06/01/2022 The Difference Between Ted Talks & Business Presentations

Laura Geri

Ted Talk

Recently I was asked what are the fundamental differences between Ted talks and business presentations. I will point out the differences and the similarities because being aware of both will help improve your presentation skills. 
Teds are not the same as business presentations in that they are structured to provide a message in an entertaining setting:

1. More of a spectacle – The speaker is on a stage, standing on a red circle, lit up by stage lights, while the audience is usually in darkness.

2. The speaker is physically separated from the audience, so a Ted talk is not structured as an open discussion but is more of a performance that feels like a conversation. In business settings, on the other hand, the speaker is usually closer to the audience and interruptions and questions are more often the norm.

3. For a Ted talk the text itself is structured and rarely flexible or impromptu unlike presentations in business settings where the speaker must be flexible, prepared for changes, and interruptions, especially if top management is in the audience. 

4. Teds tend to be more emotional and the call to action can be “bigger” more dramatic. In business, the presenter must be more realistic and practical. 

And now for the fundamental similarities:

1. Presentation for both business and Ted talks must have value for the audience. 

2. Both must be clear, concise and coherent with one main message. 

3. Both should be structured so that the message is easily understood and retained. 

4. And finally both Teds and business presentations should be persuasive and wherever possible, entertaining.  How? By including relevant stories, examples, metaphors, demos, slides etc.

Choose the elements that suit your event, and you will give the right presentation at the right time. 

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