Unlock the secrets to why TED Talks are irresistible: Talk #2 Amy Cuddy

Ever wondered what it is that makes TED Talks so captivating, so easy to watch and so thought provoking? Ever watched a specific TED Talk and been interested to get under the hood and figure out how it was pulled together and why it works so well?

Personally, these are things that have always fascinated me. One of my favourites is Amy Cuddy’s – ‘Your body language may shape who you are’. I remember coming across it years ago and was really impressed by what she shared and motivated to try what she was recommending.

Also, as it’s one that has been viewed more than 50 million times, I wanted to analyse it in more detail and figure out why it was so popular and so compelling to watch. Essentially, I wanted to know, if I unpack her talk, what does it look like? What does she do really well? What could I take away as learnings? For not only myself, but also for my clients.

So, in this article, I have reverse engineered what her objective was, the structure of her presentation and broken down the Top 5 things she does really well and how she structured her talk. I hope you find this as interesting to read as I did pulling it together!

 

WHAT WERE THE TOP 5 SECRETS OF HER TALK?

1. VALUE PROPOSITION

She starts off with a very BOLD value proposition for her talk, which really captures your interest.

 

“So I want to start by offering you a free no-tech life hack and all it requires of you is this – that you change your posture for 2 minutes….. and I’m hoping if you could learn to tweak this a little bit, it could significantly change the way your life unfolds”

2. AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

She gets the audience involved in an exercise right at the start, in a way that people watching the recorded version can follow along with too.

 

“I want to ask you right now, to do a little audit of your body and what you’re doing with your body. So how many of you are making yourselves smaller? Maybe you’re hunching, crossing your arms, maybe wrapping your ankles. Sometimes we hold onto our arms, sometimes we spread out. So, I want you to pay attention to what you’re doing right now. We’re going to come back to that in a few minutes”

3. SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENTS

She shares details of interesting research and scientific experiments. These are more powerful than simple facts and figures because they tell a story of cause and effect.

4. PERSONAL VULNERABILITY

She tells stories from her personal life, which require her to be vulnerable and this in turn makes her relatable

5. CLEAR CALL TO ACTION

Throughout her talk, she makes it very clear what she’s recommending you do as a course of action after you listen to her talk. That is, she clarifies not only what she’s asking of us, but she clarifies in which instances we’d do this and for what value.

 

WHAT WAS HER PRIMARY OBJECTIVE?

I believe what she wanted to achieve was to: Get anybody to power-pose, to improve how they behave in stressful situations.

WHAT WAS THE STRUCTURE OF HER TALK?

As you can see, she starts off strong with an exercise and a promise of the value you’ll get out of her talk. Across a basic chunked structure, she then incrementally lays out the evidence for why her recommendation will deliver the value she’s proposed. Finally she closes strong with a concise summary of her whole talk and a very clear call to action.

  • Opening: She explains the value of her talk. She gets the audience involved with an exercise, to experience what she’s talking about.
  • Part #1 – She shows how important non-verbal communication is to how we’re perceived by others, but also to how we perceive ourselves.
  • Part #2 – She proves that our bodies affect our minds, that our minds then change our behaviour, which in turn can affect our outcomes.
  • Part #3 – She introduces the concept of power posing and shares its practical benefits.
  • Closing: She reiterates what she’s asking people to do, when specifically they should do it and why.

I hope this provides you with some interesting insights into why Amy’s talk is so effective and that you have some techniques you can replicate in your own talks too.

If you’re interested to watch her full TED Talk, you can watch it here.

Did this Article resonate with you? Let me know what you think in the comments.

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www.emilyedgeley.com