Devin Marks – Decoding the breakaway TED Talk: How to create an idea worth sharing 

What makes a breakaway TED Talk?

If there’s one phenomenon in the world of storytelling that’s been impossible to ignore over the last decade. It’s this one. The TED Talk.

Sometimes inspiring, often igniting, potentially career defining – think Simon Sinek, Brene Brown and Amy Cuddy. The TED Talk has become a launching ground for more thought leaders and breakaway ideas than any other platform.

It also completely rewrote the rules around storytelling.

Think you need one hour to make your point? Think again.

Think you need 60 slides to make an impact? Think again.

Think you can’t change the hearts and minds of millions of people across the globe in under 10 minutes? Think again.

To prove that point TED videos get over 3 billion views annually. That’s not including views of their videos on Youtube or other social media platforms. The most popular TED Talk of ALL time is by the legendary Sir Ken Robinson – which to date has topped 72 million views and counting.

However, for me the rise of TED created another interesting question. 

What actually makes an idea worth spreading?

How do you take an idea, then distill it down again and again until you have something so simple, so compelling, so action igniting that it has the power to begin or fundamentally alter a global conversation?

And it’s that question that led me to our next guest.

Today’s Guest 

My guest today is behind some of the most viewed talks in TED history.

Devin Marks is the nation’s leading TED and TED-style speaking coach. Devin founded the nation’s first virtual TED Talk coaching firm. He developed his methodology by researching exactly why TED Talks and TEDx conferences were so popular. The result was a science-based framework that unpacks the astounding success of leading talks. 

His clients range from CEOs and technologists to best-selling authors, veterans and thought leaders — including Dr. Robert Waldinger, a Harvard researcher who delivered one of the most viral TED talks in history. Entitled ‘What Makes a Good Life?’ Since its release in 2015 it’s now in the TED Top 10 with 40 million views and counting.

Collectively the spread-worthy ideas of Devin’s clients have been viewed by 100s-of-millions of people. He’s also just an absolutely incredible human. 


You’ll Learn

  • How to find and refine your breakthrough idea – the one sentence that will make us stand up and pay attention.
  • The six elements of a ‘sticky story’. Including why using ‘texture’ (language that relates to all five senses) in our storytelling holds the key to lifting from interesting – to captivating.
  • The rule of three. Those who are veterans of the podcast will have heard this many times, in many forms – but here it is again. Why the human brain loves the number three and how we can use it to design memorable content.
  • The concept of ‘winnable wins’ – why we should never ask for the big change, or the big action when presenting – but instead for an easily achievable first step. 
  • Finally, the advice he gives his clients on beating imposter syndrome. 

This conversation isn’t just about building a viral TED Talk, although it contains all the ingredients. 

This conversation is about a new age of storytelling, and storytellers. Those with the ability to build momentum behind their ideas – in a world where attention is scarce and overwhelm is at an all time high.

Those willing to wade through the complexity of ‘what’ they know, in order to reach the ‘why’ that will compel us to take action. 

Basically, those who are committed to making a huge impact.

References and links mentioned

  • My new ebook The Influencer Code
  • Devin is offering listeners the top 3 insights for captivating your online viewers. Simply follow the link
  • Dr. Robert Waldinger TEDx Talk
  • Mike Rowe TED Talk
  • Shawn Achor TEDx
  • Thinker Thursdays
  • Imposter Syndrome – 7 ways to move through

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