Last night I took in the introduction evening for this year’s TED Talks with some friends.
I was excited on a couple of different fronts. First, I have been following TED for years. I used the talks for everything from personal development, to researching specific topics, to introductions during discussion groups. Valuable material and entertaining all at once. Secondly, I was excited to see the talks in their original format. As part of a largely live production, not organized as individual subjects, just the whole evening program as a unified piece.
It was raw. The speakers were varied. And most importantly, it provided for good discussion afterward. As an aside, the MC did not want to talk politics if at all possible, but then proceeded to ask political questions of at least the first 3 presenters! Maybe that was part of it being raw?
A few things that stand out to me about this TED event in particular, and in general other events that provide insight into our world:
- I did not like every speaker. For me it was mostly about delivery and context, but that aside, they would not have been my first choices. Ironically, those were the speakers my friends picked for the top of their lists. We did not need to agree, which is part of the point of TED talks. It is OK to disagree and still be friends.
- I did not get the point of every message. This is where community comes in, which is one of the themes for this gathering. Discussing the talks in the car on the way home, I was enlightened. And, I was able to shed light on some of my perspective on other speakers. You do not get that with sitting at the computer watching a selective talk. Knowledge seems to do best in community, and that was reiterated a few times throughout.
- Diversity speaks. TED makes a valiant effort to keep the talks global. That means you will not sit through an evening hearing from only one part of the planet. And you will not hear a singular perspective on a matter. That is what made it special. There is an intentionality about making the focus ‘us’, and less about ‘me’.
I may have been craving that last one especially this year. Working on my own, thinking about how to connect best with others in their unique environments, can feel a little lonely at times. Each of the talks shed light on community in a way that spoke to me, whether I agreed or not. And that is a good reminder for all of us going forward; we need difference in our lives to make us more whole as individuals.
I enjoyed the format, and recommend it. It does not have to be a TED event, but I encourage you to go and take in something that encourages you to learn through diversity. It’ll make you a better you!