Watching allowed! These are some of the best presentations


Good presentations can be moving, captivate the audience and convince them of something. But what actually makes an inspiring presentation? These five speakers got to the heart of the presentation - and you can learn a lot from them!

Learn from the best

The American innovation conference TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is known to be the origin of many great presentations. The central principle of the lectures is: "Ideas worth spreading" - a motto that could not be more fitting. Best of all, the most outstanding presentations are available free of charge on the Ted Talks website. Our Tip: If you want to become an inspiring speaker yourself and improve your presentation technique, click through the numerous videos and watch some of the great speakers. But not only the TED-Talks are absolute role models when it comes to presentations, Steve Jobs, Tony Robbins & Co. also delivered some of the most spectacular presentations, which still provide inspiration for imitation.

We have compiled some of the best speeches of all time for you:

1. Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders 

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg talks in her speech about why only a small percentage of women belong to the top management in the business world compared to men. The presentation of the Facebook COO has so far reached over seven million people - seven million people Sheryl Sandberg has been able to motivate to think about this important and sensitive topic. The secret behind this success? Sheryl talks about a topic that concerns her. During her talk, she repeatedly gives intimate insights, not only into her professional but also into her private life. She skilfully uses the storytelling method and tells, for example, about her daughter, her feelings and personal wishes for the future.

2. Steve Jobs: Introducing the iPhone

Steve Jobs’ Keynotes gehören noch immer zu den besten aller Zeiten. Und auch nach seinem Tod können wir noch viel vom ehemaligen Apple CEO lernen. Die wohl legendärste und bekannteste Präsentation von Steve Jobs ist die Vorstellung des iPhones im Jahr 2007 – und das kommt nicht von ungefähr. Wir nennen Ihnen drei Gründe, warum die Präsentation so überzeugen konnte: 

  • The Setup:

Jobs was a master storyteller. And every good story consists of three acts: The introduction, the main part and the conclusion. The introduction has a key function: it picks people up, draws them into the story and at the same time introduces the most important basic conditions. Jobs built a convincing setup right at the beginning of the presentation - without even mentioning the product, namely with the following words: „This is a day I've been looking forward to for two and a half years. Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything ... Apple has been very fortunate. It's been able to introduce a few of these into the world. In 1984, we introduced the Macintosh. It didn't just change Apple; it changed the whole computer industry. In 2001, we introduced the first iPod. It didn't just change the way we all listen to music; it changed the entire music industry. Well, today, we are introducing three revolutionary products of this class."

  • Humor:
Nothing is more infectious and loosens up the mood of the audience than humor. Whether spontaneous or rehearsed - Steve Jobs was able to make the audience laugh again and again during his presentations.
  • The surprise:

During a presentation, nothing is more important than keeping people interested. Easier said than done, right? Jobs' trick to keep the tension curve from easing: Build in a surprise. Or, as Jobs often called it: "One more thing". Because surprises increase attention and ensure that we can remember information better. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, he built in the surprise right at the start. He presented three different products (the number three, by the way, is another trick of the presentation legend): an iPod with touch function, a revolutionary cell phone and an innovative communication device. The Twist? It wasn't three products, but in the end only one: The iPhone.All the techniques behind Steve Jobs' legendary presentations can be read here. Example: The Puzzle of Motivation 

3. Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation 

The US-American writer Dan Pink managed to reach over 18 million people with his presentation "The Puzzle of Motivation". His thesis: Instead of focusing solely on extrinsic, i.e. external, factors such as salary increases and the like when motivating employees, intrinsic incentives should be brought more into focus. In concrete terms, this means that employees should be listened to in order to increase their willingness to perform. In his speech, Pink packs this core statement - following the technique of storytelling - into a personal story about his failed career as a lawyer. In addition, he attaches great importance to making his thesis vivid: He spends almost half of his presentation time on this, explaining the topic by means of the "candle problem", which can be seen in detail in the Video.

Another factor that explains the success of Pink's presentation is his targeted use of facial expressions and gestures. Body-language has a special meaning during presentations - which, you can read about here.

4. Tony Robbins: The Power of Beliefs

Another speaker, who illustrates the importance of body language, facial expressions and gestures in presentations, is Tony Robbins. In his presentation "The Power of Beliefs" he completely dispensed with PowerPoint and Co. and used only a whiteboard and pen to illustrate his ideas. Instead, he underlined his core statements with gestures, showed emotions through facial expressions and made himself heard and given authority with his body language and voice. 

5. Amy Tan: Where Does Creativity Hide?

In her speech, the writer Amy Tan gets to the bottom of the creative process. She is looking for answers to the question of how creativity arises and how the creative process has developed. Like all good speakers, she used strong images, humor and storytelling elements. But there is one thing that makes Amy Tan's presentation so unique: Instead of presenting a completely mature idea, she repeatedly involves the audience in the topic by asking them questions and inspires them to actively reflect on the issues addressed: "What is creativity and how can I trigger it in myself? In this way Amy Tan shows how important it is to involve the audience interactively in the presentation.

Conclusion: The success factors behind the best speeches of all time are complex

The best presentations ever held could hardly be more different in their topics. But no matter what the topic of the presentation, they all have important points in common that will definitely captivate the audience. These include:

  • Storytelling: Steve Jobs and Co. always packaged their presentations in a story, ideally consisting of three acts, in which surprising moments are built in and personal elements find room.
  • body language: Targeted use of body language can underline statements and convey emotions. 
  • humor: humor loosens up the mood and appears likeable.
  • interactivity: The best trick to keep the audience happy is to involve them yourself.
  • Strong visual impressions: A good presentation lives from strong images and visual elements.

Source:    Image: ©Adobe/matteozin