One of my presentation training clients in New York City recently asked me why some TED talks gather millions of views, while others with similar content languish? I did some research. It turns out a human behavior consultancy called “Science of People” set out to answer this question. They asked volunteers to rate hundreds of hours of TED talks, and here are the conclusions they came to:
- The volunteers rated speakers comparably whether the sound was on or not! What does this mean? It means your non-verbal communication matters…. a lot! How you gesture, and the tone of your voice can make or break your speech.
- SOP also found that there is a direct correlation between the number of times a speaker gestures and the number of views the talk gets. This is why Italians make such great speakers! Remember to use bold gestures.
- Keep it loose! People who ad-libbed in their speeches rated higher than those who stayed on script. In addition, vocal variety boosted ratings on charisma and credibility.
- Did you know smiling makes you look smarter? The more TED talkers smiled, the higher their perceived intelligence.
- As we all know, first impressions matter a lot. SOP found that people largely formed their opinion about a speaker based on the first several seconds. So come out blazing!