5 Effective Storytelling Tips from TEDx

Having a strong and effective storytelling technique
in speaking on stage can also be applied to writing books.

Helen Chang with William Hung at TEDx Chula Vista

Last month, I had the honor of attending a TEDx event in Chula Vista.

One of the best speakers that day was William Hung, the American Idol contestant of “She Bangs” fame, who is now an international keynote speaker.

The strong storytelling techniques that he used in his TEDx talk can also be applied to writing books.

William Hung American Idol audition
(Image Credits: Fox)

In case you don’t know about William Hung, he came to fame on American Idol for his embarrassingly bad and off-tune singing. The judges axed him. But in that moment of failure, he told Simon Cowell with all sincerity, “I already gave my best and I have no regrets at all.” That won over audiences and landed him a record contract.

William Hung She Bangs Video credits to Don Chin, video owner

At TEDx Chula Vista, William spoke on, “Happiness is a Choice.”

Here’s the 5 effective storytelling tips to make your talk stand out:

  1. Focus on one message. Everything William talked about pointed to a single over-arching message: Happiness is a choice. In book writing, we cover a lot more content, but also deliver one key message.

  2. Every word is gold. William did not use a single “um,” “ah,” “well,” or any extraneous words. In book writing, every word also pulls its weight.

  3. Pauses add punch. In William’s talk, the silences between sentences made the ideas stand out more. As book writers, we also add pauses between ideas through sentence, paragraph and section breaks.

  4. Share negative experiences. William openly shared about his failures, public backlashes and personal challenges, which made him relatable to the audience. When we write author’s personal stories, including their challenging experiences, we create emotional connection with readers through heart touching messages.

  5. When the speaker is at ease, the audience can be at ease. For his TEDx talk, he did the William Hung She Bangs dance for us on stage—in all its awkward, embarrassing and utterly delightful glory. 

William Hung speaking at TEDx Chula Vista

When authors are willing to be goofy and make fun of themselves in their books, readers love it.

William has turned his TEDx talk into a book, which launches this year.

Do you have inspiring messages, a talk—TEDx or otherwise—that you want to turn into a book? Or do you have a book that you want to turn into a TEDx talk?

We have helped many professional speakers turn their talks into books. And vice versa.

Would you like to explore possibilities for your book?

I’d love to chat. Feel free to choose a time here

No matter how awkward or embarrassing your experiences may have been, you can still turn it into a successful book.

by Helen Chang, ABM Editorial Director

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