If you haven’t seen Jamie Oliver’s TED Talk then you need to because you can learn a lot about public speaking by watching it.

Before you read the rest of this post, watch the TED Talk because in this post, we’re going to break down what makes his talk so effective.

You would think that a presentation about food would be boring…and I mean boring. The only way it wouldn’t be boring is if the speaker gave you some food. But, Jamie Oliver is a master at public speaking.

Here’s what he did:

1. Strong opening statement

He immediately caught everyone’s attention with a strong opening line about how 4 people are going to be dead by the end of this presentation.

If you want to get good at speaking then you have to start strong and capture the audiences attention. Don’t assume you have their attention just because you’re on stage. And don’t assume that just because people are looking at you that you have their attention.

Attention is psychological. So if you don’t capture their minds…you’re screwed!

2. Intense Fear Frame

After Jamie Oliver captured attention, he intensified it by framing the audience with fear.

What does this mean?

Well…think about his message. He wants everyone to understand how important food is because food is literally killing people. But…he can’t just come out and say, “We all should eat healthy.”


Because before you tell the audience what your message is, you have to open their minds to it. The audience has to be prepared to hear what you’re about to say; They have to be receptive.

Have you ever given someone advice and felt like they didn’t listen to you? That’s because you didn’t open their mind to receiving the advice before giving it to them.

Jamie Oliver not only opened everyone’s mind, he used the ‘fear frame’ by scaring the hell out of us.

Most of his presentation was about how all this food is going to kill us…and not only us…but our kids too.

Then he did something even more brilliant…

3. Influence Instrument

Jamie Oliver used influence instruments to really drive his point home.

What’s an influence instrument?

It’s a physical demonstration of your words.

He could have just said, “Milk has a lot of sugar in it.” But what did he do instead? He had a wheelbarrow brought out with sugar cubes. He took a scoop and dumped it on the table and said that’s how much sugar your kid eats.

Then he dumped more…and more…and then he dumped the full wheelbarrow on the ground [clunk clunk clunk]… “And that’s how much they have in X years”


Do you see why it’s such a great public speaking technique?

Jamie Oliver made a tangible demonstration of the point he was trying to prove. And by doing this demonstration, it had a bigger emotional impact on everyone watching.

4. The People

Oh…and I forgot to mention…

He also brought his presentation away from ‘food’ and down to the ‘people’

Remember when he showed the picture of the girl who’s going to die in a few months? Then he showed more pictures of other people who have died? And he showed a clip of him talking to another lady with TONS of junk food (like a truck load) and the lady cried because she knew she was killing her kids?

The entire presentation was focused on people because we pay attention to people.

He could have talked about how unhealthy certain foods are and how it does this and that…but he didn’t. He talked about how this food destroys your life. How it destroys your kids life. How it destroys other people’s lives.

5. The Solution

One thing you’ll notice about the TED Talk is that 90% of it was about “framing” the audience…getting everyone ready for the solution.

After he demonstrated and got us emotionally tied to how bad a lot of food is, we were begging for a solution.

And towards the end, he gave it to us.

To get good at public speaking, you can’t just present the solution and expect everyone to see things your way. You have to get people ready for it…get them begging for it. Only then can you give it to them.

And that’s why Jamie Oliver’s TED Talk was an amazing feat of public speaking.

Related Articles: