How do I get on the TED stage

Politics & Communication

Former US President Bill Clinton did it, as did celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and U2 singer Bono: All three of them gave a short, informative lecture with entertainment value, a so-called Ted Talk, on the stage of the Ted Conference. The three letters TED stand for technology, entertainment and design and are originally the name of a California innovation conference. The range of topics in the successful format, in which videos of the best short presentations are posted online, has now expanded and also includes science, culture and business topics. In addition, global offshoots have emerged, the "Tedx Conferences", which are also becoming more popular in Germany.

With "Inspiring! Communicating in the TED style", executive developer Frank Edelkraut and Stephan Balzer, media consultant and organizer of German Ted conferences, now present a guide that deals with the special presentation style of the conference speakers. The aim is to provide tips on how presentations and speeches in a company context can be spiced up in this way.

The explanations on the subject of storytelling were successful. "Maybe stories are just data with a soul" is a nice quote from Ted talker Brené Brown. After all, we learn from stories whose structure and presentation are the basis of the format.

The ten "Ted Commandments" are also:

1 .: Dream big.

2 .: Show us your true colors.

3 .: Make the complicated easy.

4: Use people's emotions.

5th: Don't stroke your ego.

6 .: No sale of the stage.

7 .: Feel free to comment on other posts.

8 .: Don't read your talk.

9 .: Get done on time.

10 .: Rehearse your talk.

These tips are further elaborated, plus there is further practical advice, for example that a speaker should commit himself to a maximum of three content-related points and delete everything that goes beyond them.

Unfortunately, there is too much detailed information in the book. What is offered is a somewhat chaotic hodgepodge of general Ted rules, tips from the two authors and quoted advice from others. Some case studies from companies on the experience of Ted-style talks are presented in a yawning boring manner, the information on the respective organization in front is partly promotional. Right at the beginning, the details that are of no interest to outsiders are presented here, but we advise against mentioning them in the rest of the guide.

The numerous spelling and separation errors are really annoying (there are five of them on the spine of the book alone). The layout also leaves a lot to be desired. Adding some visual impressions of speakers and conferences to the pages is a good idea in and of itself. Unfortunately, the black and white printed photos are sometimes so dark that you can hardly see anything.

It is essential to have a device with Internet access ready for reading, as references are made again and again to individual video clips, the contents of which are important for further understanding. In addition, a good command of English is urgently required, as longer quotations, text examples and transcriptions are not translated.


The book is based on an excellent idea - in fact, many corporate speeches, presentations and events could use a little more "Ted style". Only: Unfortunately, the authors did not take into account this style, which stands for in-depth but concise and entertaining information, when writing their tips themselves.

Cover: SpringerGabler

Frank Edelkraut, Stephan Balzer: Inspiring! Communicate in the TED style. Springer Gabler 2016, 193 pages, 34.99 euros