A Review of Arunachalam Muruganatham's TED Talk "How I started a sanitary napkin revolution"

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Arunachalam Muruganantham is an inventor known for creating an inexpensive solution to unsanitary menstruation practices across rural India.  In his TED speech, Muruganantham describes the story of how he came to create a simple sanitary-napkin making machine.  He further describes how his invention can be used as an employment opportunity for unprivileged women around the world. 

In terms of content, Muruganantham captures his audience's attention by opening with an overview statement and a focal pause leaving the audience on the edge of their seats ready to hear the story.  By telling the story of how his wife has to use unhygienic rags for her period instead of sanitary pads in order to afford essentials like milk, Muruganantham provides the background of why his invention is important to rural women everywhere. One critique is that he is so focused on telling a fun, memorable story that he does not actually describe what he invented until over halfway through the speech. Also, he concludes with the idea that as an uneducated person he invented this product and challenges the "surplus-educated" (the audience) to do something, potentially offending his listeners.

In terms of his delivery, he continues to capture attention through the use of jokes, but his over-use sometimes leave the audience forgetting the purpose of his speech.   He appears confident, friendly, conversational, and uses movement and gestures to add animation and interest.  However he also tends to move a lot, which can be distracting.   With his accent, his enunciation is so bad that the video provides subtitles for him.

Muruganantham's speaking style was quite different from Dan Pink who is an example of the traditional western style of speaking. In class, we learned that the rate of speaking is 150 words per minute in the United States and 190 words per minute in India. Muruganantham speaks extremely fast.  Muruganantham provides a story or evidence first and then his main point whereas Pink conveys his main point and then describes the evidence that supports it. Pink uses his entire face when presenting whereas Muruganantham barely even moves his eyes.  Murugantham uses story-telling gestures whereas Pink uses typical business gestures.  Pink tends to make jokes about himself whereas Muruganantham uses jokes that people in the audience could have experienced.  I recommend watching this video to gain a clear example of the differences between Eastern and Western speaking styles. 

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This page contains a single entry by schma103 published on March 31, 2013 7:12 PM.

TED Talk Review: "Why nations should pursue 'soft power'" by Shashi Tharoor was the previous entry in this blog.

Sugata Mitra's Self-Teaching Experiments is the next entry in this blog.

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