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Talk the talk
Talk the talk

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1.1.2 What are talks for?

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Figure 2

Talks are used to inform, instruct, inspire, persuade and much more. Consider a speech or presentation you have witnessed and see if you can come up with examples of different talks that have had different purposes.

  • How were the purposes of these talks made clear to you?
  • What elements of those talks made them successful?
  • Can you identify what contributed to the failure of less effective talks?

TED Talks have built quite a reputation for finding good speakers on important subjects, so it’s a good place to look for examples of well-constructed and delivered talks. If you visit TED’s browse page [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] you will see that talks have been classified to some extent by purpose; use the drop-down menu labelled ‘Rating’ and you will see categories like fascinating, jaw-dropping and ingenious.

Think about any rules you may have come up with to identify different kinds of talk and how they succeed or fail.