Friday, July 22, 2016

Talk Like Ted: The Nine Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds

Talk Like Ted
The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds
Carmine Gallo
$9.52 at Amazon

I've mentioned before that when running or playing a role playing game, having a large expanse of reading is only going to be a good thing.

I know some are going "Yeah, but Talk Like Ted?"


The book breaks down nine different tips for speakers and even if you're just looking at it from a Game Master view, you're a speaker and the audience is the players.

Here's a quick recap of why you should Talk Like Ted:

1. Unleash the Master Within
This one boils down to the question, are you passionate about the subject matter?

I can't speak for anyone else, but man, there have been some games when the guy running it was not into it. Sometimes during the game they'll pick up as they become engaged with the players but often, it's a drag to play in a game where it's obvious that the DM would rather be doing something else.

If you're going to run, run it like you mean it.

2. Master the Art of Storytelling
This should be a no-brainer for roleplaying games which are, after all, about a 'type' of story ,even if it's just a dungeon crawl.

Often though, people forget to weave stories in the games their weaving. One of the reasons for Dungeons and Dragons having so much fan support for the settings of the 90s isn't necessarily because the dungeon crawls were so awesome but because the settings were ripe for stories and the fiction lines helped reinforce that.

3. Have a Conversation
A chapter discussing the importance of practice, of reaching out to your peers, of trying your material first.

It's a lot easier to do these days then when RPGs first started! With communities like and others around, you can share stories, ask about power levels of different monsters and all manner of sharing that just weren't possible at the start of the hobby.

4. Teach Me Something New
People want to learn.

In roleplaying games, this can take the form of important background information or showcasing how some new rules work.

I had planned at one point to run a campaign based around the Magic of Incarnum set in Waterdeep where the traditional roles of magic were challenged by this new power source. It would have slowly feed the new information of the book into the campaign and allowed players the option of being in the old guard learning about it or in the new rules rolling out.

5. Deliver Jaw-Dropping Moments

These are more than just buzzwords. A lot of this in a role playing context, may be in the setup of where a big fight is going to take place. Having a battle at a huge castle with armies of orcs and allies on the wing for one popular example.

Modern action movies have kicked this up a notch so be on the lookout for bits you can steal and add to your own games.

6. Lighten Up
While I am a fan of "grimdark" you don't want to sink the mood at the table. People are coming together to have a good time so don't forget that it's a game and you should relate to the players as a fellow enjoyer of the game as well as the Dungeon Master.

7. Stick to the 18-Minute Rule
This one is about attention span and hey, if I was going to steal this rule, it's be about when players are floundering. I'm not a Game Master that thinks role playing with other characters in the setting, trying to get deals on various shopping, hunting down information or other activities are time wasters, but if the party is sitting around trying to figure out what their next move is, maybe give them a push in the right direction.

8. Paint a Mental Picture with Multisensory Experiences
I've known gamers who hate modern rpg books because the cost is so high. A cost they associate with the art, fancy layout and design and other factors that go into making a book physically appealing.

I don't want to say that their personal opinion is wrong, but for the great mass of people, art matters. Layout matters. Design matters.

And again, with easy access to the internet, it's no problem to grab images of what characters, monsters, and locations look like.

With the Lord of the Rings and other movies like Beowulf out, there's also no reason not to dabble in music.

With the music, in my experience, you might want to make sure that it's not overpowering the session. I've known some Dungeon Master's who when playing something like Cyberpunk will be blasting Korn, Nine Inch Nails or another industrial group and it competes with the gaming.

9. Stay in Your Lane
This one gets to authenticity. For role playing purposes, I'd say run games you want to run. Run games you'd want to play in. Make sure that the group knows what's going on. Nothing like starting off the night in a gritty police setting and fifteen minutes later having Superman and Batman show up because the Game Master wanted to run a DC Heroes game in the first place.

Talk Like Ted is a fun book that anyone reading it should get a lot of use of in both the dreaded real world and in role playing games.