Asia’s Rise – How and When

March 25, 2016.
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‘Master Data Presenter’ Hans Rosling:
Asia’s Rise—How and When

Hans Rosling. Medical doctor, statistician and Professor of Global Health at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm. Co-founder of Medecins sans Frontiers Sweden. Co-founder and Chairman of Gapminder Foundation which developed the Trendanalyzer software system.

Did you ever have to give a presentation containing large amounts of data, where you struggled to engage the audience and get your message across? If so, you may want to study some of Hans Rosling’s TED presentations for ideas and tips on how to bring your data to life.

Hans Rosling is one of the most popular and frequent TED speakers, having presented 10 TED talks at various TED conferences so far—watched by millions. His first TED talk—The best stats you’ve ever seen, with over 10 million views—was also one of the very first 6 TED talks to be made available online when was launched in 2006.

In this featured TED talk, he examines the rise of Asia and predicts the exact date when China and India will surpass the U.S. as the world’s economic super powers.

TEDIndia 2009     1.6M views on

Rosling has become famous for his highly engaging and captivating presentations of data and how he brings out the big picture of the data in a way unsurpassed by speakers before him. If you have not watched him before, you have probably never seen data presented in the way he does.

He even developed his own software, Trendalyzer, to present stunning and very effective data visuals. You can download a free copy of this for global health data on the Gapminder World web site (Wealth & Health of Nations):

In 2010 he helped create and present a documentary entitled Joy of Stats, which was broadcast by the BBC—and which you can watch on this Web link:

He is also the co-author of Global Health (2006), a book about global health and the first of its kind—endorsed by Bill Gates, who purchased 200 copies of the book for all his staff at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  In 2014 Rosling appeared on stage together with Bill Gates to present and debate global health issues.

Rosling is a fascinating speaker to watch and his presentations have become legendary—and if you ever experienced a boring presentation with lots of data, or gave one yourself—then have a look at Rosling’s presentations and see how it can and should be done!

Enjoy and learn from the Master Data Presenter!

Trond Varlid

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This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

How to Get Your Ideas to Spread

March 18, 2016.
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How to Get Your Ideas to Spread

Seth Godin. Author, entrepreneur, marketing pioneer, public speaker.  Founder and former CEO of and Former VP of Direct Marketing at Yahoo! He has a degree in Computer Science and Philosophy from Tufts University, and an MBA from Stanford Business School. Ranked among the leading global management thinkers on the 2015 Thinkers50 list.

What does it take to create and sell something remarkable? How do you get your ideas spread? These issues have been and remain at the heart of Godin’s professional career and writing—and are also the focus of his featured TED talk here. As he says, “boring stuff quickly becomes invisible.”

Besides his many writing and entrepreneurial achievements, Seth Godin is a much sought after public speaker, with several appearances on the TED platform—and he was named as one of the Top 21 Speakers for the 21st Century by Successful Meeting Magazine.

In this TED talk, he exhibits many of the features of great speakers—including his extensive use of stories, well selected and designed slides, and use of humour to make his talk engaging and memorable.

TED 2003 4.5M views on

Seth Godin is the author of 18 books, including Tribes (2008) and Linchpin (2010)—both Amazon, New York Times and Business Week bestsellers. He is the pioneer of a number of marketing concepts—in particular Permission Marketing, an idea and term he introduced in his book Permission Marketing (1999). “Permission marketing,” Godin explains, “is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them. It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.”

His articles and books, translated into 35 languages, are widely read and quoted—and his blog is the world’s most read business blog, according to Greater Talent Network, Inc., a leading global speakers bureau.

Here is his own website where you can also access his blog:

Trond Varlid

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This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

Fifteen Phrases for Continued Growth in Speaking

March 11, 2016.
Craig Valentine:
15 Phrases for Continued Growth in Speaking

Wisdom and growth come from reflection—so too if you want to become a better speaker. Here are 15 phrases by Craig Valentine, World Champion of Public Speaking and founder of the World Class Speaking method.

These are phrases often used when he is coaching speakers—encouraging them not only to read them, but also reflect on them.

1.    Tease them before you tell them.
2.    Too many speakers try to get across too much information in too little time.
3.    What gets recorded gets rewarded.
4.    When you lift yourself up, you let your audience down.
5.    Tap into their world before you transport them into yours.
6.    Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue.
7.    Turn their pain into your promise.
8.    Don’t add humor; uncover it.
9.    What’s loose is lost.
10.   Speak to one but look to all.
11.    You can’t have an effect if they don’t reflect.
12.   Don’t memorize, internalize.
13.   Sell the belief before the relief.
14.   Squeeze too much information in, and you squeeze your audience out.
15.   Tell a story and make a point.

As Craig says, “do the reflection work—it will pay off!”

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

Lead With a Story

February 26, 2016.
Why Tell Stories?

Stories Inspire and Engage—
Slides, Data and Bullet Points Don’t

Have you ever experienced a presentation overloaded with slides, lots of data and long lists of bullet points?  Did you find it interesting and memorable? Probably not. More likely, terribly boring and forgettable.

However, you don’t need to repeat the same mistake.

A powerful tool to make your presentations and marketing talks more inspiring and memorable is telling stories.

If you want to understand storytelling in the wider context of business and why it is so effective, you are recommended to read Lead with a Story–a book by Paul Smith (2012).

160226 P Smith Lead With A Story

Paul Smith lists a number of reasons why you should use stories in your business talks and presentations. Some key ones:

•    Stories inspire. Slides don’t.
•    Stories engage your audience.
•    Stories appeal to all kinds of learners.
•    Stories make your audience remember.

In the book we learn that facts are 20 times more likely to be remembered if they are part of a story–quoting New York University psychologist Jerome Bruner.

According to the book’s introduction, at Nike, all senior executives are designated “corporate storytellers.” And 3M banned bullet points years ago and replaced them with a process of writing “strategic narratives.”

To illustrate its key points, the book is packed with real stories from the business world–from companies like Xerox, General Electric, Procter & Gamble, Bristol-Myers-Squibb, Nokia, Braun, and others.

A central principle of the book is the importance of storytelling for leadership–‘great leaders tell great stories’.

Next time you give a speech or presentation–Lead with a Story!

Trond Varlid

* Paul Smith, Lead with a Story. AMACOM Books 2012.

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

The Skill of Self Confidence

February 19, 2016.
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Ivan Joseph:
The Skill of Self Confidence

Are you nervous when speaking in front of a group? If you are, you are in good company—as this is one of the most frequently mentioned problems people cite when it comes to public speaking—and even speaking in front of a group at your own company. How to become more confident?

One way is to learn from other fields—for example, from the world of sports and sports psychology—as in this featured talk at TEDxRyerson by Ivan Joseph, acclaimed coach and sports psychologist, Ph.D. in Sports Psychology, Athletics Director and award-winning coach at Ryerson University, which lays claim to have one of Canada’s top athletics programs.

According to him confidence is a skill that anyone can learn, not an innate ability reserved for only a small elite group of people. In addition to interesting insights from sports he also provides specific advice on ways to build your self-confidence.

TEDxRyerson 2012     6.0M views on YouTube

There are several other ways to become a more confident speaker. One, of course, is through practice—which you can maximize by always taking, and even seeking out, any opportunity to speak in front of a small or large group of people.

Another is to learn how to create well-structured and powerful presentations, and effective speaking techniques to engage your audience. Knowing that you possess such tools, and practicing them—will help make you feel more confident when you stand up to speak and present.

Trond Varlid

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This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

Why Some TED Talks Get Millions of Views – Part 2

February 12, 2016.
New Study:
Why Some TED Talks Get Millions of Views, Others Very Few
Part 2

(Part 1 of this article appeared last week, February 5)

Why some TED talks (at get millions of views was the question Vanessa van Edwards, body language trainer and founder of, set out to investigate in a study published in March 2015 by Huffington Post.

A 4-minute video summary of the study by Vanessa van Edwards can be found by clicking the YouTube image below.

The study, in which 760 people participated and rated a number of selected TED speakers on various criteria, resulted in 5 key findings:

1. It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It
Different groups of survey participants were asked to rate the TED speakers with and without sound—and found that there was no difference in ratings between people who watched talks on mute and people who watched talks with sound.

Bottom Line: Focus on your nonverbal just as much as your verbal.

2. More Hand Gestures Make for a More Successful Talk
Following up the finding above, the researchers looked for specific nonverbal patterns that the most viewed TED talks had that were different from the least viewed TED talks. This revealed the more hand gestures, the more successful the talk. There was a direct correlation between the number of views on a TED talk and the number of hand gestures.

Speakers who use hand gestures are speaking to their audience on 2 levels-verbally and nonverbally.

Bottom Line: To be a good speaker, let your hands do the talking.

3. Scripts Kill Your Charisma
Nonverbal communication isn’t just about body language, it is also about your voice dynamics. The study found that the more vocal variety a speaker had, the more views their talks had. And vocal variety increased the speaker’s charisma and credibility ratings. One way to improve vocal variety is by telling stories and avoid using and reading from a script.

Bottom Line: Memorized lines and scripts kill your memorability.

4. Smiling Makes You Look Smarter
This finding was somewhat of a surprise to the researchers. The research found that the longer a TED speaker smiled, the higher their perceived intelligence ratings were. Those who smiled for at least 14 seconds were rated as higher in intelligence than those who smiled for less.

Bottom Line: No matter how serious your topic, find something to smile about.

5. You Have 7 Seconds

As we also mentioned in Part 1, this study was in line with previous research by Stanford Professor Nalini Ambady which showed that people decide within 7 seconds whether or not they like someone—known as ‘thin slice judgements’. This typically happens even before words have been exchanged. So how you open your presentation can have a big impact on how people judge and perceive you.

Bottom Line: Make a grand entrance.

Trond Varlid

Full Huffington Post Article: click here

Web site of Vanessa van Edwards:

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

Why Some TED Talks Get Millions of Views – Part 1

February 5, 2016.
New Study:

Why Some TED Talks Get Millions of Views, Others Very Few
Part 1

In September 2009 Simon Sinek and Fields Wicker-Miurin delivered TED talks on similar topics, related to leadership. Both speakers were well respected among their peers—but neither was famous—and both talks provided highly interesting content. By now, Wicker-Miurin’s videotaped talk has attracted a very respectable 741,000 views on

Simon Sinek’s talk, however, has attracted 25.5 million views—which for a ‘serious talk’ of this kind is nothing short of extraordinary.

The interesting question is—why such a difference?

That was the question Vanessa van Edwards, body language trainer and founder of, set out to investigate in a study published in March 2015 by Huffington Post.

In the study 760 people were asked to rate a large selection of TED talks on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest)—rating the speakers’ charisma, credibility and intelligence.

A 4-minute video summary of the study by Vanessa van Edwards can be found by clicking the YouTube image below.

The study was conducted in 3 parts.

Part 1. First Impressions
Past research by Stanford Professor Nalini Ambady (featured on December 4, 2015) indicated that if we like someone we decide in less than 7 seconds.

Dividing the study respondents into two groups; one watching the selected TED talks for 7 seconds, the other for the full 18 minutes—van Edwards’ study found their results were similar, in line with Ambady’s findings.

Part 2. Verbal vs Non-verbal
Van Edwards’ study investigated potential differences between verbal and non-verbal presentation content by having one group watch the talk muted—i.e. no sound—the other with sound.

The speaker ratings of both groups corresponded—i.e. the most viewed speaker videos were rated most highly by both groups, showing the importance of the speakers’ nonverbal language.

Part 3. Patterns
Parts 1 and 2 of the study indicated that nonverbal communication is of great importance for how people perceive a speaker’s talk—and the researchers therefore created an additional rating study specifically focused around body language.

Based on how the 760 people in the study rated the selected TED speakers, a number of interesting findings emerged—summarized in 5 patterns:

It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It

More Hand Gestures Make for a More Successful Talk

Scripts Kill Your Charisma

Smiling Makes You Look Smarter

You Have 7 Seconds

In part 2 (which will appear next week, February 12) we will look in more depth at the above findings, as well as some others—and their implications for how you can improve as a speaker.

Trond Varlid

Full Huffington Post Article: click here

Web site of Vanessa van Edwards:

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

Think Fast, Talk Smart

January 29, 2016. STANFORD Talks
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Matt Abrahams:
Think Fast, Talk Smart – Communication Techniques

Matthew Abrahams teaches Strategic Communication and related topics at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is also Co-Founder and Principal at Bold Echo Communications Solutions—a Silicon Valley presentation and communication skills company.

The video featured here is a presentation lecture given by him at Stanford in October 2014 on speaking in spontaneous situations—which contains a wealth of good tips that can help you improve as a speaker.

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Matt Abrahams is also author of Speaking Up without Freaking Out: 50 Techniques for Confident, Calm, and Competent Presenting (2013). Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2nd Edition. To check out the book on Amazon click here.

In addition to this book he has written a number of articles in various publications on presentation and communication skills.

Here are his 5 tips for planning your presentation:

• What Does My Audience Need to Hear From Me? 
Starting your presentation planning with this question shifts the focus away from yourself and onto your audience.

• Outline Your Talk Using Questions. 
When writing your presentation outline, create a list of questions to serve as prompts for what you intend to say. This will help you feel more confident when you stand up and speak—because you know the answers to the questions. And using questions for your outline will tend to make you more conversational when you present—which audiences find more engaging and they will more easily remember what you said.

• Give Your Audience a Reason to Care. 
Provide your audience with a clear and compelling reason why they should care about your talk—why is it relevant and how could it help them?

• Include an Emotional Hook. 
Emotion sticks, people remember emotionally charged messages more easily than fact-based ones.

• Structure Sets You Free. 
A powerful way to help you—and your audience—remember your presentation is to use a meaningful structure. According to Matt Abrahams research has shown people remember structured information up to 40% more accurately than information presented in a more free form manner. He has a number of suggested options for good and meaningful structures which we will cover in a later newsletter.

Matt Abrahams has his own Website with extensive information, advice and techniques for creating powerful presentations and becoming a more confident and compelling speaker:

Trond Varlid

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

Where Good Ideas Come From

January 22, 2016.
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Steven Johnson:
Where Good Ideas Come From

Steven Johnson, Web innovator, start-up advisor, writer. One of the early online magazine pioneers as Chief Editor of FEED, later co-founding the Web site Patch. His breakthrough book, Everything Bad Is Good for You, was published in 2005. Since then he has published another 6 books, including Ghost Map, a 2006 top 10 non-fiction book.

Key features of Steven Johnson’s TED presentation include his narrative style, making extensive use of stories, great opening which connects directly to the audience and the location of his talk, and well designed and well selected slides.

TEDGlobal 2010 3.3M views on

This TED presentation is based on his book Where Good Ideas Come From: A Natural History of Innovation (2010)—a New York Times best seller, in which he explores the history of innovation.

160122 S Johnson Where Good Ideas Come From

A fascinating 4-minute illustrated summary of the book can be found on YouTube:

Trond Varlid

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This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

January 15, 2016.
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Amy Cuddy:
Your Body Language Shapes Who you Are

Amy Cuddy, Professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, PhD in Social Psychology from Princeton University. Specializing in research on nonverbal behaviour.

How is your body language when you speak and present? How does it affect how others perceive you?

In this second most watched TED talk of all time—currently with 30.6 million views, Amy Cuddy presents some very some interesting research by her and colleagues at Harvard and Columbia—on how your body language affects people’s perception of you.

Their research confirmed what you might intuitively expect, that body language has a big impact on other people’s perceptions—but perhaps more surprisingly, that your body language can also have an impact on yourself.

Open, expansive body postures are used by people and animals alike to show power and confidence—referred to as ‘power posing’—and closed postures the opposite. However, the research also investigated if using such body language in and of itself could make you feel more confident—and give you more psychological power.

The study showed that, yes, your body language can in fact even change who you are. The research results demonstrated that ‘power poses’—practiced and sustained for even quite short periods of time, cause physiological, psychological and behavioural changes—making you feel more confident and powerful.

The research partly originated from Amy Cuddy’s own personal experience, having suffered severe brain trauma in a serious car accident as a teenager—which, among other effects—made her lose her confidence almost entirely. She did not even think she would be able to go to university, let alone one day become a professor.

Watch her captivating talk and find out how she regained not only her confidence—but became one of the pioneers and leaders in her field.

Trond Varlid

To explore more TED talks go to:

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.