Why We’re Wired to Love Rags-to-Riches Stories

Social psychology explains why we never grow tired of hearing about an entrepreneurs’ rise from poverty.

In Pour Your Heart Into It, Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz wrote, “The more uninspiring your origins, the more likely you are to use your imagination and invent worlds where everything seems possible.” Schultz came from uninspiring origins and he never grows tired of telling the story of his humble beginnings in books, interviews and public presentations. Continue Reading

Neuroscience Says This TED Talk Rule Will Help Your Presentation Stand Out

Neuroscience proves that changing minds requires more pictures than words on PowerPoint

In the time it takes the average person to read this article, Instagram users will have uploaded 140,000 photos. Facebook users are uploading 300 million photographs every day. Why, then, is the average PowerPoint presentation full of text and bullet points?

“Bullets belong in The Godfather. Avoid them at all costs,” writes TED curator Chris Anderson in his book, TED Talks. “Photographs, illustrations, elegant typography, graphs, infographics, animation, video–all can dial up both the explanatory power of a talk and its aesthetic appeal.”

If the goal of your presentation is to change minds, bullet points on a slide won’t accomplish your mission. The brain cannot listen to a speaker, read a slide, and concentrate on both at the same time. Continue Reading

Billionaires and VCs Agree: Keep Your Big Idea Short

Condense your key message to 140 characters or less and it’s more likely to stick.

“If you can’t fit your idea on the back of an envelope, it’s rubbish,” Richard Branson once told me. The Virgin Group founder is on to something. In fact, most of the famous entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who I’ve interviewed agree that, to be persuasive, you must be able to communicate your big idea in a short sentence–very short. If it fits in a Twitter post, even better. Read full article

Hard Data Shows This Soft Skill Will Make You 35 Percent More Persuasive

Storytelling in business presentations is more likely to move audiences to action.
Thanks to advances in neuroscience, brain scans, and data-driven studies, we’ve learned more about persuasion in the past decade than we had ever known previously. We know what works and why it works, and we can prove it scientifically.

The data firm Quantified Communications has added to the growing body of evidence that storytelling plays a critical role in effective business presentations. Quantified Communications maintains a large database of written and spoken communication from Fortune 500 executives, TED speakers, political leaders, business professors, entrepreneurs, and others. Continue Reading

The Best TED Speakers Practice This 1 Habit Before Taking the Stage

New neuroscience research says this one habit will build your public speaking confidence.

At 20 million views, Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor’s TED Talk called “My Stroke of Insight” is one of the most popular TED presentations online. As a result of her talk, the Harvard-trained neuroanatomist was chosen as one of Time magazine’s most influential people and appeared on Oprah’s Soul Series. Continue Reading

PHOTO CREDIT: James Duncan Davidson/TED

How Communication Skills Gave Upstarts Airbnb And Uber A Competitive Edge

Successful entrepreneurs like Brian Chesky and Travis Kalanick are effective persuaders because the demands of the market require strong communication skills.

An upstart, by definition, is a newly successful person who bucks the established way of doing things. Author Brad Stone, who has covered technology companies for twenty years, believes today’s successful entrepreneurs have added a critical skill that separates them from previous generations: strong communication skills. Read Full Article

5 Presentation Tips From Snap’s IPO Roadshow

Snapchat represents the intersection of communication, creativity and storytelling. So does its 35-minute IPO presentation.

On average, 158 million people use Snapchat every day and create 2.5 billion Snaps. While those figures are impressive, they weren’t revealed until a full twenty minutes into the 35-minute video that accompanies Snap Inc.’s IPO roadshow. There’s a reason for it. In order for statistics to be compelling, they need perspective. A persuasive presentation puts numbers into context before they’re revealed. Continue Reading

Neuroscience Proves You Should Follow TED’s 18-Minute Rule To Win Your Pitch

TED Talks are limited to 18 minutes. Neuroscience proves it’s the ideal length for a new business pitch

“When I’m pitching a new idea, how long should my presentation be?”

It’s a common question that I hear from entrepreneurs and professionals preparing for new business pitches. Thankfully, there’s an answer and it’s backed by neuroscience and powerful real-world evidence. The answer: 18 minutes. Read Full Article

Steve Jobs And The Profound Question That Will Transform Your Career

Transform your business by answering this empowering question Steve Jobs brought up in a famous keynote.
At the conclusion of his last major public presentation, Steve Jobs paused and said, “It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that make our hearts sing.”

I believe that turning Jobs’ observation into a question will transform your career or spark an idea for an innovative new business. I’ve seen it happen. Read Full Article

Why Shark Tank Investors Love A Good Story

“Storytelling is everything,” Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran once said. “Show me an MBA and your sales numbers, that’s fine. But tell me a great story about how you got started and your vision, and we’ll talk.”

In the first episode of Season 8 of ABC’s hit show Shark Tank, two sisters–Kara Haught and Shelly Hyde–pitched a line of swimsuits made for women and mothers like themselves. The sisters were seeking $100,000 for a 20% stake in their company, Raising Wild. Continue Reading

The 1 Skill Warren Buffett Says Will Raise Your Value by 50 Percent

Imagine working on one skill in 2017 that–once you improve on it–will raise your value by 50 percent. The one skill is public speaking.

The dividends on the investment you make in sharpening your communication skills will pay off for the rest of your career. Don’t take my word for it. Listen to billionaire Warren Buffett’s advice to a class of business students at Columbia University back in 2009: “Right now I would pay $100,000 for ten percent of the future earnings of any of you, so if you’re interested, see me after class.” Continue Reading

These 5 Public Speaking Tips Will Make Your Next Pitch Sound Like A TED Talk

These 5 Public Speaking Tips Will Make Your Next Pitch Sound Like A TED Talk

Try these scientifically proven ways to engage your audience.

The most popular TED Talks share five qualities that any entrepreneur or speaker can — and should — adopt in their very next pitch or presentation. The list below is based on an analysis of more than 500 TED Talks (150 hours), interviews with popular TED speakers, and backed by the current neuroscience on persuasion. Continue Reading