Top 9 TEDx Talks Every Virtual Speaker Should Watch

Public speaking whether in-person or online is an art. Many people can do it, but there are only some who can do it really well. There are several principles about public speaking that can be learned from books, mentors, and teachers as well as various speakers from TEDx Talks.

What Is a TEDx Talk?

A TEDx Talk is where speakers can present great, well-thought ideas in under 18 minutes. Ideas are given in less than 18 minutes because it only demands the audience’s short attention span which decreases the possibility of the audience to daydream or lose focus. Some TEDx Talks can even be as short as 5 minutes.

TEDx logo

What’s unique about TEDx Talks is that the speakers present new and surprising ideas or a basic idea with a new argument that goes against people’s usual perspectives and beliefs. Speakers don’t just give facts or information. They show evidence, observations, and present a memorable conclusion. Speakers talk about various topics such as business, social media, self-control, health, brands, business, technology, community, creativity, feminism, relationships, and more.

Seven Types of TEDx Talks

TEDx Talk speakers usually present about different kinds of topics. There are seven different types of TEDx Talks.

1. The Big Idea

The kind of talk where speakers give 1-2 important and strong points.

2. The Tech Demo

In this talk, speakers give the audience a look at a new invention that the speaker was part of inventing.

3. The Performance

Presenters play music, dance, and do some other performances that captivate their  audience.

4. The Artist’s Statement

In this kind of talk, artists show their art and talk about the process behind their artworks.

5. The “Dazzle with Wonder”

In this talk, speakers engagingly talk about a very interesting topic.

6. The Small Idea

This talk is about a very engaging take on a very interesting topic.

7. The “Issue” Talk

Here speakers show their audience an issue that they may not be aware about. 

Top 9 TEDx Talks Every Virtual Speaker Should Watch

Now that you know what a TEDx Talk is, here’s a list of the top 9 TEDx Talks that every virtual speaker should watch.

1. TED’s Secret to Great Public Speaking by Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson: TED's secret to great public speaking | TED Talk

After a long career in publishing and journalism, Chris Anderson became the Curator of TED. He was born in a village in Pakistan in 1957 and spent his early years in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

After boarding school in Bath, England, he went to Oxford University and graduated in 1978 with a degree in philosophy, economics, and politics. He trained as a journalist, working in newspapers and radio, and produced a world news service.

In 1984, Chris founded Future Publishing focusing on specialist computer publications which eventually expanded to other areas of music, cycling, technology, and video games. He then moved to the United States and built Imagine Media, the publisher of Business 2.0 magazine and creator of the popular video game users website IGN.

Chris merged both Imagine Media and Future Publishing under the name of future. Chris then created a private nonprofit organization, Sapling Foundation, with the desire to find ways of tackling global issues through media and technology. The foundation acquired TED Conference which led the conference to cover all topics such as science, business, key global issues, and more.

TED became a place for people to share their ideas and work and have engaging conversations. In 2006, TED posted its talks on the internet and they were able to achieve viral success. TEDx Talks are free to watch and have been translated into more than a hundred languages.

Views of TEDx Talks has reached one billion views per year. In 2009, TEDx allowed free licenses to organizers who wanted to organize their own TED- like events. Years later, the TED-ED program was launched which offered free educational videos and tools to students and teachers.

In this talk, Chris Anderson talks about great public speaking not having any formula, but having 4 ways to make it work for you. As a speaker, it’s your task to build an idea in your audience’s mind. How can you do that? According to Chris, first, limit your talk to just one idea. Second, give your listeners a reason to care. Third, build your idea, piece by piece, from concepts that your audience already knows and understands. Fourth, make your idea worth sharing.

2. How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek speaking

Simon Sinek is an ethnographer by training. He writes and comments for major publications and teaches strategic communications to graduate students at Columbia University.

Amazed by how leaders, companies, and politicians make a big impact in the world, Simon Sinek discovered patterns in how they think, act, and communicate with others.

In this talk, Simon explains about his idea of the Golden Circle which is a natural pattern of how some people, leaders, messages, and organizations inspire men more than others.

3. The Secret Structure of Great Talks by Nancy Duarte

Nancy Duatte giving a talk

Nancy Duarte is an expert when it comes to presentation design. She is principal of Duarte Design and has been its CEO for 21 years. She continues to speak all around the world to improve the impact of public presentations.

She is the author of Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations as well as Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences and the HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations

In this presentation, Nancy talks about what she has learned in her decades of studying about how the world’s most powerful speakers present their ideas.

She talks about how to engage with your audience, make your presentation relatable, how to motivate listeners, and how to make an effective call-to-action.

4. How to Speak so That People Want to Listen by Julian Treasure

Julian Treasure giving a talk

Julian Treasure is the chair of Sound Agency, an agency that helps businesses on how to design sound in their communication and physical spaces.

Treasure is the author of the book Sound Business which is about effective use of sound in every area of business. In his book, How to be Heard: Secrets for Powerful Speaking and Listening, he gives exercises on how to improve communication skills as well as a vision for a world of effective speaking, conscious listening and understanding.

In his presentation, Julian Treasure, talks about speaking in a powerful way to people who listen consciously in the environment for a purpose. 

5. How to Avoid Death by Powerpoint by David JP Phillips

David Phillips giving a talk

With deep knowledge and passion for making presentations, David Phillips has become the leading Swedish speaker when it comes to the art of making presentations.

He is the founder and owner of Sweden’s largest resource on presentations: He is also author of the book "How To Avoid Death By PowerPoint" which has been published in more than 30 countries.

In his talk, David Phillips reminds us that powerpoints are just visual aids and that we are the presentation. He says that death by Powerpoint is caused by poor presentation skills and the wrong use of digital software.

6. How to Speak With Impact by Peter Hopwood

Peter Hopwood giving a talk

Peter is a presence and communications coach, pitch & public speaking trainer, and conference host at Hopwood Communications. He helps companies, professionals, startups, and high performers to communicate well with impact.

In this talk, Peter gives top tips and tricks about how to speak with impact and bring value to your audience. 

7. Talk Nerdy to Me by Melissa Marshall

Melissa Marshall giving a talk

Melissa Marshall believes in using effective side design in scientific presentations. According to her, the future depends on the innovations of scientists and engineers.

She has a passion for helping them be able to effectively communicate their work. Melissa is a faculty member of the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State University. 

She teaches speaking skills to engineering students and has lectured at Harvard Medical School, the New York Academy of Sciences, Cornell University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

She is the co-founder as well as the advisor for the Penn State Engineering Ambassadors. She is an organizer and advisor for TEDxPSU which is a TEDx event held at Penn State annually.

In this 4-minute talk, Melissa gives great tips on how to present complex scientific ideas to a general audience.

8. The Surprising Secret to Speaking With Confidence by Caroline Goyder

Caroline Goyder giving a talk

Caroline Goyder is a writer and voice coach who has a curiosity about how we can find the courage to speak out.

Caroline is a trained actor and a voice coach at Central School of Speech and Drama where she worked for 10 years. She runs a business that helps people find confidence in life. She is also the author of Gravitas: Communicate with Confidence, Influence and Authority.

In her talk, she explains how voice is an instrument that should be trained, that speakers should believe in themselves, and how to find confidence within to be able to be a good public speaker.

9. How to Sound Smart in Your TEDx Talk by Will Stephen

Will Stephen giving a talk

In this talk Will Stephen, a writer for Saturday Night Live, talks about how speakers can sound smart in their talks even by making gestures, asking questions, giving a personal anecdote, presenting facts and well-made slides, making arguments, and changing your tone that can change the lives of your listeners.

Applying TEDx Talk Lessons From Speakers

I hope that you learned a lot from these TEDx Talks about public speaking. The principles in these presentations can not only be applied in in-person presentations, but in virtual presentations too.

If you will apply the principles that you heard from these speakers, you’ll definitely make good slides and give powerful presentations.

Share this article to your colleagues and let them know how the videos in this article can help them in their virtual speaking engagements.

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