TED talks are the pinnacle of public speaking. They combine compelling content with flawless delivery, and their popularity is attested by the millions of views they attract. In this work, we compare the prosodic voice characteristics of TED speakers and university professors. Our aim is to identify the characteristics that separate TED speakers from other public speakers. Based on a simple set of features derived from pitch and energy, we train a discriminative classifier to predict whether a 5 minute audio sample is from a TED talk or a university lecture. We are able to achieve < 10% equal error rate. We then investigate which features are most discriminative, and discuss conflating factors that might contribute to those features.
Bibliographic reference. Tsai, T. J. (2015): "Are you TED talk material? comparing prosody in professors and TED speakers", In INTERSPEECH-2015, 2534-2538.