5 ways to drive your point home

Tuesday’s teaching tip is from the book Talk Like Ted. It is a compilation of the techniques used by the most effective TED Talk presenters. Today’s tip is about how to create what the author calls a “holy smokes” moment (p.148) – one where the audience’s jaw drops. He says you can create that moment in 5 different ways:

  1. Props and Demos – We’ve known for a long time that people like to see a good object lesson. Church is no different. The people in our groups are drawn to the use of props or a clever demonstration of some kind by the person doing the presenting. Jesus was a master at using the props available to him: a little child, a field white unto harvest, coins dropped into the temple treasury by a widow, a coin in a fish’s mouth, and a withered fig tree – these are just a few of the objects Christ used to make his point when teaching. What’s the last prop you used?
  2. Unexpected and shocking statistics – “In 1972 there were 300,000 people in jail. Today, there are over 2.3 million. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world.” This kind of shocking statistic can catch the attention of your audience.
  3. Pictures, Images, and Videos – It’s not an accident that LifeWay’s major curriculum lines have Leader Packs chocked full of visually engaging posters, maps, and timelines. TED Talk presenters who are known for capturing the imaginations of the audience always find a way to use something visual to create that great “aha” moment.
  4. Memorable Headlines – These are short soundbites that are repeatable, tweetable, and memorable. “We will get wooly mammoths back,” said one TED Talk presenter. If you want to see some of the best quotes from TED Talk presenters, go to TED.com/quotes to read more than 2000 great quotes that captured people’s attention.
  5. Personal Stories – Jesus told short stories that had a single point – parables. TED Talk presenters, at least the best ones, all incorporate a personal story into their 20 minute routine. “Great communicators are great storytellers” says the author of Talk Like Ted, Carmine Gallo (p.155).

Which of the 5 ways TED Talk presenters capture their audience members’ attention will you use the next time you teach?


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