TED Speech Review
Sendhil Mullainathan, a professor of Economics at Harvard University and a MacArthur Fellowship Program winner, discusses here the problem with "the last mile" in which societies make irrational choices that overlook crises like poverty, corruption, and discrimination. In this TED Talk exclusive, Mullainathan uses the example of the Indian mortality rate associated with the childhood diarrhea epidemic.
The speech's content was particularly interesting because the topic and introduction were delivered with an engaging opening segment that encouraged listeners, such as myself, to adhere to the style of delivery and the motivation of the message. The message itself was clear from the start, and included phased approaches to describing the crisis, understanding the genetics associated with cultural inconsistencies in prescribing treatments for diarrhea, and offering insights as to why human beings think abnormally. In explaining why humans think abnormally, Sendhil used real-world examples of simple problem-solving cases that broke the speech's content into segments, and allowed the listeners to be re-engaged to the original purpose of the speech.
From a delivery standpoint, the Mullainathan physically articulated his standpoint with calm, careful movements across the stage, brief glances to his notes, great use of voice intonation and fluctuation to emphasize important details, and a good use of conversational tone to appear relaxed and intelligent. One area of improvement could be called for in the speech's quick jump from idea to idea. The professor is clearly a very quick thinker, and often times a new idea or topic seemed to jump from his mind and to his mouth before a prior sentence was finished.
In looking at professor Mullainathan's speech delivery methods against Dan Pink's speech delivery strategies, professor Mullainathan embodies many of the same winning characteristics that Dan Pink used to engage and excite his audience. Both speakers used a variety of comedic elements to keep the listeners comfortable, but also spoke with authority and certainty to reiterate their knowledge of respective topics.