This was my first experience with TED talks and I found it most intriguing. After a day of browsing titles and topics I settled on three topics that were varied and yet still relevant to me and my life in some way. Without further ado, here is my brief analysis of the presentations I chose.
John Legend Speaking On His Free America Campaign
John Legend speaks with heartfelt zeal and passion on the subject of mass incarceration in America and a campaign to replace vengeance and punishment with the "core values of rehabilitation, love and compassion" within the prison system in America for the hopes of " a society that is safer, healthier and worthy of raising our children in."
Though his voice is soft and his manner is calm, his message resonates within you as you listen, most especially to me. My life is directly impacted by the subject at hand as my best friend is currently serving a life sentence in an institution that offers no rehabilitation, no love, no compassion, only desolate punishment without hope for a better tomorrow. John Legend draws you deep within the topic with an eloquently smooth transition from his speech to an amazing spoken word performance from James Cavitt, an inmate at San Quentin, to John performing a bit of Bob Marley to round out the presentation. He makes it personal to anyone listening with his words; " James, like you and me, is more than the worst thing he's done". As the listener you stop and think about your own sins, for none of us are without those, and even though ours may not compare to those of James Cavitt or the tens of thousands of incarcerated men and women across our country, we indeed have them.
In this presentation John Legend brought out an enormous amount of emotion within myself, not only because of my personal connection to this topic but from the heartfelt words from himself, from James Cavitt and from Bob Marley himself. We all have a past, and many of us, no matter the status of our freedom, are working daily to not only better ourselves but better the lives of those around us. We don't always think of those incarcerated as mattering but in truth there are many, many worthwhile, intelligent future American citizens behind those walls who deserve love, compassion and an equal chance at a successful future.
James Veitch Speaking On Those Pesky Email Blasts
James Veitch delivers a short little ditty on the annoyance of a "bursting at the seams inbox" full of superfluous email blasts from unknown origins. This presentation was my least favorite of the three and yet I kept it in the finals because it made me laugh and I think humor is a great way to engage your audience and he indeed did that with me, even if for a short 7 or so minutes.
The topic caught my attention as I currently have a Gmail account with around 16,000+ new emails, most of these being junk I willingly subscribed to at some point over the past 5 years or so. Once in a blue moon I bother to delete and unsubscribe to many of them, but just like James, they often keep on sending them. Instead of persisting with the unsubscribe button, James decides to write the sender back. In a slew of back and forth emails he pokes a little fun at the marketing industry and causes his audience (me) to chuckle along. While the topic wasn't meaty and I wasn't left joining his cause to annoy the pants off an email blasting bot, he did keep my attention with the laughter and I was left with one final ditty that I must have thought was a keeper as I did jot it down. "If ever you feel weighed down by the bureaucracy and often mundanity of modern life, don't fight the frustration. Let it be the catalyst for whimsy." Now that is one mighty fine piece of advice James!
Mandy Len Catron Speaks On Love, Going Viral and Those Silly Questionnaires
The title of this presentation caught my eye as I embark upon a new relationship, I thought I would learn of the 36 magic questions that might make him fall instantly in love (ha-ha). As a young girl I remember stealing copies of my mom's Cosmo mag, mentally filling out the love questionnaires to see if my 7th grade crush was indeed the love of my life. Though most of the articles in Cosmo were way over my head at that age, those questionnaires beat the heck out of the mundane ones offered in my own Seventeen Magazine subscription.
Ms. Catron, however, writes an article about a set of questions that were originally designed for college students to develop better interpersonal skills with each other. She utilizes the questions with an acquaintance and attempts to "manufacture romantic love", and it works! They fall in love. Her article hits the NY Times and instantly her 36 questions, her new romance and her blog go instantly viral. But, her presentation isn't about the 36 questions, or her new love interest, it's about the difficulties of love. How do we stay in love? How do we nurture true love? How do you handle the hard times in love? And how do you decide when to leave love? It's about making the choice to love someone and the choice to keep loving someone.
I found her style of delivery a bit hard to fall in love with (no pun intended). She has a manner of speaking that really had no flow to me, it was more of a stop, start, pause, start again BUT I was engaged by the content and I loved the way she teases her readers in the beginning with "so I'm guessing that some of you are probably wondering, are we still together?" but she kept you listening and digesting her presentation until close to the end before she gives the listener that answer. My thought process kept guessing at the answer throughout the presentation. She was able to keep my focus of her thoughts on love, her slight little hints (marketing genius) about her upcoming book and her online blog made me want to google her. While I wasn't a fan of her delivery, she did get the job done by capturing my attention and keeping it. And yes, if you're wondering, I did google the 36 questions and sent them to my would be love. Let's see what happens!
My Top Ten
- Humor Is A Great Ice Breaker - as experienced with James Veitch's Unsubscribe Presentation and the hilarious banter between him and the email bot
- Educating Your Audience With Factual Information - This was done beautifully with James Cavitt's spoken word delivery in The Redemption Song presentation
- Poise & Clarity In Delivery and Execution - John Legend again used such amazing style and grace during his presentation
- Artistic & Exciting Visuals and Sound - Once again, the Redemption Song presentation flowed beautifully from spoken word to piano, to song
- Showing Excitement and Enthusiasm About Your Topic - Mandy Len Catron bubbled with excitement over her love and her zeal for finding and keeping true love
- Evoke Emotions From Your Audience - All three presentations did this with humor, determination and thoughts of love and the desire for lasting love
- Create Desire and Need - All three again achieved this with different means. John's with my deep desire for reform, James' with my sincere desire for a cleaner inbox and Mandy's with my desire for love, happiness and the American dream
- Innovativeness - As suggested with John Legend's goal for prison reform and a new way of looking at the criminal justice system
- Displaying A Natural Tone and Flow In Speech and Delivery - John Legend and James Veitch both achieved this with excellent delivery, notable James Cavitt and his heartfelt spoken word piece
- Encourage Audience To Identify With The Subject - All three were excellent, they all evoked the proper emotion, and easily put me right into the midst of the thought process going on in the presentation