Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How to infuriate readers of your blog

It’s easy to do, and on January 7th the Shapiro Negotiation Institute in Baltimore did it three ways with a post titled What TED Talks Teaches Us About Public Speaking. It is sad that much of their material is excellent, just poorly structured. Based on this blog post, I’d hesitate to buy one of their programs. 

First, that title should have been What TED Talks Teach Us About Public Speaking, but poor grammar just is a venial sin.

Second, their main problem, was how that post was organized. It’s a pretty but rather useless infographic titled LET TED DO THE TALKING: 8 TED TALKS THAT TEACH PUBLIC SPEAKING. Titles and brief descriptions for eight excellent talks are shown, but they doesn’t provide ANY clickable links to them. Instead those references are buried at the very bottom of the infographic inside the jpg image file. When you try to click on their red TED TALK text, you just get a smaller version of that infographic, which is worthless.

The sixth item in their infographic was titled Connect with the Audience, but they didn’t deliver. To find a talk you have to enlarge the image, save the very bottom part, and then retype the address in your web browser. Instead I went to the TED site and put the title into their search feature.

What could they have done instead? Put the discussion of each talk into a separate image, and then include a clickable link below it. Also, package those images and clickable links in an Acrobat .pdf file that can be downloaded. Another blog option would be to embed the YouTube version for each video, but including eight would make the blog post load slowly.  

Links to the pages at the TED web site (and the YouTube versions) for their eight topics are:

1) Follow the path of influential speeches
The secret structure of great talks by Nancy Duarte, also here on YouTube. 

2) Use the tools in your vocal toolbox
How to speak so that people want to listen by Julian Treasure, also here on YouTube

3) Be engaged
The best stats you’ve ever seen by Hans Rosling, also here on YouTube

4) Keep their attention
How to pitch to a VC by David S. Rose, also here on YouTube

5)“The Golden Circle”
How great leaders inspire action by Simon Sinek, also here on YouTube

6) Connect with the Audience
Once upon a time, my mother by Carmen Agra Deedy , also here on YouTube

7) Body Language
Your body language shapes who you are by Amy Cuddy, also here on YouTube

8) Break the Ice
How I beat stage fright by Joe Kowan, also here on YouTube

Third, begin your post with an irrelevant first paragraph citing a bogus statistic, like this one:

“If it wasn’t for that fact that the statistics haven’t really changed, it would be something of a cliché to point out that when polled, most people list public speaking as their worst fear, even worse than death. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, as many as 74 percent of people feel that way. Basically, that means three out of four people, including so-called “extroverts,” would rather die than speak publicly. And yet, in the world we now live in, with the internet, smartphones, social media conference calls, and Skype, there has never been a time when developing skills in public communication could be more useful in our day-to-day lives.”

That 74% statistic came from the silly Statistic Brain web site. It isn’t actually from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), as I discussed last month. For U.S. adults, a serious national survey sponsored by NIMH found only 21.2% have a fear and only 10.7% have a phobia, both of which are drastically lower than that silly 74%. Anyhow, Either way you look at it, public speaking really is not our greatest fear.

The angry Rembrandt etching came from here at the Library of Congress.

UPDATE January 14, 2015

Yesterday YouTheEntrepreneur reposted that infographic followed by embedding the YouTube versions for those eight TED talks.

UPDATE September 10, 2015

On January 23rd the Shapiro Negotiation Institute put another version of that same imformation at Slideshare. In that presentation you can click on the title for each TED talk and be linked there. That's much better!

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