Learn from TED Live, featuring Bryan Stevenson

Our heads are still spinning from last week’s TED Live conference (we streamed it live into our headquarters all week and took down tons of teaching points and notes).

What does that mean to you? You’ll get applicable bits of TED to learn from – we’ll be sharing highlights from the four days of jaw-dropping, eye-popping, tear-welling, mind-blowing, gut-busting, breath-catching, heart-moving talks for many posts to come. Here’s the first:

Bryan Stevenson: The Change Agent (Click here for Bryan’s entire TED Talk)

Bryan Stevenson human rights lawyer TED talk

Bryan Stevenson, a human rights lawyer, built an incredible rapport with the audience almost immediately and was able to challenge them to change. Here’s how he did it:

Personal connection: He gained trust right off the bat by telling a personal story of his grandmother. That vulnerability goes a long way – remember that people are buying off on you, personally, not just your content. And by gaining our trust, we’re more likely to take action on the change he’s asking us to make.

Passion: He was polished, but more importantly, he didn’t let that polish gloss over his passion. He showed it in his actions and spoke about it in words like, “Each of us is more than the worse thing we’ve ever done. If somebody tells a lie, they’re not just a liar. If someone takes something that does not belong to them, they’re not just a thief.”

Point Of View: He clearly stated a bold Point Of View directly to the TED audience calling them to be brave and find ways to embrace challenges and suffering. He moved us toward action, rather than just giving an informative talk on injustice. Watch the video clip below to see how he did it.

So, what can you do?

  1. When you’re next speaking, think of a story and anchor it to your main point. A story that shines light on who you are will not only build a connection with your audience, but it will also be memorable. Your message needs to last longer than the length of your meeting.
  2. Of course you need to come across confident, credible, and polished to your audience. But like Bryan, don’t let that take away from your passion. Prepare beforehand, but let some of that extemporaneous real personality shine through, too. Your authentic passion is what inspires an audience.
  3. Ask yourself when you’re crafting your next message, “What is the biggest change my audience needs to make? What’s the one thing I want them to walk out of the room with?” Give them direction from the start, and then make your case with all your facts and figures.

When you watch Bryan’s whole talk, please share. What else did you learn? Have any other talks inspired you recently? We highly recommend you take a little time and watch some (they’re 20-ish minutes each, and well worth the time – here’s the link for TED.com).

3 comments on “Learn from TED Live, featuring Bryan Stevenson

  1. Very moving. It was interesting to watch him as you knew that his beliefs were emotional but he was able to draw you in to see his point of view both logically and emotionally.

  2. Incredible message. Bryan has challenged some of my long-held beliefs. It demonstrates how you can take a strong position on a tough topic and do it in a conversational way. Thanks for sharing this.