How to prepare a TED talk style presentation with storytelling expert Jonno Turner

Here are six fail-safe ways to nail your next TED Talk

If we’re asked one question frequently at Thrive Global, it’s how to prepare and deliver a memorable TED-style talk or presentation.

We caught up with sports marketing expert and host Jonno Turner following his presentation at SPORTO – a leading European sport industry conference – to find out his top tips for preparing a talk that gets noticed.

Having delivered keynote speeches at conferences around the world, Turner – who was named as one of UK sport’s ‘30 under 30’ in 2019 – has sharpened his speaking skills, but admits that he learns more every time he takes to the stage.

“I don’t know if you ever stop feeling nervous when it comes to public speaking,” he explains. “You can always learn and improve – and every time you get up in front of a new crowd, you have to win them over once again. That’s the challenge.”

Below, Turner gives us six tips for public speaking success.

You can listen to Jonno Turner’s SPORTO presentation as part of the #SPORTOatHome series – click here:

• Be clear on your narrative

“You’re often speaking against the clock – the average TED talk is around 20 minutes, and at most conferences you’re given a maximum of half an hour, so it’s super important to focus on exactly what you’re trying to say, and make sure it’s a coherent storyline.”

Make it engaging and compelling

“Once you’ve figured out your narrative, you need to give the audience a reason to care about your topic. I like to think in headlines… you know, how would Buzzfeed or other viral websites package your presentation for maximum impact? This process helps you to focus on your core message.”

• Make it relatable to the audience

“Sometimes you’ll be presenting to an industry audience that knows your subject inside out, other times it may be a completely new audience. Make sure to build your idea around familiar concepts that your audience can relate to, and keep coming back to comparisons.”
For new idea and inventions click here.

Ensure your opening is on point

“You only have a few seconds to earn the trust and interest of your audience – so make it count. Having a well-rehearsed and attention-grabbing opening will also ease your nerves, as you watch the audience warm up to your talk. As humans, we’re hard-wired for storytelling, and so beginning your talk with a compelling opening will break the ice.”

• Work on your non-verbal communication skills

“Non verbal communication matters… a lot. I read a study that said that audiences often decide whether they like a speaker based more on body language than on the actual words. If I remember correctly, the more hand gestures the better, and smiling makes you look smarter!”

Practice makes perfect

“It’s a cliché… but there really is no substitute for practice. If you know your subject and narrative inside out, you’ll probably sleep and eat better in the run up to the event, you will feel miles better on the day – and when the time comes, the confidence will pour out of you.”

Follow Jonno on
Twitter at
LinkedIn at
Instagram at

    The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Jonathan Turner during Sports marketing and sponsorship conference Sporto 2019, on November 21, 2019 in Hotel Slovenija, Congress centre, Portoroz / Portorose, Slovenia. Photo by Vid Ponikvar / Sportida

    Meet Jonno Turner – one of global sport marketing’s rising stars

    by Mike Souheil

    What We Can Learn From the Most Captivating People

    by Jeff Callahan
    Tetra Images/ Getty Images

    ​Three Techniques to Stop Panicking and Start Speaking

    by Ellevate

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.