The Top 3 Secrets That Make Ted Talks So Irresistible

From the very first TED Talk I watched (‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action‘ by Simon Sinek), I was hooked.

I remember being fascinated by how he was able to capture my attention for that long. Then compel me to print off his Golden Circle! Just so I’d have a daily reminder to change my behaviour and “start with why”.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve perhaps asked yourself HOW they do this!

Personally, I’ve watched my favourite TED Talks over and over, decoding what they do well, so I could replicate the same techniques. 

I know they’re a source of inspiration for a lot of you too. In fact, people I coach often say:

“I want my talk to be like a TED Talk”.

So, if you’ve ever thought the same thing too, I wanted to share a few things i’ve learnt about TED Talks (after analysing lots of them).

Here are the Top 3 things I believe TED Talks have in common:


TED Talks Motto is “Ideas worth spreading” (not “Topics worth spreading”). 

Which means they generally don’t go broad and simply talk about topics. They will single out something about that topic they believe in.

They’ll then spend their whole TED Talk sharing & validating that 1 idea.

It’s not a complicated framework, or multiple points about the one topic area.

It’s one digestible tip / idea / action that can be applied straight away.

This is why you generally walk away from a great TED Talk with a clear key message and call to action. It’s why it feels light and inspirational.

Lots of ideas, or directions to go off in can make an audience feel overwhelmed.

Less is definitely more when you’re giving a (verbal) talk.


TED Talks are impressive because they *prove* their idea matters. 

They don’t focus on how to execute the idea. They focus on what you’ll get out of executing that idea. The why.

What you don’t see is complicated how-to training manuals. They don’t spend a lot of time talking about *how* to execute something.

They spend more time validating why that idea is a great idea and why it works or delivers on what they’re saying it does.

Whether it’s with statistics, examples, research, stories, etc.

They make sure you walk away entirely convinced that their idea is a great one. One you want to take action on immediately.

Because that’s what generates excitement! It’s the value we’ll get out of it that’s insanely more compelling than the idea itself.


All of the best TED Talks I’ve seen include stories.

The speakers will share their experience, or a famous story to bring their points to life. Or even a combination of both.

They’re generally vulnerable about what they’ve experienced, where they may have failed and what they learnt.

It makes it so much more interesting and engaging this way. Plus it’s much more memorable too.

I still remember the stories Simon Sinek used in his ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’ TED Talk, that sparked my interest for storytelling about 8 years ago.

That’s also why they don’t need to have slides filled with bullet points. Because the stories are enough. They draw us in. They help us relate.


There’s a lot to love about TED Talks. However, if you study the best ones, you’ll notice certain repeatable techniques.

>They stick to one specific idea (as opposed to a broad topic)

> They focus on why that idea has merit (as opposed to how to execute it)

> They tell stories (rather than sharing lots of discrete information)

So, if you’d like your talks to be more “TED like”, follow these tips! You’ll make your talk worth sharing!

What do you love most about TED Talks? Share with us below!👇


Emily Edgeley is a Public Speaking Coach for the Technology industry. Since 2017 she’s run over 100 group coaching sessions, coached more than 200 people privately, and formally supported first time and experienced speakers at 10 Conferences, covering 1000+ people across the globe. 

She’s on a mission to help anyone in the Tech arena learn how to speak with clarity, impact, and confidence, whether that’s at work or at a Conference. So they can share their ideas, build their brand and start to enjoy ‘public speaking’!