Dan Pink, who is a famous career analyst, bestseller, and also known as an ex-speech writer of Al Gore, gave a speech at the TED Global 2009 conference in July, 2009 on "The surprising science of motivation." He gave a brilliant speech there using a variety of speech techniques and fascinated the audience within 18 minutes and 40 seconds. These techniques can be examined in four aspects: structure, speaking, phrasing, and interacting with the audience. The following analysis shows how effectively they are used to entertain the audience (Listening to his speech is recommended before read the following article).
There are less content-related speaking techniques used in Pink's speech. For example, he makes the audience laugh at least 13 times in total (One in every one and a half minutes). There are several kinds of jokes he makes:
- Mismatched phrases. To say unexpected words or phrases contrasted to the previous words such as "George Soros and Friedrich Hayek" and "Mick Jagger."
- Irony or exaggeration. Jokes about American politics like "as we say in my hometown of Washington D.C., a true fact" and about American characteristics like "I'm American. I believe in free markets."
- Funny description or modification such as "some kind of touchy feely sociologist conspiracy."
- Simply indicating what he is going to tell next such as "Let me wrap up."
- Indicating to give examples of what he just said such as "Let me give you an example of …."
- Indicating that an important statement will come next like "And here's the best part."
The last important aspect of Pink's speech is to interact with the audience. He often asks them using the confirming words like "Right?" for five times and "Okay?" for six times. They are said at the following points:
- Before unfolding the logic to confirm the premise of his story.
- After unfolding the logic to confirm the consequence of his story.
- Right after complicated explanation as reading quotes is done.
- Simply used as a tag question.
Because Dan Pink himself was an excellent speech writer, he uses many kinds of speech techniques so efficiently including imaginary setting, jokes, repeating, short sentences, rephrasing, and interact with the audience. There are tons of touching speeches on the TED's website, but I think Pink's is one of the most effective and successful speeches of all.