Monica Lewinsky and the Art of Crafting a Dynamic Ted Talk

A good TED Talk needs to be simultaneously intellectually stimulating and personally revelatory.  Lean too far toward the revelatory and the speech will become too maudlin, lean too far toward the intellectual, and the speech will become too dry.

I have seen few TED talkers balance the intellectual argument of their speech with personal revelation quite as well as Monica Lewinsky.  She starts the speech with an engaging attention-getter.  From there, we move quickly to the moment by moment details of the Clinton scandal; the sensory experience of what it was like to be interrogated by Kenneth Starr’s team, the shame and humiliation she felt, so much so that her parents insisted she shower with the door open in case she attempted suicide, and the experience of seeing her name slandered over and over again in the media.  Concurrently, Ms. Lewinksy builds her argument against the “culture of humiliation” which has been accelerating since the advent of the internet.  Her argument is loaded with pertinent data, and compelling contrasts and comparisons.  All this builds to a righteous, and well-deserved call to action.

If I were to nit-pick, I would suggest Ms. Lewinsky relax her hands a bit as she presents as she has a tendency to wring them as she speaks, but this is a minor distraction.  Overall, this is one of the best TED talks I have seen in years.

 

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