尔·伯特·泰勒的奇迹
吉尔伯特泰勒所拥有的研究机会不是每一位脑科学家都所希望拥有的:她有严重中风,并且观察到她大脑的功能–运动,语言,自我意识-一个接一个关闭。这真是令人惊讶的故事。

http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html

显然,不是每一个演讲都值得如此耗费时间准备。不过如果你决定脱稿,那你就要懂得学习曲线的大概形状是什么样子。大多数人都会经历一个“抓狂的低谷期”,此时他们并不能很好地脱稿演讲。如果他们在这个低谷期间做演讲,观众就会有所发觉。他们们演讲听起来会如同在背东西,或者在他们竭力回想该说什么的时候,他们的眼神会放空或者上翻显得很尴尬。这样会造成演讲者和观众之间的关系变得疏远。

想要走出这个低谷期很简单,只要充分进行排练,演讲的每一句话都将会吐露得如此自然。之后你就可以把准备的重点放在演讲内容的意义和真实性上了。不要慌,你能行。

不过如果你没有足够时间准备并渡过低谷期,那就别试了。用小卡片记下演讲要点吧。只要你知道每一个点该如何展开就够了。注意记住如何从一个要点过渡到另一个要点。

与此同时,你还要注意自己的语气。有些讲者倾向于较为权威、装逼、强硬或激烈的语气,可是谈话式的语气会听上去更令人舒服。别强求,莫装逼,做好自己就行。

如果成功的演讲是一趟旅途,那就不要在过程中惹恼你的旅伴。有些讲者表现的太过于自我。他们表现的特牛逼、人生特圆满,观众就会特无语。千万别这样。

端正台风

就那些毫无经验的演讲者而言,肢体表现是演讲中最难的一部分,不过人们却会太容易高估它的作用。用对措辞,说好故事,演讲的内容要比你站姿如何、看起来是否紧张更大程度地决定演讲能否成功。对台风而言,稍加注意就够了。

我们在早期排练时候发现的最常见的错误是人们会过于频繁地移动身体。他们会晃来晃去,或者把重心在两腿间不停移动。人们在紧张的时候常常不自觉的这样,但是如此容易分散观众的注意力,而且使演讲者看上去没有说服力。只要减少下半身的移动就可大大提高台风。不过也有人能够在演讲时在舞台上自如地走动,我们认为只要足够自然倒也无妨。但对于大部分人最好还是站定了就不要晃动,仅通过手部姿势来强调重点。

在台上最关键的肢体语言或许应该是眼神交流。在观众席里找五六位看起来顺眼的,在演讲时眼神盯着他们看。把他们当成你很久没见到老朋友,想象你正把他们带进你的工作中来。这样的眼神交流将变得不可思议的有效,它比其他任何方法都要对你的演讲有帮助。即使你没有时间充足做好准备,必须得照着稿子读,那么抬起头做一些眼神上的交流将会产生巨大的反响。

对无经验的演讲者而言,另一个大挑战就是紧张,不管是在台前还是台上。不同人应对紧张有不同的处理方法。很多讲者在演讲前会呆在观众席中,这方法很有效,因为听前面的演讲者演讲可以转移注意力并减少紧张。哈佛商学院的一位教授Amy Cuddy研究了怎样的姿势可以产生气场,她运用了我见过的最不同寻常的准备技巧。她建议讲者们在演讲前到周围大步走一走,站在高处,或伸展四肢,这些姿势都可以使你倍感自信。她自己上台前就是如此做的,而且她做的演讲精彩非凡。不过我认为最简单的方法就是上台前做一下深呼吸,这很有效果。

总的来说,人们太于担心自己会紧张。紧张不是病,观众们其实也期待看到你紧张,紧张是一种自然地身体反应,并且事实上能使你表现得更好:它给予你表现的力量,并保持你思维敏捷。稳住呼吸,一切都没问题的!

承认紧张也可以带来魅力。要大胆展示出你的脆弱,无论是紧张亦或是你的语音语调,真的都是赢得观众倾心的有力武器。出版过有关内向性格的书并在2012年TED大会上演讲的Susan Cain就特怕做演讲。你可以感觉到她的脆弱,这种感受让观众都为她加油——所有人在结束后都想拥抱她。努力使她美丽,也使她的演讲成为当年最受欢迎的一个。

苏珊·凯恩:内向性格的力量
在社交和外向性格备受推崇的文化中,成为内向的人可能会很难,这甚至是可耻的。但是,当你聆听苏珊·凯恩激情澎湃的演讲时,你会发现内向的人给这个世界带来了惊人的天赋和能力,这是值得鼓励和庆祝的。

http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html

恰当采用多媒体技术

在我们处理过的所有多媒体文件里,用的最多的应该就是幻灯片。现在大多数人都知道PPT的诀窍:保持简洁;不要把幻灯片做成演讲稿(如列出你所要讲的各点——这些最好写在你手中的小卡片里);不要大声重复读出幻灯片上的内容。除了可能出现类似于使用提词器时会出现的问题之外——比如“我勒个去她也在照读!”——往往只有最新鲜的信息才能调动人们的兴趣,人们不喜欢重复地看到和听到相同的信息。现在大家应该都很明白这点,但如果去各种公司看看,每天依然有人在演讲时犯这种错误。

许多顶尖的TED演讲者不用幻灯片,而且很多演讲内容也不需要它。如果你展示一些照片插图可以让话题更生动的话,那就用吧,否则至少对于演讲的某些部分来说就考虑不要用。如果你要使用幻灯片,PPT的替代品也是值得一试的。比如,TED的投资对象Prezi,这家公司的演示软件提供了一种聚焦追踪式的二维画面。与传统的平面图像切换方式相比,这个演示软件允许用户根据需要移动或者放大演示的画面。恰当地采用多媒体技术可以极大提高演讲的视觉冲击力并加深其内涵。

艺术家、建筑师、摄影师和设计家会更多地使用影像资料。幻灯片可以帮助讲者更好地表达、把握节奏并且能在讲者不得不使用专业用语时帮助观众更好地理解。(艺术很难用言语去表达,用视觉来体验更好)。我看过一些艺术家或设计师的很棒的演讲,他们将幻灯片的图片设置为每15秒切换一次。我还看过演讲者跟随一段视频进行演讲。这可以帮助保证演讲连贯性和节奏。比如工业设计师Ross Lovegrove的TED视觉演讲,他使用了这些手段,带观众踏入了一段难忘的创造之旅。

Ross Lovegrove 分享有机设计
设计师 Ross Lovegrove 说明他的「无脂」设计哲学, 并赏析几件他的独特产品,包含 Ty Nant 水瓶及 Go 椅。

http://www.ted.com/talks/ross_lovegrove_shares_organic_designs.html

另一种创造性的表达方式或许是在演讲中适当地停顿,让作品自己去表现。动力学雕塑家Reuben Margolin使用此方法来感染他人。关键就在于不要想着“我正在演讲”,而是想着“我想要给观众一个关于我的作品的难忘体验”。艺术家和建筑师最可能搞杂的就是把他们的演讲用抽象概念化的语言来表现。

罗本·马格林: 用时光与木头雕成的浪
罗本·马格林是一个动态雕刻家, 他创作了一个个像波浪一样流动的作品。用接下来的九分钟陶醉,沉思在他那包含着数学与自然的艺术里。

http://www.ted.com/talks/reuben_margolin_sculpting_waves_in_wood_and_time.html

视频对很多讲者都很有用处。例如在一个关于乌鸦的智慧的TED演讲中,科学家播放了一个视频片段,展示了一只乌鸦弯出一个钩子勾出管子里的食物的过程——也就是说一只乌鸦创造工具的过程。这段视频比任何语言都更有说服力。

恰当地使用视频可以让演讲变得效果非凡,不过也有一些常犯的错误需要避免。视频剪辑需要足够短——如果长于1分钟,你就有可能要失去观众了。特别需注意的是,不要使用企业视频,这看起来像自我宣传或电视广告,观众早已看腻了。任何带背景音的视频都会让人倒胃口。而且无论如何,别放你自己被如CNN等采访的视频。我看过演讲者这么干过,真烂透了,没人会想要了解你的自大。观众已经在你面前听你现场演讲了,为什么还让他们同时到看你出现在新闻采访中?

整合起来

我们在演讲前至少六个月开始帮助演讲者准备他们的演讲内容,这样他们可以有充足的预演时间。我们希望讲者可以在活动一个月前定下最终的演讲。在最后的几周内他们预演的越多,最后的效果就越好。理想的情况下,他们会自己单独彩排,并且在一名观众前预演。

在其他人面前预演有一个问题,即听者会觉得自己有义务来提供反馈或者提出建设性的批评。不同人的反馈常常差异巨大甚至互相矛盾。这可能会让讲者不知所措甚至抓狂,所以挑选谁来观看预演并给出反馈尤为重要。总的来说,有丰富演讲经验的人能给出好的建议。

2011年我自己从中学到了很多。我的同事,TED Global活动的策划者Bruno Giussani指出即使我在TED里工作了九年,主持过各种大会,介绍过那么多演讲者,我却从未做过一个属于自己的TED演讲。所以他邀请我来做一次演讲,我接受了。

我感到了比预想还要大的压力。就算我花了那么多时间指导过别人如何构建故事框架,当换成自己的故事时,还是会变得很困难。我决定脱稿演讲,讲关于网络视频如何促进全球创新的话题,但这个过程很艰难:即便我花了那么多个小时,从同事那里得到各种建议,我还是感到有些措手无错甚至开始怀疑自己的能力。我真的感觉自己可能要歇菜了。在登台的前一刻我依旧很紧张。不过之后一切都变得那么顺心如意。这次演讲肯定不算最棒的TED演讲之一,不过它还是得到了好评,我也扛过了这段巨大压力。

总之我亲身体会了我们的讲者在这30年里所挖掘出来的东西:演讲的成功取决于想法的质量、叙述表达的方式以及演讲者的感情。这和内容的实质有关,而不是演讲的风格或是绚烂的多媒体。一个演讲的表述很容易通过准备期间的指导和训练来完善,但故事和想法本身却不是能被训练出来的——演讲者心中必须要有货。如果你有要说的东西,你就可以做出很赞的演讲。不过如果没有一个中心思想,那你最好是别说了。拒绝演讲邀请,回去工作,等到你真正有值得分享的想法再来。

记住一点,做出好的演讲没有捷径可走。最令人难忘的演讲总是有大家前所未闻的新鲜东西。最糟糕的演讲则充满陈词滥调。所以任何情况下都不要试图照搬我这里提供的各种建议,当然了,要了解这些建议的大体意思,但演讲内容终归还是要由你自己拟定,因为你知道你和你的想法与种不同的地方。发挥你的长处,做出真正属于你自己的演讲。

—————————————–English Version——————————————–

How to Give a Killer Presentation

by Chris Anderson

A little more than a year ago, on a trip to Nairobi, Kenya, some colleagues and I met a 12-year-old Masai boy named Richard Turere, who told us a fascinating story. His family raises livestock on the edge of a vast national park, and one of the biggest challenges is protecting the animals from lions—especially at night. Richard had noticed that placing lamps in a field didn’t deter lion attacks, but when he walked the field with a torch, the lions stayed away. From a young age, he’d been interested in electronics, teaching himself by, for example, taking apart his parents’ radio. He used that experience to devise a system of lights that would turn on and off in sequence—using solar panels, a car battery, and a motorcycle indicator box—and thereby create a sense of movement that he hoped would scare off the lions. He installed the lights, and the lions stopped attacking. Soon villages elsewhere in Kenya began installing Richard’s “lion lights.”

The story was inspiring and worthy of the broader audience that our TED conference could offer, but on the surface, Richard seemed an unlikely candidate to give a TED Talk. He was painfully shy. His English was halting. When he tried to describe his invention, the sentences tumbled out incoherently. And frankly, it was hard to imagine a preteenager standing on a stage in front of 1,400 people accustomed to hearing from polished speakers such as Bill Gates, Sir Ken Robinson, and Jill Bolte Taylor.

But Richard’s story was so compelling that we invited him to speak. In the months before the 2013 conference, we worked with him to frame his story—to find the right place to begin, and to develop a succinct and logical arc of events. On the back of his invention Richard had won a scholarship to one of Kenya’s best schools, and there he had the chance to practice the talk several times in front of a live audience. It was critical that he build his confidence to the point where his personality could shine through. When he finally gave his talk at TED, in Long Beach, you could tell he was nervous, but that only made him more engaging—people were hanging on his every word. The confidence was there, and every time Richard smiled, the audience melted. When he finished, the response was instantaneous: a sustained standing ovation.

Since the first TED conference, 30 years ago, speakers have run the gamut from political figures, musicians, and TV personalities who are completely at ease before a crowd to lesser-known academics, scientists, and writers—some of whom feel deeply uncomfortable giving presentations. Over the years, we’ve sought to develop a process for helping inexperienced presenters to frame, practice, and deliver talks that people enjoy watching. It typically begins six to nine months before the event, and involves cycles of devising (and revising) a script, repeated rehearsals, and plenty of fine-tuning. We’re continually tweaking our approach—because the art of public speaking is evolving in real time—but judging by public response, our basic regimen works well: Since we began putting TED Talks online, in 2006, they’ve been viewed more than one billion times.

On the basis of this experience, I’m convinced that giving a good talk is highly coachable. In a matter of hours, a speaker’s content and delivery can be transformed from muddled to mesmerizing. And while my team’s experience has focused on TED’s 18-minutes-or-shorter format, the lessons we’ve learned are surely useful to other presenters—whether it’s a CEO doing an IPO road show, a brand manager unveiling a new product, or a start-up pitching to VCs.

Frame Your Story

There’s no way you can give a good talk unless you have something worth talking about. Conceptualizing and framing what you want to say is the most vital part of preparation.

Find the Perfect Mix of Data and Narrative

 

We all know that humans are wired to listen to stories, and metaphors abound for the narrative structures that work best to engage people. When I think about compelling presentations, I think about taking an audience on a journey. A successful talk is a little miracle—people see the world differently afterward.

 

If you frame the talk as a journey, the biggest decisions are figuring out where to start and where to end. To find the right place to start, consider what people in the audience already know about your subject—and how much they care about it. If you assume they have more knowledge or interest than they do, or if you start using jargon or get too technical, you’ll lose them. The most engaging speakers do a superb job of very quickly introducing the topic, explaining why they care so deeply about it, and convincing the audience members that they should, too.

The biggest problem I see in first drafts of presentations is that they try to cover too much ground. You can’t summarize an entire career in a single talk. If you try to cram in everything you know, you won’t have time to include key details, and your talk will disappear into abstract language that may make sense if your listeners are familiar with the subject matter but will be completely opaque if they’re new to it. You need specific examples to flesh out your ideas. So limit the scope of your talk to that which can be explained, and brought to life with examples, in the available time. Much of the early feedback we give aims to correct the impulse to sweep too broadly. Instead, go deeper. Give more detail. Don’t tell us about your entire field of study—tell us about your unique contribution.

Of course, it can be just as damaging to overexplain or painstakingly draw out the implications of a talk. And there the remedy is different: Remember that the people in the audience are intelligent. Let them figure some things out for themselves. Let them draw their own conclusions.

Many of the best talks have a narrative structure that loosely follows a detective story. The speaker starts out by presenting a problem and then describes the search for a solution. There’s an “aha” moment, and the audience’s perspective shifts in a meaningful way.

If a talk fails, it’s almost always because the speaker didn’t frame it correctly, misjudged the audience’s level of interest, or neglected to tell a story. Even if the topic is important, random pontification without narrative is always deeply unsatisfying. There’s no progression, and you don’t feel that you’re learning.

I was at an energy conference recently where two people—a city mayor and a former governor—gave back-to-back talks. The mayor’s talk was essentially a list of impressive projects his city had undertaken. It came off as boasting, like a report card or an advertisement for his reelection. It quickly got boring. When the governor spoke, she didn’t list achievements; instead, she shared an idea. Yes, she recounted anecdotes from her time in office, but the idea was central—and the stories explanatory or illustrative (and also funny). It was so much more interesting. The mayor’s underlying point seemed to be how great he was, while the governor’s message was “Here’s a compelling idea that would benefit us all.”

As a general rule, people are not very interested in talks about organizations or institutions (unless they’re members of them). Ideas and stories fascinate us; organizations bore us—they’re much harder to relate to. (Businesspeople especially take note: Don’t boast about your company; rather, tell us about the problem you’re solving.)

Plan Your Delivery

Once you’ve got the framing down, it’s time to focus on your delivery. There are three main ways to deliver a talk. You can read it directly off a script or a teleprompter. You can develop a set of bullet points that map out what you’re going to say in each section rather than scripting the whole thing word for word. Or you can memorize your talk, which entails rehearsing it to the point where you internalize every word—verbatim.

My advice: Don’t read it, and don’t use a teleprompter. It’s usually just too distancing—people will know you’re reading. And as soon as they sense it, the way they receive your talk will shift. Suddenly your intimate connection evaporates, and everything feels a lot more formal. We generally outlaw reading approaches of any kind at TED, though we made an exception a few years ago for a man who insisted on using a monitor. We set up a screen at the back of the auditorium, in the hope that the audience wouldn’t notice it. At first he spoke naturally. But soon he stiffened up, and you could see this horrible sinking feeling pass through the audience as people realized, “Oh, no, he’s reading to us!” The words were great, but the talk got poor ratings

Many of our best and most popular TED Talks have been memorized word for word. If you’re giving an important talk and you have the time to do this, it’s the best way to go. But don’t underestimate the work involved. One of our most memorable speakers was Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain researcher who had suffered a stroke. She talked about what she learned during the eight years it took her to recover. After crafting her story and undertaking many hours of solo practice, she rehearsed her talk dozens of times in front of an audience to be sure she had it down.

Obviously, not every presentation is worth that kind of investment of time. But if you do decide to memorize your talk, be aware that there’s a predictable arc to the learning curve. Most people go through what I call the “valley of awkwardness,” where they haven’t quite memorized the talk. If they give the talk while stuck in that valley, the audience will sense it. Their words will sound recited, or there will be painful moments where they stare into the middle distance, or cast their eyes upward, as they struggle to remember their lines. This creates distance between the speaker and the audience.

Getting past this point is simple, fortunately. It’s just a matter of rehearsing enough times that the flow of words becomes second nature. Then you can focus on delivering the talk with meaning and authenticity. Don’t worry—you’ll get there.

But if you don’t have time to learn a speech thoroughly and get past that awkward valley, don’t try. Go with bullet points on note cards. As long as you know what you want to say for each one, you’ll be fine. Focus on remembering the transitions from one bullet point to the next.

Also pay attention to your tone. Some speakers may want to come across as authoritative or wise or powerful or passionate, but it’s usually much better to just sound conversational. Don’t force it. Don’t orate. Just be you.

If a successful talk is a journey, make sure you don’t start to annoy your travel companions along the way. Some speakers project too much ego. They sound condescending or full of themselves, and the audience shuts down. Don’t let that happen.

Develop Stage Presence

For inexperienced speakers, the physical act of being onstage can be the most difficult part of giving a presentation—but people tend to overestimate its importance. Getting the words, story, and substance right is a much bigger determinant of success or failure than how you stand or whether you’re visibly nervous. And when it comes to stage presence, a little coaching can go a long way.

The biggest mistake we see in early rehearsals is that people move their bodies too much. They sway from side to side, or shift their weight from one leg to the other. People do this naturally when they’re nervous, but it’s distracting and makes the speaker seem weak. Simply getting a person to keep his or her lower body motionless can dramatically improve stage presence. There are some people who are able to walk around a stage during a presentation, and that’s fine if it comes naturally. But the vast majority are better off standing still and relying on hand gestures for emphasis.

Perhaps the most important physical act onstage is making eye contact. Find five or six friendly-looking people in different parts of the audience and look them in the eye as you speak. Think of them as friends you haven’t seen in a year, whom you’re bringing up to date on your work. That eye contact is incredibly powerful, and it will do more than anything else to help your talk land. Even if you don’t have time to prepare fully and have to read from a script, looking up and making eye contact will make a huge difference.

Another big hurdle for inexperienced speakers is nervousness—both in advance of the talk and while they’re onstage. People deal with this in different ways. Many speakers stay out in the audience until the moment they go on; this can work well, because keeping your mind engaged in the earlier speakers can distract you and limit nervousness. Amy Cuddy, a Harvard Business School professor who studies how certain body poses can affect power, utilized one of the more unusual preparation techniques I’ve seen. She recommends that people spend time before a talk striding around, standing tall, and extending their bodies; these poses make you feel more powerful. It’s what she did before going onstage, and she delivered a phenomenal talk. But I think the single best advice is simply to breathe deeply before you go onstage. It works.

In general, people worry too much about nervousness. Nerves are not a disaster. The audienceexpects you to be nervous. It’s a natural body response that can actually improve your performance: It gives you energy to perform and keeps your mind sharp. Just keep breathing, and you’ll be fine.

 

Acknowledging nervousness can also create engagement. Showing your vulnerability, whether through nerves or tone of voice, is one of the most powerful ways to win over an audience, provided it is authentic. Susan Cain, who wrote a book about introverts and spoke at our 2012 conference, was terrified about giving her talk. You could feel her fragility onstage, and it created this dynamic where the audience was rooting for her—everybody wanted to hug her afterward. The fact that we knew she was fighting to keep herself up there made it beautiful, and it was the most popular talk that year.

Plan the Multimedia

With so much technology at our disposal, it may feel almost mandatory to use, at a minimum, presentation slides. By now most people have heard the advice about PowerPoint: Keep it simple; don’t use a slide deck as a substitute for notes (by, say, listing the bullet points you’ll discuss—those are best put on note cards); and don’t repeat out loud words that are on the slide. Not only is reciting slides a variation of the teleprompter problem—“Oh, no, she’s reading to us, too!”—but information is interesting only once, and hearing and seeing the same words feels repetitive. That advice may seem universal by now, but go into any company and you’ll see presenters violating it every day.

Many of the best TED speakers don’t use slides at all, and many talks don’t require them. If you have photographs or illustrations that make the topic come alive, then yes, show them. If not, consider doing without, at least for some parts of the presentation. And if you’re going to use slides, it’s worth exploring alternatives to PowerPoint. For instance, TED has invested in the company Prezi, which makes presentation software that offers a camera’s-eye view of a two-dimensional landscape. Instead of a flat sequence of images, you can move around the landscape and zoom in to it if need be. Used properly, such techniques can dramatically boost the visual punch of a talk and enhance its meaning.

Artists, architects, photographers, and designers have the best opportunity to use visuals. Slides can help frame and pace a talk and help speakers avoid getting lost in jargon or overly intellectual language. (Art can be hard to talk about—better to experience it visually.) I’ve seen great presentations in which the artist or designer put slides on an automatic timer so that the image changed every 15 seconds. I’ve also seen presenters give a talk accompanied by video, speaking along to it. That can help sustain momentum. The industrial designer Ross Lovegrove’s highly visual TED Talk, for instance, used this technique to bring the audience along on a remarkable creative journey.

Another approach creative types might consider is to build silence into their talks, and just let the work speak for itself. The kinetic sculptor Reuben Margolin used that approach to powerful effect. The idea is not to think “I’m giving a talk.” Instead, think “I want to give this audience a powerful experience of my work.” The single worst thing artists and architects can do is to retreat into abstract or conceptual language.

Video has obvious uses for many speakers. In a TED Talk about the intelligence of crows, for instance, the scientist showed a clip of a crow bending a hook to fish a piece of food out of a tube—essentially creating a tool. It illustrated his point far better than anything he could have said.

Used well, video can be very effective, but there are common mistakes that should be avoided. A clip needs to be short—if it’s more than 60 seconds, you risk losing people. Don’t use videos—particularly corporate ones—that sound self-promotional or like infomercials; people are conditioned to tune those out. Anything with a soundtrack can be dangerously off-putting. And whatever you do, don’t show a clip of yourself being interviewed on, say, CNN. I’ve seen speakers do this, and it’s a really bad idea—no one wants to go along with you on your ego trip. The people in your audience are already listening to you live; why would they want to simultaneously watch your talking-head clip on a screen?

Putting It Together

We start helping speakers prepare their talks six months (or more) in advance so that they’ll have plenty of time to practice. We want people’s talks to be in final form at least a month before the event. The more practice they can do in the final weeks, the better off they’ll be. Ideally, they’ll practice the talk on their own and in front of an audience.

The tricky part about rehearsing a presentation in front of other people is that they will feel obligated to offer feedback and constructive criticism. Often the feedback from different people will vary or directly conflict. This can be confusing or even paralyzing, which is why it’s important to be choosy about the people you use as a test audience, and whom you invite to offer feedback. In general, the more experience a person has as a presenter, the better the criticism he or she can offer.

I learned many of these lessons myself in 2011. My colleague Bruno Giussani, who curates our TEDGlobal event, pointed out that although I’d worked at TED for nine years, served as the emcee at our conferences, and introduced many of the speakers, I’d never actually given a TED Talk myself. So he invited me to give one, and I accepted.

It was more stressful than I’d expected. Even though I spend time helping others frame their stories, framing my own in a way that felt compelling was difficult. I decided to memorize my presentation, which was about how web video powers global innovation, and that was really hard: Even though I was putting in a lot of hours, and getting sound advice from my colleagues, I definitely hit a point where I didn’t quite have it down and began to doubt I ever would. I really thought I might bomb. I was nervous right up until the moment I took the stage. But it ended up going fine. It’s definitely not one of the all-time great TED Talks, but it got a positive reaction—and I survived the stress of going through it.

Ultimately I learned firsthand what our speakers have been discovering for three decades: Presentations rise or fall on the quality of the idea, the narrative, and the passion of the speaker. It’s about substance, not speaking style or multimedia pyrotechnics. It’s fairly easy to “coach out” the problems in a talk, but there’s no way to “coach in” the basic story—the presenter has to have the raw material. If you have something to say, you can build a great talk. But if the central theme isn’t there, you’re better off not speaking. Decline the invitation. Go back to work, and wait until you have a compelling idea that’s really worth sharing.

10 Ways to Ruin a Presentation

As hard as it may be to give a great talk, it’s really easy to blow it. Here are some common mistakes that TED advises its speakers to avoid.

1. Take a really long time to explain what your talk is about.
2. Speak slowly and dramatically. Why talk when you can orate?
3. Make sure you subtly let everyone know how important you are.
4. Refer to your book repeatedly. Even better, quote yourself from it.
5. Cram your slides with numerous text bullet points and multiple fonts.
6. Use lots of unexplained technical jargon to make yourself sound smart.
7. Speak at great length about the history of your organization and its glorious achievements.
8. Don’t bother rehearsing to check how long your talk is running.
9. Sound as if you’re reciting your talk from memory.
10. Never, ever make eye contact with anyone in the audience.

 

The single most important thing to remember is that there is no one good way to do a talk. The most memorable talks offer something fresh, something no one has seen before. The worst ones are those that feel formulaic. So do not on any account try to emulate every piece of advice I’ve offered here. Take the bulk of it on board, sure. But make the talk your own. You know what’s distinctive about you and your idea. Play to your strengths and give a talk that is truly authentic to you.

译者访谈:走进简体中文翻译志愿者Amy Pain的TED世界

很多朋友也许都参与过TED翻译计划,想必也都有一些有趣的经历。我们将从本周开始不定期发布TED中文译者访谈,希望大家可以通过译者的眼睛更多的去了解TED和TED带给很多朋友的改变。

假如您有一些有趣的TED故事,也欢迎您给我们发邮件,我们会根据情况与您进行联系采访。

本期的TEDtoChina译者访谈的采访对象是Amy Pain, 她是来自湖南的TED粉丝,通过一次很意外的经历,发现了TED,并且马上深深的喜欢上这个网站,请看Amy Pain的故事:

TEDtoChina: 可否简单介绍你的人生经历

Amy: 出生于湖南华容,今年大学毕业,玩过一段时间乐队,目前是无业游民。

TEDtoChina: 你如何发现TED,以及开始翻译TED短片?

Amy: 大概是09年三月份时,我在为做课堂上的presentation找资料,因为热爱美食,便打算做个与食物相关的主题。当时同几个外国朋友聊天时,他们说美国的中餐馆里都有Fortune cookies,但到中国来了却没有,我还挺纳闷怎么自己从来没有听说过Fortune cookies,这是中国的吗?后来Google了一下,发现了一本叫做 The Fortune Cookie Chronicles的书,作者是Jennifer 8. Lee(这里是一个中文介绍)。顺便搜索作者的信息,发现了她在TED上的一个视频 Jennifer 8. Lee hunts for General Tso 看完之后,感慨万千。觉得很简单的事情里头,都隐藏着许多有趣的不为人知的故事;世上大多讲究实用主义的人可能对这些没有实际意义的探究不屑一顾,但正是有了那些“费力不讨好”的人的存在,我们才能更多的得知世界的神奇。同样,以好奇心为导向的科学研究,从短期上来看可能不会带来什么经济效益,但从长远来看,它带来的社会经济效益是无穷的。

我看完这个视频后,接着浏览了一下TED的网站,就像发现了一个宝藏一样的欣喜若狂:原来有这么多的人以他们的方式做着少有人做的事,走着少有人走的路,我也受到了鼓舞,要去坚守自己所相信的。当时我就萌生了一个想法,我要把这些视频翻译成中文,同更多人分享。但这只是想法而已,我什么都没有做。接着,神奇的事情发生了,09 年5月14日那天,TED开启了 Open Translation Project, 那天正好是我生日,我就觉得冥冥之中我的想法成为现实了,翻译TED之路就此开始了。

TEDtoChina: 在你翻译的过程中,有否什么有趣的事情?难忘的事情?哪一个影片对你影响深远或是有所启发?

Amy: 最难忘的事应该就是我翻译第一个视频。当时我还什么都不会,完全搞不清楚状况,一步步的注册啊之类的弄了很久。我翻译的第一篇就是Jennifer 8. Lee hunts for General Tso,我记得,我从下午二点钟开始一直弄到凌晨三点钟,完全心无旁骛的在翻译,我还从没有这么投入这么认真的做过什么事,把我的室友都吓到了,以为我受到什么打击了。好不容易弄完了,一看,dotSUB的系统似乎出了什么问题,有三成的翻译都没有保存下来(话说到了现在也还时不时的出现这种问题),当时我的失望可想而知,可没有办法,只能重新翻译那些没有保存下来的,一直弄到早上5点才完工。虽然累坏了,但心情无比激动,有一种自己终于做了点什么事情的愉悦感~

有很多视频都对我有所启发和影响,在观看及翻译过程中,我经常会不自觉的被演讲者的激情所感染,被他们的机智所折服,让我进一步反思自己的人生。时常苦恼着自己究竟要过怎样的生活,过“正常”的让所有人都满意的人生,或是过自己想要过而其他人都反对的人生?这对于许多人来说,都是个永恒的无解题。但看到TED讲台上热情洋溢激情四射的演讲者时,我想我已经找到了答案。

TEDtoChina: 你的翻译心得,以及在翻译过程中,有没有什么想法要和大家分享一下?

Amy: 我刚开始翻译时,总是想要一下子就把一个视频翻译完,所以总会一次花一个下午或晚上专心的翻译,有种莫名的急迫感,时有笔误的情况出现。但这样子一下子翻译完一整篇是很耗费体力和脑力的事情,过不了多久我就产生惰性了,就会很长一段时间不想翻译。后来我强迫自己把整篇分成几个部分,每次翻译一部分,慢慢来就好了。这样我就可以静下心来,慢慢的思考,遣词造句,尽量把原文的思想情感用中文表达出来。

我觉得TED视频的翻译同一般材料的翻译不同,口语化风格较大,自由度较高,翻译时不要死抠原文字眼不放,要适度的采用意译的方式,调整好字幕的语序,使之更方便中国人的阅读习惯。特别是有些专有名词如果不清楚的话一定要去查,不能望文生义。

TEDtoChina: 请您谈谈您对TED在大学生群体的影响

Amy: 我不清楚TED现在对大学生的影响,也许是因为我周围这一块还很少有人知道TED. 但我相信,TED会给大学生带来很多有益的影响,让他们视野更开阔,思想更活跃,也许能让湖南大学生用更冷静更客观的态度来评价自己的“热血青年”传统。 我们需要一起努力,把TED向整个中文社区推广,影响更多人。

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