Nov 13

TED Talk Reflection

I don’t think I’ve ever given a speech that went exactly as planned, but my TED Talk was definitely a manifestation of Murphy’s Law (“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”).  Despite having run through the speech before class, I managed to omit a key point from my introduction.  Then I continued talking until I could no longer feasibly work it back into the speech.  Perhaps I should have slowed down and reworked my introduction on the fly, but, in retrospect, there are some simple measures I could have taken to counteract my forgetfulness.

Looking back at similar speeches (5 minutes without notes) that I had to give for an Engineering Design course, I realized where I went wrong.  While I took a similar approach in preparing for the TED Talk, familiarizing myself with the information and data that I wanted to present so that I could support my main points, I changed my approach with the key points themselves.  The Engineering Department teaches a presentation format called Assertion-Evidence; it’s a simple premise: you make a statement, then back it up.  Presentations in this format are usually accompanied by PowerPoint Presentations with a slide for each assertion, plainly stating the point to be made.

I designed my TED slideshow to show supporting evidence for each of the main points that I planned to make, but did not include the points themselves.  Having headings or titles that would have indicated the point I needed to make and breaking the presentation into a greater number of slides, each with more specific information, would have helped me remain on point and prevented the omission of important information.  From now on, I’ll try sticking to what I know works when it comes to oral presentations.  My TED Talk is linked below:

Nov 13

TED Talk Preparation

While the TED Talk is a relatively new type of presentation, it is not drastically different than other forms of public speech or delivery.  Giving a successful TED talk will rely on many of the same elements as the more traditional speech required by Unit One.  Therefore, in preparing for my upcoming presentation, I will focus on correcting the errors that I made in my first speech.

I feel that one of the most important improvements that I can make is to capture and hold the audience’s attention more effectively.  When preparing for my last speech, I spent time familiarizing myself with the information that I wanted to convey, but did not focus enough on how I planned to convey it.  When practicing my TED Talk, I want to consciously alter my style, particularly my tone and inflection, until I find what will work best.

TED Talks are more of a performance than most other speeches.  Without being rooted to a lectern, I will have to be more aware of my body language and gestures.  Practicing with an audience or filming myself could help me eliminate any distracting or unnecessary mannerisms.  Along the same lines, it will be more important that I not only reference my visual aids, but that I can seamlessly interact with them.  Being familiar with the PowerPoint that I plan to use will give the talk an uninterrupted flow.  Identifying and fixing glitches and technical problems ahead of time will also ensure that my performance runs smoothly.

Finally, while Unit One was a more structured speech, the TED format depends on general knowledge of the topic being presented and does not allow for the use of notes.  Therefore, I will prepare by familiarizing myself with the key points and data that I want to use rather than focusing on strict memorization.  This will, hopefully, allow for a more authentic and engaging presentation, feeling more like a discussion than a lecture for the audience.

Oct 13

Unit Three Concepts and TED

Technological progress has changed many aspects of everyday life.  However, the paradigm that I am interested in examining is not technology itself, but the nature of interaction and socialization as it relates to technology.  Generally speaking, we have shifted away from a time when the communication standard was face-to-face.  With successive innovations, contacting one another has become increasingly easier.  However, it has also become less intimate and impersonal.

Particularly with the advent of the internet, human interactions have become more frequent but less meaningful.  Communicating via newer means of technology often prevents individuals from connecting on more than a superficial level or forming lasting bonds.  While it certainly has its advantages, technology has become a social hindrance when relied too heavily upon, with its effects clear in homes, communities, and businesses.  Furthermore, in areas where technology is not as readily available, social interaction remains largely the same as it once was everywhere.

Another social shift has occurred in the post-WWII generations; each has become more focused on the self and individual.  While those who endured the Second World War had struggled and fought together (and had ancestors who had endured similarly bleak circumstances), later generations slowly lost touch with the impact of this conflict.  The strong sense of national unity was gradually forgotten and, without any similar event in later years, has not returned.

The emphasis on one’s self can be seen in many areas.  Many politicians, no longer forced to work together by circumstance, now focus on public image and pleasing sponsors.  For the same reason, international relations have also lost the sense of greater good that came with reliance on foreign allies.  While every household sacrificed to support the war effort, modern households are usually centered on their own success.  Communal well-being is seldom a priority.

In regards to TED, one of my personal favorites is a talk by Sir Ken Robinson on the nature of education.  He has a very effective style of delivery and uses dry humor to address a serious topic.

TED – Ken Robinson


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