Substance is the New Style

Do you love Ted Talks as much as I do?  I can’t get enough of them. But laughing at things we like (including ourselves) is healthier than an apple a day. If you have to present for your job or have to listen to others present,  we think you will find this parody video of Ted Talks more than amusing.

In the parody, the presenter walks on stage saying, “Walk on stage, walk on stage, walk on stage,” and then begins his talk with “I am a thought leader.  You know that I’m a thought leader because I am wearing a blazer, I have glasses and (gesturing) and I’ve just done this with my hands.” It’s fantastic.  

He uses several legitimate, effective speaking techniques that we teach – he appears confident, moves with purpose, makes great eye contact, varies his voice’s tone, pitch and volume but he has absolutely NOTHING of substance to say.  

In the real world, Ted Talks are wildly successful because of the power of the ideas expressed and how those ideas are framed. The best speakers use metaphors, tell personal stories and use powerful images that help you retain information, but it’s the strength of the message (the “protein” as we say around here) that makes or breaks any presentation.

The bottom line — even if you have Tony Robbin’s charisma or Morgan Freeman’s voice, you can dazzle them for a while. But only for a while. Just like you cannot argue with gravity, we know there is a “First Law of Audiences” – that they are selfish in a very reasonable way.  In our noisy, time-starved world, audiences demand value, and they need you to demonstrate that very quickly.  In the case of the parody video, value delivered!

P.S. Who’s your favorite Ted Talker – Amy Cuddy, Simon Sinek, Jill Bolte Taylor?  My favorite is Brene Brown on the power of vulnerability.  

At The Latimer Group, our individual Coaching services are highly customized and designed to help you achieve your specific goals. Typical engagements focus on developing skill sets in Leadership Communications, Public Speaking, and Executive-Level Business Presentations. To learn more, e-mail us at


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Dan Cooney

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.