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ConnecTED Speaking Series: Lessons on storytelling and metaphor

Beverley Glick

In our new ConnecTED Speaking Series, TED-style speaking specialist Beverley Glick looks at examples of TED talks to see what we can learn from this powerful short-talk format.  

Talk title: A Sale is a Love Affair

Speaker: Jack Vincent

Venue and date: TEDxLugano, May 2014

Synopsis: Jack is convinced that the future of sales is love: loving your customers and getting them to fall in love with you; and that the future of love is sales – using the same “soft skills” of great salespeople when finding and managing romantic relationships. Jack’s main message draws upon the parallels of romance and salesmanship. You have to treat every business deal like a romance, which involves courting, love, and mutual understanding. Through humour and personal experience, Jack details how every good sale follows the “rules of romance”.

What we love about this talk: 

  • He starts in a story to illustrate his main point – an imaginary “When Harry Met Sally” situation about two people meeting at a networking event – which turns out to be the beginning of a sale rather than a romance (a nice twist).
  • He also tells a story from his own experience about how this idea first arose out of a sales training workshop he was facilitating (showing his credentials). He then flips the script to talk about how sales tools work in romance in a way that’s relatable and avoids being cheesy.
  • He shows vulnerability (part of “show us the real you”, the second TED commandment*) by telling a personal story about his midlife crisis and learning how to love himself.
  • He uses simple statements on slides to structure his presentation and build his argument.
  • He also comes full circle back to the Harry met Sally story at the end (a satisfying technique that crystallises everything for the audience), before landing his final message.

Idea worth spreading: The more you give, the more you get – in romance and in sales: love conquers all. 

What we would do to improve this talk: Get him to put down his clicker between slide changes (which are infrequent) – his gestures are very one-sided. He also tends to look down, so we would encourage him to make more generous eye-contact with the audience. 

Top marks for: Storytelling; use of a strong central metaphor that makes for an intriguing, TED-worthy title, linking two concepts that don’t usually belong together.

*The TED Commandments consist of 10 guidelines that every TED speaker is expected to follow. 

Ginger’s TED-style speaking programmes transform the impact of presentations, pitches and other business communications scenarios. Find out more about how we can help your team here.

Beverley Glick

An award-winning public speaker and storytelling expert, Beverley is an experienced lead trainer who specialises in TED-style speaker coaching and training.

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