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‹ View all articles28th September 2012

The Anatomy of an Inspiring Speaker: Brené Brown TED talk - "The Power of Vulnerability"

TED Lessons

The Brené Brown TED Talk on the power of vulnerability is a shining example of a speaker who really practices what she preaches. But what did Brene Brown do differently to other speakers to inspire her audience and the millions of online viewers of her TED Talk?

Here’s the anatomy of Brené Brown as a speaker:

1) Nothing flashy, just real

If you’ve ever worried about looking ‘glamorous’ or ‘important’ enough for an audience, Brené Brown is proof that those of us watching simply don’t care. Brené shines in her TED talk, not because she is something bigger, or more desirable than her natural self, but precisely because she is herself. Her comfort in herself gives us the feeling that we’re in safe hands.

There’s not a shred of tension in the way she speaks. She’s present, light and down-to-earth.

2) Relaxed & playful

It might be just me, but I think Brené Brown has a bit of Garfield in the way she speaks (I promise you that’s a good thing!) She’s funny, yet relaxed – dry and yet warm, just like Garfield.

The affect that her style has is that she gently brings us to her – rather than people who try to make you laugh, which has a tendency to get in your face. No, Brené Brown is smooth and centred in her humour. And she’s funny in her way, not anybody else’s.

3) Analysis meets heart

Brené Brown talks about a subject matter that’s typically pushed aside as ‘fluffy’. Yet, she (like so many TED Talkers) manages to balance the heart-centred with the pragmatic in her choice of content. She gets the balance bang on the nose, by contrasting the ‘interesting’ bit of studies (meaning not too much detail) with the ‘interesting’ bit of a personal story (meaning the humour and personal progression bit).

You could neither accuse her of being an academic, nor a self-help guru – and it’s to her credit that she finds the words to express the space between. What emerges is thought provoking and heart provoking.

4) Being her message

But, more than anything – and like so many inspiring speakers - Brené Brown perfectly models her message. After all, if she was talking about vulnerability, but was unable to show something of herself, her message would not ring true. By being vulnerable and by being powerful because of it, Brené Brown not only shows us with her words and her research how powerful authenticity is, but she crucially demonstrates it to us on a human level.

I find this much more convincing than any statistics that aren’t backed up by human behaviours. I’m sure I’m not alone.

Watch the Brené Brown TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability here and see what you think:

 

 

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