The fifth book in my challenge was recommended to me by Bob Coppedge. Bob is the CEO and founder of Simplex-IT, an IT consulting firm in Hudson, Ohio.

Title: TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking

Author: Chris J. Anderson

Read from January 10 to January 21

I am most likely in the minority on this one: I enjoy public speaking. Whether it’s telling drum corps stories to a group of marching members, speaking to a chamber of commerce, or even announcing an event, I get a thrill out of using my voice (and, I’ll admit it, hearing my voice). Any opportunity I have to pass on information, ideas, and knowledge is one I do not want to miss. While I think I am a good public speaker, however, there is always room for improvement. If there is any organization which would know about public speaking, it would be TED.

TED, which stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design”, started in 1984 as a conference which gave experts in various fields which fell under the above three categories an opportunity to speak about their experiences, their research, and the issues which are important to them. Many of these speeches have “gone viral” on sites like YouTube, as well as on TED’s own website. Chris Anderson, the author of this book, is the curator of TED since 2002. He has worked with many of the TED speakers we have seen and heard, as well as some which we have not because their speeches did not go as well as hoped. Mr. Anderson has experienced for himself what it takes to make a successful TED talk and speech in general.

While there is no set formula for a successful speech, there are certain elements which can make a speech good, if not great. Mr. Anderson reviews each of these elements and gives examples of TED speakers who put them to good use, as well as others who might have benefited from these elements if they had implemented them during their talks. The book lists a number of TED talks which readers can refer to via an included “playlist” for firsthand examples of these elements in action. With the knowledge this book presents combined with these speeches, readers have an excellent opportunity to learn and add to their own speaking and presentation skills.

I would definitely recommend reading this book and reading it more than once. There is A LOT to take away from TED Talks, both the book and the talks themselves, and multiple readings and viewings will ensure that readers gain as much from the material as possible. Even if you’re not a regular public speaker, you will gain from the information this book provides to you.

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