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18 Minutes of Fame: Making an Unforgettable Impression

Posted by Merry Neitlich on Feb 3, 2015 12:14:27 PM


Lorin has been successfully making presentations to investment bankers for more than a decade. His clients count on him to have up-to-the-minute knowledge on the latest rules and regulations. They also think of him as a brilliant lawyer who truly understands this fast-paced and challenging industry and all of its components.

Like most partners, Lorin has relied on his firm's marketing department to help with the design of his PowerPoint presentations. He has grown comfortable over the years with PowerPoint due to its ease of use and bulleted slides that keep him on track. He also provides his attendees with a sequenced set of information to take home.

Then one of his clients sent him a link to a TED Talk about the secret as to what constituted great leadership. His thinking changed in an instant. Lorin had heard about TED Talks, but didn't know very much about them other than they were known for their brevity and spreading great ideas to stimulate thinking. As Lorin watched the short 15-minute presentation on, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” he realized that he may have stumbled onto something that would allow him to be a real standout at the upcoming conference. He imagined using just 15 to 18 minutes to present the new idea he had about investment banking giving him time for some quick group work so the attendees could figure out how to apply this cutting-edge idea to their own situations and companies.

Lorin searched online for the best TED Talks, and after watching a few, he saw how this type of presentation could apply to any topic or idea. He became smitten with the concept and became determined to learn to how to craft a truly effective TED-style talk.

Here are the top 10 TED-style tips that you can share with the attorneys you work with:

  1. TED Talks are a showcase for speakers presenting well-informed ideas in 18 minutes.
  2. They work well because an audience is good at focusing on one subject at a time in relatively short chunks. Shorter talks are not lesser talks. It may only take minutes to make your point unforgettable.
  3. Be knowledgeable about your topic and have a compelling new argument or viewpoint behind it. Although you do not have to be the world's most foremost expert, you should be an expert on your niche area.
  4. Provide accurate facts, anecdotes and statistics.
  5. The primary goal of your talk is to communicate an idea effectively in a short span of time.
  6. Before preparing for your talk, ask yourself if your idea is something new to your audience and if it will be interesting to them.
  7. Open your talk with a surprising or cool fact that is relevant to the audience.
  8. Structure your talk around stories that contain pockets of information. This will capture your audience and point to why or how your idea can be implemented. You may choose some limited visual assistance, such as a few PowerPoint, Prezi or PowToon slides that can help take your audience on a visual journey. Do not use bulleted slides; rather, use a single focal point such as a graph, a compelling word or phrase, a photograph or other image. These images will connect your words with a visual context.
  9. Memorize and rehearse your presentation for ease of delivery. Practice your talk in front of a mirror and time it. It should be between 15 to 18 minutes.
  10. Remember that laughter is good, and that you are not selling anything.

TED-style talks not only provide a neat and condensed platform to deliver a message, but they create an opportunity for your attorneys’ messages to stand out from the crowd and allow him or her to be more memorable, connecting with the audience on a deeper and more focused level.

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