How to start a movement by Derek Simons TED talk worksheet

You are going to watch a TED talk on starting a movement. Describe any movements that you know about, e.g.

  • Anti-immigration movements (e.g. the Minutemen volunteers guarding the American/ Mexican border)
  • Anti-nuclear protests (e.g. those in Japan post-Fukushima)
  • Anti-war movements (e.g. the protests against the war in Vietnam)
  • Civil rights movements (e.g. Black Lives Matter)
  • Ecological movements (e.g. anti-whaling groups)
  • Independence movements (e.g. Gandhi’s non-violent campaign for Indian independence)
  • Movements within political parties (e.g. the Tea Party movement within the American Republican Party)
  • Pro-democracy movements (e.g. Arab Spring, Orange Revolution in Ukraine)
  • Protests against military bases
  • Religious movements (e.g. new pilgrimages)
  • Social media campaigns (e.g. Twitter campaigns)
  • Youth movements, e.g. hippies, mods, punks, skinheads and goths


What do those kinds of movements have in common?


What do you think the stages of starting a movement are?


Put the following stages in order:

  • A leader/ A “lone nut” (e.g. the shirtless guy dancing on his own)
  • A second follower
  • People who were sitting on the fence/ People who want to be part of the in-crowd
  • The first follower
  • The tipping point/ The movement gets momentum
  • Three more people
  • Two more people


Rank those stages and people from the most important to the least important.


Watch Derek Simons’ TED talk on starting a movement and listen for which of those people/ stages is the most important (a crucial role, an underestimated form of leadership, emulated by the followers, etc) and which is not so important (over-glorified, gets all the credit without necessarily deserving it, etc).


Decide which of those two people each of the phrases refer to, then maybe watch again to check.

need the guts to stand out and be ridiculed

a crucial role

show everyone else how to follow

calling to his friends

an underestimated form of leadership

emulated by the followers


get all the credit

have the courage to stand up and join in



Without looking above for now, try to match up the words below to make common collocations.

ladies and                                                                                momentum

let’s watch a movement                                                       happen

the guts to stand                                                                   gentlemen

with a crucial                                                            fence before, now have no reason to

show everyone else how                                                      to follow

calling                                                                                      to his friends

an under-                                                                                 estimated form of leadership

transforms a lone                                                                   point

three is a                                                                                 nut into a leader

now you’ve got                                                                      out and be ridiculed

This is the tipping                                                                  crowd, and a crowd is news

as more people join                                                in, it’s less risky

those that were sitting on the                                role


they will be part of the in-                                                     alone

let’s re-                                                                       glorified

remember the importance                                                    of nurturing…

guy that is standing                                                               credit

the biggest                                                                             lesson, if you noticed, …is that…

leadership is over-                                                                  effective

he’ll get all the                                                         crowd if they hurry

transformed the lone nut                                                      into a leader

that would be really in-                                            guts to stand up and join in

have the                                                                                  cap some lessons from this


Look above, read the transcript and/ or watch the DVD again to check.

Which words and phrases above can be used to start and end a presentation? What other phrases can you use to start and end a presentation?


PDF for easy saving and printing: How to start a movement by Derek Simons TED talk worksheet

Keynote Intermediate page