Talk like Ted

Book review: Talk like Ted by Carmine Gallo

Welcome back to PowerPoint Training Online. For this week’s article we are going to do something a little different. We are going to do a book review. The book in question is Talk like Ted by Carmine Gallo. This book is brilliant and it is for that reason that we decided to do this book review. I wanted to share it with you all. It is one of those books that I go to when I have an important talk or presentation to deliver.

Talk like Ted is not about some guy called Ted and how you can talk like him. Talk like Ted is a book about Ted Talks, the world famous online platform that spreads ideas by means of short talks. If you can speak like Ted you can handle any presentation no matter how big or small. 

What makes this book really good is that the author Carmine walks you through each of the nine steps by using facts, science, stories and examples from actual Ted Talks.

My personal favourite being the time Bill Gates releases mosquitoes into the audience saying “why should only the poor have all the fun”.

Not only does this make for an enjoyable read but I also feel that it backs up most of the point that Carmine makes. 

I have come out of this book learning a lot more than I usually would. All through the process of stories and humour. A good make up for any form of presentation.

You can buy Talk like Ted from all good book sellers, I have included an Amazon link just below.

Buy Talk like Ted

What is Talk like Ted” about

Talk like Ted is a book about delivering a message. More specifically it is about delivering a message on a specific platform, the presentation. Yes, Ted is referenced a lot within the book but the main concept of Ted is to deliver a message to the audience, whether they be in front of you or thousands of miles away watching you on YouTube.

The author uses the Ted platform to show you how the experts do it. Because that is what he wants you to become.He has analysed multiple TedTalks over the years and breaks it down for you into nine key areas. We have outlined these below.

This book will make you smile, it will make you believe you can too and it will also leave you feeling confident that it is not really that hard.

The author breaks the book down into what he calls “the 9 public speaking secrets”. You can find a full list of these below. I have also provided a rough summary as to what the author meant by each of the 9 public speaking secrets. 

1. Unleash the master within

Identify your unique connection to the topic. Passion leads to mastery. You need to remember that your passion may not always be obvious to you or others. When you show mastery and passion, this can lead to a better chance to persuade and inspire listeners

2. Master the act of storytelling

Stories reach people’s hearts and minds. Stories stimulate and engage the human brain. There are brain scans that can prove this.

3. Have a conversation

Practice so much that you can deliver the presentation as if it was just a conversation. Voice gestures and body language must match your words, people will distrust you otherwise. 

4. Teach me something new

Reveal information that is completely new, packaged a different way or offers a new way to solve an old problem. A familiar, unusual or unexpected element can jolt listeners out of preconceived notions.

5. Deliver jaw dropping moments

Jaw dropping moments create emotionally charged events, very emotional events that an audience is more likely to remember.

6. Lighten up

Give your audience something to smile about. Humour lowers defenses, people will be more receptive. Humour also makes you seem more likeable. 

7. Stick to the 18 minute rule

Too much information prevents successful transmission of ideas (use the power of 3 rule to keep it simple).

8. Paint a mental picture with multisensory experiences

Utilize more than one of the senses – sight, sound, touch, taste or smell. It is harder to be bored with awesome images, videos or intriguing props such as a brain.

9. Stay in your lane

Be authentic, open and transparent. Fake people will not be trusted by the listeners.

What jumped out to me in Talk like Ted

When I read a book like this, I always like to underline sentences, mark paragraphs or save pages. Here is everything in Talk like Ted that said something to me and made me feel like it was important.

Please note that the following are excerpts from the book, these are not my own words. Just words that I have marked as important.

What I underlined

  • Keep your talk short, use stories as they are a more powerful way of connecting emotionally with your audience.
  • Inspire listeners by expressing enthusiasm, passion and a meaningful connection to your topic.
  • Melissa Cardon – “If you’re starting a company in an area that you think will make you rich, but don’t enjoy the product, industry or anything about it – that’s a mistake”.
  • If you want to help someone, shut up and listen.
  • No technique is 100% but telling personal stories comes close.
  • I’m not going to get stuck on a no, I know a yes is coming.
  • Storytelling should be part of every discussion intended to persuade a listener to back your idea – Whether it is a formal presentation or a casual conversation.
  • A leader who fails to instil confidence among his subordinates during hundreds of every day actions will lose the loyalty of his troops when it really matters.
  • Great presenters have animated body movements, they do not stay in one spot or look motionless. Standing absolutely still makes you appear rigid and disengaged.
  • Reveal information that is completely new, packaged differently or offers a fresh and novel way to solve an old problem to your audience.
  • Researchers have discovered that “Cognitive backlog”, too much information, prevents the successful transmission of ideas.
  • A constrained presentation is often more inspiring, creative and engaging than longer, meandering presentations that are boring, confusing and convoluted.
  • Multimodal learning – pictures are processed in several channels instead of one, giving the brain a far deeper and meaningful encoding experience.
  • Maya Angelou once said “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
  • Work is not separate from play and play is not separate from work, it’s all living – Richard Branson 


This was a very interesting read. One I am very glad I took the time to enjoy. Even a few years after I have read it, I still go back to it. There are just so many good ideas and helpful tips in it. 

I simply cannot recommend it enough.

Buy Talk like Ted

Thank you for taking the time to join us today. Now I would really love to hear your thoughts. Did you read this book? Do you plan on reading it? You can join the conversation below or check or join us on Twitter

If you want to read more, you can check out our blog. And if you want to learn something new make sure you check out our tutorials page. We have great tutorials on how to use all the features in PowerPoint. We also show you how to create custom graphic content to help you brighten up your slides.

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Till next time folks, 


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