How to design your videos ted talk style

How to Design Your Videos Ted Talk Style

What Makes a Ted Talks Popular?

How can you design your videos so that they are just as popular as Ted Talks?

Obviously, you need to have a topic that is interesting. But there is also a framework that can help your videos to lead your viewers through the entire video.

Here’s One Way to Structure Your Videos

  • Engage Your Audience
  • Introduce Your Idea
  • Introduce Yourself
  • Present Your Evidence
  • Repeat Your Idea
    • Repetition is necessary even in a short video
  • Reveal Your Proposed New Reality
    • If people buy into your idea, how will things change
  • Suggest a Call To Action.

Let’s Analyze This Ted Talk

Sarah Lewis’ Embrace the Near Win

Engage Your Audience

MINUTE 00:13  “I feel so fortunate that my first job was working at the Museum of Modern Art on a retrospective of painter Elizabeth Murray. I learned so much from her. After the curator Robert Storr selected all the paintings from her lifetime body of work, I loved looking at the paintings from the 1970s. There were some motifs and elements that would come up again later in her life. I remember asking her what she thought of those early works. If you didn’t know they were hers, you might not have been able to guess. She told me that a few didn’t quite meet her own mark for what she wanted them to be. One of the works, in fact, so didn’t meet her mark, she had set it out in the trash in her studio, and her neighbor had taken it because she saw its value.”

Introduce Your Idea

MINUTE 01:04But this is the thing: What gets us to convert success into mastery? This is a question I’ve long asked myself. I think it comes when we start to value the gift of a near win.”

Introduce Yourself

Sarah keeps her talk short,

MINUTE 00:13I feel so fortunate that my first job was working at the Museum of Modern Art on a retrospective of painter Elizabeth Murray..

Present Your Evidence

MINUTE 01:33I started to understand this when I went on one cold May day to watch a set of varsity archers, all women as fate would have it, at the northern tip of Manhattan at Columbia’s Baker Athletics Complex. I wanted to see what’s called archer’s paradox, the idea that in order to actually hit your target, you have to aim at something slightly skew from it.”

MINUTE 3:50Mastery is not just the same as excellence, though. It’s not the same as success, which I see as an event, a moment in time, and a label that the world confers upon you. Mastery is not a commitment to a goal but to a constant pursuit. What gets us to do this, what gets us to forward thrust more is to value the near win. .

MINUTE 05:34The pursuit of mastery, in other words, is an ever-onward almost. “Lord, grant that I desire more than I can accomplish,” Michelangelo implored, as if to that Old Testament God on the Sistine Chapel, and he himself was that Adam with his finger outstretched and not quite touching that God’s hand.”

MINUTE 6:39 Part of the reason that the near win is inbuilt to mastery is because the greater our proficiency, the more clearly we might see that we don’t know all that we thought we did. It’s called the Dunning–Kruger effect.

MINUTE 7:20It’s Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who in 1984 missed taking the gold in the heptathlon by one-third of a second, and her husband predicted that would give her the tenacity she needed in follow-up competition. In 1988, she won the gold in the heptathlon and set a record of 7,291 points, a score that no athlete has come very close to since.”

Repeat Your Idea

MINUTE 9:15We know that we thrive when we stay at our own leading edge, and it’s why the deliberate incomplete is inbuilt into creation myths. In Navajo culture, some craftsmen and women would deliberately put an imperfection in textiles and ceramics. It’s what’s called a spirit line, a deliberate flaw in the pattern to give the weaver or maker a way out, but also a reason to continue making work. Masters are not experts because they take a subject to its conceptual end. They’re masters because they realize that there isn’t one.”

Reveal Your Proposed New Reality

MINUTE 10:49We build out of the unfinished idea, even if that idea is our former self. This is the dynamic of mastery. Coming close to what you thought you wanted can help you attain more than you ever dreamed you could.”

Suggest a Call to Take Action

MINUTE 10:49  “Even if we created utopias, I believe we would still have the incomplete. Completion is a goal, but we hope it is never the end. “

Apply This Structure

This same structure can be applied to blog posts, social media posts, articles, audios, etc. It is a simple way to outline just about anything that you write, including speeches.

It Is Not a Strict Format

Use this as a guide for creating your outline. Let it help shortcut your outlining process. Then you can be creative and let your ideas flow. Use it as a guide not a rule.


  1. This was a very useful post on how to design your videos based on the Ted Talk Style. You are right that most of them follow this structure, and it is very effective. I watch a lot of these and not only are they captivating due to the subject, but also how they present…

    Do you think that this format will work well for a sales video too? I have seen various recommendations that vary a bit from your suggestion, but it seems to me that this structure would work for almost any situation…It is most definitely a proven format!

  2. Hi David.

    Thank you for your comment. I too love Ted Talk videos.

    I imagine that this format could be used for sales videos. I suppose it would depend upon the market. But this format does cover pretty much everything that a sales video needs.

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