TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking | Chris Anderson | Talks at Google

[MUSIC PLAYING] GOPI KALLAYIL: Good afternoon It’s my pleasure, privilege, and honor to welcome, to the Googleplex, Chris Anderson, head of TED and the author of the new book “TED Talks– The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking.” Chris Anderson studied at Oxford And he studied politics, economics, and philosophy, and went on to work in a variety of news media And at that point, goes no indication in his background of, eventually, a career revolving around technology or public speaking In 2001, his foundation acquired a little-known technology conference called TED And over the years, what Chris and his team has done has transformed it one of the most powerful vehicles we know of today for bringing to light compelling ideas that actually change many things in humanity, in society, in our social condition, through short, well-articulated talks by some of the leading thinkers, original thinkers And what Chris and his team have really done through this process is creating this amazing brand that serves up powerful ideas in thousands of videos, on talks that you can see in person, or through digital media, more than a billion views every single year And this has given Chris this amazing opportunity to understand, what is it that makes for a good talk that is well-delivered, well-articulated He’s had the ringside view of watching thousands of them over the years, working with thousands– tens of thousands– of speakers, and drawing, from them, the best of ideas, and presenting it to us And therefore, it is really a privilege and an honor to hear from one of the best purveyors of this art of how to deliver a well-articulated talk, something that intimidates, baffles, mystifies most of us So here to explain how to do it perfectly and get a billion views to each of your own talk, please help me welcome Chris Anderson [APPLAUSE] CHRIS ANDERSON: Thank you Thank you Thank you so much, Gopi Thanks, guys, for coming out As a group of employees, your work is probably as consequential as any group of employees anywhere in the world, so it means a lot that you’ve come out for the next hour or so However, it’s possible some of you are here under a bit of a misapprehension It would be perfectly reasonable to assume that the guy who just published “The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking” would, himself, be a great public speaker So I think I need to start by telling you something that happened in Pakistan a few years ago I went there I gave a talk I was born in Pakistan And so after the talk, I was excited to rush online and see what our countrymen had to say about it, just how enthusiastically they had reacted And this is what I read [LAUGHTER] Ouch Even worse was what happened the first time I stepped onto the TED stage I’m just going to show you a picture from back then If you’re feeling squeamish, please cover your eyes right now Now, believe it or not, this is a man trying to build a natural human connection with his audience while wearing a wrinkled white t-shirt, a dorky haircut, and so nervous he can’t even stand So if we could please agree, I’m actually not a natural public speaker And so of course, in preparing this book, I had to figure out a way of turning this bug into a feature And so my argument became, listen, if this awkward plunker right here can somehow find a way to occasionally give a talk that is semi-effective, everyone can That’s the argument in the book And funnily enough, even this talk, with all its cringe-worthy faults, actually did turn out to be somewhat effective And if I may, I’d just like to tell you what happened that day, because it does go to the heart of what’s in the book and what I want to share with you now So this was 2002 Back then, there were no TED Talks on the internet Ted was this once-a-year private conference And this took place three months after my foundation had bought that conference It was the last conference being hosted by Ted’s founder, Richard Saul Wurman, who’s this charismatic figure His personality really infused every part of TED And I discovered, to my horror, that pretty much the entire TED community assumed that when he went, TED was dead It could not survive him going– reasonable assumption And unfortunately, when you looked at the ticket sales

for the next year, it was clear TED usually sold out a year in advance, 800 passes, no problem At this point, despite my best marketing efforts as the new owner, I had managed to sell a grand total of 70 So I was actually feeling pretty sick about this And I thought I had one chance, one chance only to try and persuade the community to come along And so I took a deep breath, and rolled my chair to the front of the stage, and began making my case And 15 minutes later, when I stopped speaking, three people stood up and started clapping And then suddenly, everyone was standing and clapping And an hour after this talk, 200 people paid the big bucks to by a pass to the next year’s conference And suddenly, I’m like, this is going to be OK What on earth happened? How did that happen? Well, it certainly wasn’t the t-shirt I think there were a few basics that happened So first of all, I used my terror of the occasion as motivation to really prepare for it I knew what I wanted to say, and I spoke from the heart with passion And there was actually, despite– let’s get rid of that, yeah– there was– despite that, there was something of a human connection built through a bit of humor and through a story of a business failure that I’d just been through None of that, though, was the biggest thing I think the biggest thing was this– I think, during that 15 minutes, a strange object germinated and grew inside the minds of everyone listening, an object called an idea In this case, it was the idea that the cross-disciplinary sharing of knowledge that happened at TED actually really mattered It was the key to collaboration and innovation, couldn’t be allowed to die And in fact, I was therefore going to convert TED to a nonprofit, operate it for the public good So that one idea was enough to persuade people that even without a charismatic host, TED was going to be just fine They wanted to be part of TED’s next chapter And so this is the thing, it’s all about the idea Your sole job, really, as a speaker, it’s not to entertain, or tell a story, promote your organization, your cause, whatever It’s to give your audience a gift, a gift in the shape of an idea that you transfer from your mind to theirs, an idea about something that matters Because if you can do that, you are changing their world view You are actually potentially changing who they are, their behavior many years into the future But what is an idea anyway? Well, they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes I mean, really, an idea is anything that changes how you see the world and how you’re going to respond to the world Ideas can be analytical, aesthetic, complex, simple Here are some that have been shared on the TED stage You know, if you could picture these ideas as they physically exist in your mind, they actually probably represent this tangle of literally millions of neurons constructed in a strange pattern And the fact that that entire pattern can be transferred wholesale to people listening in just a few minutes strikes me as a real miracle How on earth can that happen? Well, the truth is it often doesn’t happen very effectively It’s hard for it to happen Most talks are a bust I want to share with you, if I may, a TED Talk I found on the internet In this case, it’s Ted Poe He’s a congressman from Texas And here he is in action [VIDEO PLAYBACK] -It is an honor to once again sponsor this domestic violence awareness month resolution I want to commend Judge Green for working with me on this issue [END PLAYBACK] CHRIS ANDERSON: I mean, one tip that’s not in the book is, if you’re going to give a really dull talk on a really important topic live on television, don’t put your grandson in the row behind you Don’t do that [LAUGHTER] I mean, this poor kid, this kid stands for all of us in much public speaking, right? I mean, whether it’s politics, business, church, university, so much of it is boring And so nothing happens There is no actual communication It’s a kind of tragedy How do you break through that boredom and land an idea in a way that matters? Well, there’s no one way to do it There actually are no rules about this There’s certainly no formula What I think there are are tools that you can pick and choose

from to make the talk that you want And these tools are teachable And if I may, I’d like to show a few of them to you in action So here’s one You don’t have to begin the first few minutes saying how very, very deeply honored you are and thanking everyone in sight You know, it’s nice to do, but for most people in the audience, that’s just not the interesting thing And we are all– as you, of all people, know more than anyone– we’re living in an attention war And you contain, on your laps right now and in your pockets, these dangerous weapons, lethal weapons called smartphones or laptops Once those are out and use, your chance of being effective are gone, you know? So you kind of have to try and grab people from the start I want to show you Maysoon Zayid She’s a comedienne She suffers from cerebral palsy due to a botched medical procedure at birth She walked up onto the TED stage literally shaking and swaying, but she opened her talk this way [VIDEO PLAYBACK] -My name is Maysoon Zayid, and I am not drunk, but the doctor who delivered me was [END PLAYBACK] CHRIS ANDERSON: Boom Right? Brilliant She owned us with a single sentence BJ Miller, from San Francisco, began a talk about redesigning death with a whole lot of life [VIDEO PLAYBACK] -Well, we all need a reason to wake up For me, it just took 11,000 volts [END PLAYBACK] CHRIS ANDERSON: That’s a wonderful man, a wonderful talk Artists can do this too [VIDEO PLAYBACK] -You want to take a closer look There’s more to this painting than meets the eye And yes, it’s acrylic painting of a man But I didn’t paint in on canvas, I painted it directly on top of the man [END PLAYBACK] CHRIS ANDERSON: So I’m not saying that, literally, in the first sentence, you have to smack people between the eyes But I really do think that, within the first minute or so of speaking, you need to give people a sense of where you’re heading with your talk and why they should come with you I mean, after all, if you’re going to build an idea in someone’s mind, people are naturally a little skeptical about allowing a stranger to poke around inside their brain At first, they need to find a way of trusting you a little bit Well, how do you do that? Well, you can do it lots of ways, anecdotes, bit of humor, a bit of vulnerability But just looking at people like this is a key part of it Your eyes have extraordinary powers When two humans look at each other, their minds are literally syncing up So don’t give your talk with you eyes buried in your notes or out into some middle space Find a few friendly faces in the audience Talk to them conversationally Makes all the difference It’s so powerful when you do that Now, our minds are wired to love stories Goes back to hundreds of thousands of years around campfires And stories can make or break many a talk So when Monica Lewinsky came to TED, she came under a mountain of fear, obviously because of the humiliation she had suffered in her early 20s Now, a single story, in her case, worked its magic [VIDEO PLAYBACK] -At the age of 41, I was hit on by a 27-year-old guy He was charming, and I was flattered, and I declined You know what his unsuccessful pick-up line was? He could make me feel 22 again [LAUGHTER] [END PLAYBACK] CHRIS ANDERSON: So that single story told Monica that the talk was going to be OK And it told the audience that this was going to be great and that everyone was actually going to have a good time listening to her But talks don’t just have to be about letting everyone relax They can actually set up your idea beautifully as well So here’s Ernesto Sirolli He wanted to give a talk about the power of listening, the importance of listening And so he started with a story about what happens when you don’t The setting here is a fertile valley in Zambia and a development aid project that went wrong [VIDEO PLAYBACK] -Everything in Africa grew beautifully, and we had these magnificent tomatoes In Italy, a tomato will grow to this size, in Zambia, to this size And we could not believe And we were telling the Zambians, look how easy agriculture is When the tomatoes were nice, and ripe, and red, overnight, some 200 hippos came out from the river, and they ate everything And we said to the Zambians, my god, the hippos

And the Zambians said, yes, that’s why we have no agriculture here [END PLAYBACK] CHRIS ANDERSON: So from that, obviously, it’s really natural to go on and begin explaining your idea Because when you build an idea in someone’s mind, the explanation is the tool that allows that That’s really what explanation is, and it’s pretty hard to do well It’s amazing that we can do it at all The key to it is to remember that you are building from elements that are already in your audience’s mind So you’re using the power of language, but it’s not your language, your jargon It’s their language, their concepts That’s the only way this can work And one of the key tools to make it effective is to use metaphors, to find the right metaphor Because what a metaphor does is it shows the shape of how these elements are to fit together Let me describe science writer Jennifer Kahn to you She came to TED She wanted to explain this hard topic, CRISPR, right, and what that was It was a very important new biotechnology She said, it’s as if you had a word processor for the genome You can cut and paste any gene or any letter as you wish So we know what a word processor is You suddenly immediately get the power of this technology So metaphors are crucial, and examples really matter as well, because they cement an explanation You think you get it You tell an example And then it really lands, and that cements it into place But if explanation is the building of an idea in someone’s mind, persuasion first requires a little demolition You have to take down something that’s there that needs to be replaced by better ideas And so one of the keys to persuading, I think, is to show people the implausibility, maybe the absurdity of the idea that you’re trying to take down Here’s master persuader Dan Pallotta in action He was trying to persuade us that we should rethink how much we pay people who work for nonprofits [VIDEO PLAYBACK] -We have a visceral reaction to the idea that anyone would make very much money helping other people Interesting that we don’t have a visceral reaction to the notion that people would make a lot of money not helping other people You know, you want to make $50 million selling violent video games to kids, go for it We’ll put you on the cover of “Wired” magazine But you want to make a half a million dollars trying to cure kids of malaria and you’re considered a parasite yourself [APPLAUSE] [END PLAYBACK] CHRIS ANDERSON: I mean, if you can pull off a rhetorical home run like that, people are going to remember your talk for a very long time Now, the stakes can be high at a talk And so many speakers assume it’s OK just to come and wing it– a couple of bullet points, I’m good to go Actors rehearse Musicians rehearse Speakers should rehearse For a talk that matters, they absolutely should Tim Urban gave an amazing talk at the last TED about procrastination It was hilarious It was very insightful And three weeks before, when he came to the TED offices to give us a preview, it wasn’t that great The talk wasn’t there It wasn’t ready Tim used his experience there, the stressful, horrible experience that that was, as motivation to go through a bunch of rehearsals And what he came up with in the end was mind-blowing So I’m going to do something a little cheeky and show you some before and after footage of Tim Urban in action So this starts in the TED offices, ends on the TED stage where he tells this story of how, after procrastinating for a full year on his thesis, he had to write the whole thing in three days [VIDEO PLAYBACK] -So the thing about– don’t want to go there yet So there’s micro-procrastination, as we talked about, and then there’s macro-procrastination But the fact about them is they both have the same cause So the next 72 hours is a blur during which I wrote 90 pages and ran, full speed, diving head first, to hand it in just at the deadline And I thought that was the end of everything But a week later, I get a call, and it’s the school And they say, is this Tim Urban? And I say, yeah And they say, we need to talk about your thesis I say, OK And they say, it’s the best one we’ve ever seen [LAUGHTER] That did not happen [LAUGHTER] It was a very, very bad thesis [END PLAYBACK] CHRIS ANDERSON: I mean, that difference between complete ownership of a talk and being owned by the talk, you know, it’s night and day

And the difference between those two is rehearsal So how do you actually give a talk? I mean, there are so many ways to do it A lot of TED Talks are given like this, just standing in front of an audience There’s a vulnerability to this And there’s actually power in that, because audiences respond to that vulnerability But some people find that a little nerve-wracking, and they’d rather have a lectern Maybe they’ve got things they need to refer to We used to be not OK with that at TED I’m now fine with it Some of the speakers still look up and connect Or you could walk a bit if that helps you think Sometimes it’s good to take a moment just to pause between walking so that a point can land Actually, sitting is fine too The late, great Oliver Sacks give a wonderful talk seated And then again, why not leap around the stage if the mood takes you? There’s no one way to do it What matters is finding your way Because here’s the thing, when all is said and done, there is only one thing that matters in giving a talk It’s having something worth saying, and therefore, finding the way of saying it which is authentic to you It was 10 years ago that something happened, and this is ground zero for it It was the flickering into life of online video, cheered on by a small army of kittens, admittedly But most people at the time, for sure, thought it was a kind of a gimmick I see it now as public speaking’s Gutenberg moment From this moment, a speaker’s words and ideas could ripple out across the internet to thousands, maybe millions of people And that meant that this ancient art the was forged around our ancestors’ campfires could suddenly go global It could suddenly scale So that is what has sparked, I think, a Renaissance in public speaking It’s suddenly so much more worth everyone’s time to figure out how to do this well So I think you could make the case that there is a new skill for the 21st century that all of us need to pay really close attention to The name I’ve given it in the book is presentation literacy I think of it as public speaking adapted for the internet age, and I really believe it should be taught in every school I don’t think our kids are going to spend that much time writing letters to the editor or preparing written resumes I think they’re going to present themselves directly on video I don’t know what your theory of change is I do believe that a single idea can change the world I mean, I do, but not, not, not if it stays in a single mind For a change to happen, that idea has to leak out from that mind to dozens of other people, perhaps hundreds of other people, perhaps millions of other people This is the miracle of human culture, human society, that we can do this, that we can reimagine a different way and share it And if enough people believe in that different way and get excited about it, that’s when change happens And so it’s communication, but communication that shows the import of what is being communicated And so often, that is done best by this ancient human tool of looking, standing, waving arms, persuading, where people can feel the passion, and the emotion, and why it matters, and feel that pulse of, yeah, you know what, I get that And that matters to me too And I’m in And I’m going to be part of this And the tragedy of the present is that, so often, the conversation is dominated by people who actually don’t have ideas that are that insightful And so many of the people who do have something really important to share don’t share it, either because they’re just not confident in how to do it or they’re literally fearful of public speaking overall So I would so love this to change You guys are among the smartest in the world Many of you have ideas that are literally capable of shaping the future Share them They won’t probably have their full impact unless you find the courage and the means to show why they matter, and to really explain them, and bring along with other people with you And by the way, it doesn’t have to be this amazing new algorithm, or some scientific discovery,

or whatever I actually think this also applies in natural human settings A wedding, the next wedding you go to, share a moment of meaning or joy It can connect people in a way that’s really beautiful and gives us all a little bit of hope The way I see it, we humans are still huddled around a campfire, it’s just that the campfire spans the whole planet There it is Here we are And maybe there’s this moment where it’s time for you to– [CLEARING THROAT]– clear your throat, find the courage to stand, and speak I very much hope you do Thank you so much [APPLAUSE] GOPI KALLAYIL: So thank you, Chris It was both hugely entertaining and fascinating and very thought-stimulating And you started off by saying that one of the most important things in a talk is a powerful idea you want to communicate And one of the most powerful ideas I took away is that even with all of the technology advancements, human beings still communicate most effectively by standing in front of the campfire, waving their arms And the campfire’s now global So many of the people in this audience– not everyone– wants to be a TED speaker, but pretty much everyone wants to be an effective communicator They all have amazing ideas So what is one thing that you would ask this audience to do based on the book and the vast experience, start doing tomorrow, to start the journey? CHRIS ANDERSON: Well, especially here, in a room full of brilliant technologists, it’s, don’t forget the human side of this We are who we are We’re incredibly sophisticated machines We don’t understand fully how we work We don’t understand the level of complexity and nuance that happens in face-to-face human communication It’s wild how many signals are exchanged It’s wild to me that when you put two humans and have them just look at each other that their brains are literally syncing up And so it’s possible to forget that and to just assume that if you email someone an obvious point that, duh, it’s done No, persuasion, it takes time, and there’s a human piece to it And people need to want to come along We’re not very rational, logical people a lot of the time It’s in there, but it needs teasing out So that means it’s worth learning the nuances of explanation and persuasion and figuring out how to do it the right way But I do think everyone can learn to do this And I think the fear of public speaking is– it’s understandable why it’s there It’s because we’re a social species, and we’re worried about humiliation But you can get past that GOPI KALLAYIL: But the problem, as you indicated, is nobody teaches this formally You said we should have it in schools, a form of communication So it is not formally taught And you arrive, as adults, in a workplace and realize that, I’m not that effective at getting my ideas across So how does one learn it in the midst of their career– besides reading the book, of course CHRIS ANDERSON: Well, that would help I thank you No, I think you learn by doing and by starting small I mean, literally giving a talk to your smartphone in your bedroom is a good start, because you will learn things about yourself And you’ll go, oh my, do I really sound like that? And am I actually doing that? So you can start there Talk to a few friends If you can have a dinner party, invite people around, and make a case or tell a story effectively, then you can public speak But it all comes from repetition and from taking it seriously It’s definitely not easy to– without real preparation– to just stand up and speak from a few bullet points A few people can do that Usually, that goes horribly wrong GOPI KALLAYIL: And this is where, in the book, I think, one of the most important points to make is the need to practice– CHRIS ANDERSON: Yes GOPI KALLAYIL: –and rehearse CHRIS ANDERSON: I think so I think so Obviously, it depends on the stakes of the talk But do the calculation Say there’s 100 people coming to listen Who are they? How much time are they investing in this? Well, it’s worth your putting in a fair fraction of that time to prepare It’s only fair If you’re going to account for 100 person-hours of humanity’s time, you better put in a few of your own in preparation And if the talk’s being recorded and it’s going to go out to another 5,000 after, well, multiply that up again So I think that’s part of it, is just being respectful of the time that’s out there GOPI KALLAYIL: So you say that even before you start practicing, you should have something worthwhile to say that makes it meaningful for the listeners

to spend their time And most people struggle with, how do I identify What is it that I want to communicate? What is my life’s mission? You know, articulating, do you have a formula for unearthing that? CHRIS ANDERSON: Definitely no formula So the trap, right, is that you’re excited about the idea of speaking without having something good to say And we’re certainly very allergic to this at TED, of the people who really want to be a TED Talks star, but without the actual content that matters But here, no one would be in this room if they weren’t remarkable in some way And so it’s finding the piece that you want to focus on Usually, the problem is that people want to try and say too much in a talk What is almost always more effective is to pick one thing and go deeper into it so that you can say why it matters You can explain it You can give examples You can show the implications of it and where it might lead to That’s what makes a talk land And if you really don’t know what you should be speaking about, then don’t speak until you do But it is worth having honest conversations with friends and trying to say– because we only see ourselves from the inside, right? You can be a remarkable person and not know that you’re remarkable, because you’ve always been you Isn’t anyone like this? No, actually, everyone’s not You’re special But with an honest friend, you can figure that out GOPI KALLAYIL: With that in mind, I’m going to ask you a question then I’ll give you the option to say, I pass on this one if you don’t Since you said that when you’re in front of an audience, you should have something meaningful and important to say, how would you rate our current presidential candidates on that index? CHRIS ANDERSON: Well, TED is nonpartisan, but what I will say is this, is that one of the first rules of public speaking– if there is a rule, if one of the first guidelines, principles– is to start where your audience are A talk is like a journey You start where they are, and you persuade them to come with you on a journey Donald Trump has been masterful at doing that He spotted what many of the politicians didn’t spot, which is just how much fear and anger there is out there And he started with them He’s right there Like, everyone felt, for the first time, here’s a politician who gets me That’s extraordinarily powerful, and I think that goes a long way to accounting for the momentum that he’s had But there are many other pieces to public speaking There’s explanation of a complex topic or policy There’s sharing a vision for the future that is inspiring and hopeful There’s persuading people to tap into their better selves And you know, I think different politicians out there have different abilities in both those elements, and also, just in different settings So I think public speaking is going to be incredibly important over the next six months It may determine all of our future And it’s not going to be just the politicians We’re in this age where any citizen can record themselves, and a point they want to make, and their own passion and humanity And on a technology like YouTube or whatever, that can explode across America and the world, and may well change how people react We’re all in this GOPI KALLAYIL: So if that is the case, in many of the talks or many of the examples that you just showed us and you talk about in the book, people talk with the kind of ideas that come from sociology and the human condition, psychology One of the challenges for this audience here is the topics that they’re most passionate about, that they’re best equipped to talk about might be highly technical How do you take a very arcane, technical topic and make it come alive? CHRIS ANDERSON: So there definitely may be some topics deep in AI, or machine learning, or whatever that are really hard to, in 18 minutes, communicate to a general audience But here’s what I believe is, no matter who you are, it’s really important that we are able to communicate to each other why we’re passionate about what we’re doing, and why it matters, and what other people should understand about it So it’s not necessarily all the details, but the implications and how it fits into the rest of what’s going on actually really matter So something like AI, it’s such an important topic for the future of the world, both in the most thrilling ways

and, if you believe some scenarios, in the most terrifying of ways And that’s a vital conversation that can’t just be had among technologists The citizens need to be part of this conversation And so people who can find a way of saying, this is how you should think about what we’re doing– the reason why you shouldn’t be terrified about machine learning is this, or why you should, is this And find that way or framing it using metaphors, using whatever means you can to make it accessible to a general audience I think that’s really important, and people need to figure out how to do that GOPI KALLAYIL: Brilliant And one of the stories I really liked in the book that alludes to that point is Richard Turere’s case and the fact that he said just about anybody can be a public speaker But I’m still quite fascinated On the one hand, you have Sheryl Sandberg Obviously, a senior executive at a big public corporation does a lot of speaking But tell us the arc of that story where you find a 12- or 13-year-old boy in the Maasai who also had a piece of technology But war is survival And then you brought him onto the TED stage CHRIS ANDERSON: So my colleague Kelly Stetson and I were on a global tour looking for new ideas, new speakers to bring to TED And in Nairobi, we were introduced to this terribly shy Kenyan boy who was cowering in the corner And he grew up in a Maasai village helping his family look after their flocks And they had this lion problem where they were being taken out by lions And he’d often been out in the night trying to frighten them away with fire But he used the power of technology to solve the problem He taught himself electronics by kind of dismantling his parents’ radio and somehow figured out a way to construct using this– I think he found a motorcycle indicator, and some solar cells, and whatever He made this get-up that flashed lights at different points, because what he’d discovered was that what frightened lions was not light, but moving light And so he built this device, and it worked And so instead of villages going out and hunting down the lions, they were fine And this invention spread to other villages And so we were dying to bring him to TED, but he was so nervous And he could hardly speak And yet when you just took a bit of time with him and said, piece by piece, tell us, Richard– and you would find, suddenly, his face would light up with some moment of excitement that had happened And you go, that’s it If you can say that, say it that way You have no idea how powerfully people are going to respond to you And so he’d won a scholarship to a school in Kenya because of this invention And they allowed him to give several practice talks, which is all part of it And then he got on a plane for the first time, and came to Long Beach, California, and gave this TED Talk slotted somewhere between Bill Gates and Sergey Brin And he kind of came up to the stage, and looked up, and spoke And then he burst into this million-dollar smile And the whole audience, their hearts melted And at the end of this story, they all just stood up and cheered It was an amazing thing to see So yes, if he could do it, anyone can give a talk GOPI KALLAYIL: Anyone can do it So that is a fantastic example, but it also attracts a criticism that TED often gets, that the audience and the speakers are very elite, where they come from And this is one exception So how do you– if your concept is ideas worth spreading, good ideas accessed in all population, not necessarily among an elite community– how do you democratize TED as a movement CHRIS ANDERSON: Well, the criticism’s more relevant to the audience than to the speakers For the speakers, we genuinely do try to pull the most interesting people doing powerful work from whatever part of the world Most of the speakers who come to TED aren’t particularly rich A lot of them, they’re working in academia, or science, or whatever The audience is rich And we see it as our noble duty to take their money off them so that we can fund the rest of what TED does and distribute these ideas for free on the internet for all time It’s kind of the Robin Hood model of– and please don’t tell them Please don’t tell them Don’t mention this to Larry But no, the journey of TED over the last 15 years has been one of trying to open it up, to make these ideas accessible to everyone, because ideas want to be free They know no borders They should be shared freely And that’s what we’ve sought to do We bring some fellows to TED who don’t pay We allow people to organize their own TED-like events with a TEDx license that is free So we’re definitely aware of the importance

of that, of democratizing this, because it is for everyone GOPI KALLAYIL: And from that perspective, getting everyone, the whole world, to be great public speakers is also part of that mission, I assume What I’m leading to is, what led you to write this book CHRIS ANDERSON: Yes, exactly So what led me to write the book was the belief that ideas are everywhere and that we need to be sharing them, and sharing them in a human way I think everyone’s worried about this world where we’re all obsessed by our screens, and looking down the whole time And we’re entering this sort of text-y world that’s sort of exciting and interesting But we’re worried about the loss of human connection And I think the fact that we can now connect as humans– you can look down at your screen, and you can see a human face speaking, using all this ancient technology of speech– I actually find that really exciting And I’m stunned at the possibility of what’s happening over the next five years through things like Project Loon and these other initiatives to take broadband internet to the entire world I think that is incredibly important But it’s also kind of an extraordinary social experiment Because we’re going to go, in just a few years, to people who never had the internet to suddenly having anyone in the world there on their screen So I think we need voices coming from everywhere It’s not just a few existing TED-type speakers We want to find the inspiring, insightful voices wherever they are on the planet and help them find the way to inspire people Because for the first time in history, you can inspire lots of people If you’ve got something worthwhile to say, even if you live in a village in Kenya, or wherever on the planet, you can reach out to hundreds, thousands of people around you in language and using examples that are directly, deeply relevant to them So let’s figure out how to do it, because there’s so much at stake in this future And if we naively believe technology’s going to make a better future, we’re probably mistaken We could easily sleepwalk into a future that we end up hating It’s all to play for And I think by putting a human, a deeply, profoundly, and powerful human, technology at the heart of it, there’s some hope and possibility in that GOPI KALLAYIL: And with those comments, you’ve just opened the Pandora’s box So I’m going to ask the audience, how many of you have a powerful idea that you’d like to speak about at TED? CHRIS ANDERSON: All right GOPI KALLAYIL: OK We’ve got about eight people What should they do, Chris? CHRIS ANDERSON: Write to us Tell us, what’s the idea? speakers@ted.com– make the case We get a lot of incoming But absolutely, we’re always looking for the ideas that matter most And in this room, probably more than most places on the planet, those ideas probably exist right now if you could only see them If I could go away with a brain scan of everything that’s going on in this room right now, I’d probably know the future I could Who’s got a question? AUDIENCE: Hi So my name is Greg My question– so recently, Barack Obama said that his greatest regret is that they failed to communicate what they were doing during each crisis, that they were solving the next crisis and they didn’t have time But he made addresses And my question is, what would you have changed to the format, to the style? What would you have recommend they do differently? CHRIS ANDERSON: Oh gosh, I wouldn’t try, for a minute, to give any advice to Barack Obama The level of challenges that modern government faces are just extraordinary I think it just goes back to principles though, of, you have to know where people are And it’s hard We all suffer from the curse of knowledge, where you don’t remember what it’s like not to know what you know It’s a bug And to get round it, it just takes an intense effort So that’s all you can do is constantly say, what does that person think What do they really think? What do they feel? How do I recognize that? And then, build from that But there’s no slicks There’s no silver bullet to that’s It’s hard AUDIENCE: Hi, my name’s Blake You’re a journalist Now, in the course of my lifetime, I’ve seen journalism change substantially When I was a child, there was a very limited number of geographically limited news sources Then cable news was born, then blogging and Twitter And as it has transitioned into a much more financially competitive environment, I’ve seen journalism go from the admittedly dryer transmission of facts to a much more exciting personalized world of echo chambers

Do you see this trend continuing, or will journalism shift, yet again, into something new? What is the future of journalism? CHRIS ANDERSON: Great and complex question I certainly think that the traditional business models are challenged Like, the notion that you could build a company that pays professional wages to a group of journalists, put the output onto the internet, get enough traffic to pay for the– and therefore ad revenue to pay for their– salaries, no one is really doing that very effectively right now, just that model, simply because it turns out that there are so many other people out there who love to write There are so many other choices now for what someone could read 99% of it is poor, but 1% of it is actually quite amazing and often unexpected And that 1% still dwarfs the total output of the paid journalists, so it’s definitely a problem And you’ve seen business models like “Huffington Post” and many others that basically tap into the mass willingness to write for free to make an effective business model I don’t see that, per se, as going away And I think a lot of journalists probably could do with– imagine themselves as curators and coaches, and accepting that they’re not going to do all the writing, but that they can filter, and they can provide, and see the journalistic talent in other people And so certainly if I was running a traditional news site, that’s what I would try to do is you’ve got to find a way to tap into the extraordinary willingness of many people to participate As for the whole echo chamber bit and the whole personalization bit, I think the key thing that’s driving that is the fact that these companies are running algorithms to find what are the most click-baity stories And that is having the effect of dragging the internet down market faster than 1,000 Rupert Murdoch’s It’s very distressing, actually And I think what many people don’t see is– I think our view of human nature is wrong People see, this is what people want No, it’s what people’s lizard brain wants People are complicated They have many things going on in there The lizard brain is one thing, and the lizard brain drives that clicking finger unfortunately But it’s not the only thing It’s not the only part of people’s identity And so there’s another whole part of the internet, which is where people share based on their identity And that is actually tending to promote much more valuable stories, shall we say And I think there’s huge power here, actually, in this company, to shape what happens online, and to understand that humans are complex people, and to have a personalisation strategy that is much richer than just what the damn lizard brain does People’s reflective brains should be given a chance to shape what they want to read And that means asking the question in a different way It means not just observing what people actually click on It’s saying, OK, what kind of experience can we give you May we have your permission to sometimes put in front of you stuff that might provoke you and not just satisfy that little twitchy finger of yours? And I think most people would actually say yes that, yes, please Save me from my lizard brain So I think it’s all to be played for So finally, what I’d say is that I think journalism, which, at its best, is the pursuit of truth, right– I mean, in the knowledge age, there’s hardly a more important thing to do And I think it’s going to get funded much more by philanthropy in the future I think it’s a really noble, philanthropic thing to do to finance, for example, here’s the news site which is shutting out all of the commercial pressures to do stories for certain reasons We’re going to write the stuff that actually matters from whatever lens And I think there’s some great examples of that There’s going to be a lot more of that AUDIENCE: Thank you very much CHRIS ANDERSON: Thank you AUDIENCE: Hi, my name’s Jamie Just want to say, first of all, thanks a lot for coming Great talk I’ve been a fan of TED for awhile I actually organized a TEDx event while I was at college, so a big fan One of the things I’ve noticed though– and speaking to other people, I think they’ve noticed as well– you spoke about the democratization of TED and being nonpartisan But one of the things I have noticed is that there does seem to be a pretty strong ideological slant to the talks that are on the front page And I wonder if you agree with that characterization and whether you see that as a challenge or something that needs to be addressed Because there may be a risk there

of it becoming either kind of humdrum or some people feeling, in some way, excluded And maybe the ideas are not truly challenging you if they come from a place where there’s a lot of agreement already CHRIS ANDERSON: It’s a great question, Jamie And first of all, thank you for doing the TEDx That’s great I think about this a lot We want the best ideas from wherever they are Speaking personally, there’s not a political agenda Like, if you could define what the radical center looks like, then I might put myself, personally, that way But there’s people at TED who come from most parts of the spectrum Yes, I think the majority in the audience, traditionally, at TED– and I think this is what you’re referring to– if you like, have a sort of progressive-type agenda And you sometimes see that in the talks If you could hear us internally, we are constantly on the search for great, outside-the-box ideas from the right, from all parts, honestly, of the political spectrum Mainly, what we’re trying to do, actually, though, is find talks that aren’t locatable somewhere, neatly, on the political spectrum Because the trouble with politics is that it provokes these sort of trigger reactions from people People stop listening once they think your speaking– this is tribal So we want talks that are just great ideas So that’s the journey that I think we’re on and that I want us to be on But absolutely, if anyone’s listening to this and you think you’re on a different part of the political spectrum from what you think TED normally represents, suggest to us, what is the compelling idea that the world needs to know about from your lens Because we really want to know it So I thank you And keep pushing for that extra diversity We’re looking for it It’s a conversation AUDIENCE: Cool, thanks AUDIENCE: Hello, my name is John Do you have any advice for people whose English is not their first language? And what is TED doing to bring in ideas from non-English speaking people? CHRIS ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely, we’re committed to increasingly getting talks from non-English speakers There are already quite a few The TEDx initiative, many of those events are not held in English So those talks are being recorded and uploaded, so they exist What we’re trying to do, slowly, is bring together more of them So in this coming year, we have an initiative on Spanish where we’re going to try and produce a critical mass of Spanish talks And so I think we’ve done a good job, so far, of translating TED, in subtitles, into many other languages We’re in pretty much 100 languages now But the next step is doing a much better job of sourcing non-English talks We’re on it AUDIENCE: Hi, my name’s Zack I was wondering if you had any advice or things to say about stage fright, if you learn to speak with stage fright, or try to get the stage fright to go away, or whatever it may be CHRIS ANDERSON: Yeah, absolutely I think for me, the first thing is renaming that fear in your mind and making it an asset Fear is there for a reason It’s to persuade you to act to avoid that fearful thing coming true So use it as motivation to prepare and to do what’s needed So that’s step one Step two is to know that, with rehearsal, your confidence can grow and that it’s possible to just shift that fear from fear to excitement Feelings are actually quite similar Third is just, even on stage, it can actually give you an extra edge It can dial up your energy in the moment And if you feel like you’re losing it, and you’re shaking, and whatever, just have an honest conversation with the audience People respond to it Audiences are fundamentally supportive There’s other things like doing some physical activity right before, breathing deep, all those kinds of things, and having a couple of escape clauses where you’ve got a bottle of water and some notes off to the side And you can always bring on a little coughing fit, and go over and have a drink of water, and remind your notes, and calm down But audiences actually often see nervousness as vulnerability and actually rise to that person They embrace that speaker more, so long as you can keep that authenticity there So it’s absolutely overcomable Pretty much every speaker feels a level of nervousness It’s only in a few that it’s crippling,

but even there, it can be overcome And if Monica Lewinsky can do it, you can do GOPI KALLAYIL: Thank you to the audience I want to close here with two final questions, Chris One is, all of the examples that you showed, many of the examples you talk about in the book, humor is a big part of it Making people laugh makes you endearable as a speaker And that’s also a big fear for almost everyone who fear that we are not naturally funny So how do you bring humor in when you think that, I’m not a funny guy? CHRIS ANDERSON: Well, I think I’m not a funny guy And so what I did– GOPI KALLAYIL: You’re British, so you’ve got a natural advantage CHRIS ANDERSON: What I did was I found some funny videos, like Share the Load And actually, when you look at several really popular talks on TED, an early moment of humor comes not directly from the speaker, but from something that they showed So I totally cheated with this You don’t have to actually have humor Humor is great It does open people up a bit And it helps people feel like they’ve got a connection with you, but there are other ways to do that Just being honest with people, being vulnerable, telling a story about a failure of yours or whatever, you can connect with people in lots of different ways I would say the only thing you really can’t do in a talk is come on in kind of a blowhard of, let me tell you the reasons I’m so great And I’ve had such amazing success over the last few months I’m just going to tell you a few examples Everyone hates that As soon as people get the sense this is about you, not about them, that doesn’t work So it’s worth trying to find the humorous moment, because if you can find it, it will give you more confidence in the talk And it just helps everyone relax, but it’s not the only way And bad humor is to be avoided That’s worse than no humor GOPI KALLAYIL: So my final thoughts are on what you’ve done going beyond the book It’s not simply a conference that you created You created an amazing institution, a legacy In an era where the art of this form of communication is dying out, TED, as a brand, has revived the art of public speaking And it’s become a global platform through which many people are expressing themselves And you use digital technology to great effect to really take it to all comes with the world What is your vision for TED and TEDx? And next five years, what can we expect to see? Or 10 years? CHRIS ANDERSON: It’s honestly being driven by the technological revolution that’s coming Like, if you really believe that broadband video is coming to every part of the planet, that gives us our roadmap Now, that means 4 billion people are coming online and leapfrogging straight to an internet where there’s video It’s thrilling It’s also terrifying And so I think that the TED Talk you want to put in front of them is not necessarily Sir Ken Robinson, as much as I love him, you know? It’s something that is relevant to them now And it’s going to be competing in this incredible war with who knows what– all these new marketing things that they’ve seen for the first time, terrorist recruitment videos for all I know We’ve got to get this right And so that plus a big push in education are the two new things, and meanwhile, trying to welcome as many new, fresh voices onto the platform The joyful thing about knowledge, knowledge is different from ice cream, right? I love strawberry ice cream The first spoonful is delicious The second, not quite so much so, but OK Knowledge actually goes the other way The more you learn, the mole wondrous the world seems, the more you want to know the next thing And so I find that, honestly, really exciting And I think the fact that we have the chance now to lead lives that are lifelong learning, that’s amazing and thrilling And really, I feel so fortunate to be just playing this little part of it GOPI KALLAYIL: And that’s a great opportunity and a problem to solve for the future, imagining what it could be like And I can bet, somewhere in the audience, someone is willing to give a great TED Talk on that CHRIS ANDERSON: I bet that that is true GOPI KALLAYIL: Any closing comments and thoughts? One final piece of advice as it relates to the book? CHRIS ANDERSON: The book’s the book To you guys here, at Google, it’s extraordinary what you’ve built. It has enabled everyone’s work to be completely different from what it could be It’s transformed education’s potential in ways that no one even recognizes yet The fact that we’re in a world where everyone has “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” in their pocket, and actually, all they need is curiosity to find out anything, it’s absolutely stunning

What YouTube is is stunning to me The fact that you can show everyone on the planet what the best people in any given field can do, from skateboarding to giving an idea, it’s mind-blowing to me And so I know you know you work for a company of immense power and impact But where that goes, it’s going to have a huge impact on the world’s future And I know you constantly are thinking about this and how to make sure it goes the right way and not the wrong way Thank you for doing what you do It really, really matters And it’s been a real privilege to be here today, so thank you [APPLAUSE] GOPI KALLAYIL: And Chris, I wanted to say thank you for what you’ve created Thank you for writing the book Thank you for coming to Google It’s been our honor and pleasure Thank you CHRIS ANDERSON: Thanks a lot, Gopi Thanks so much [MUSIC PLAYING]