TED talks and travelling

If there’s one thing that comes close to rivalling travel in student conversations (and even this doesn’t come close), then it’s TED talks.  Billions of people watch them every year on their website, and every so often one does the rounds on Facebook.  Chris Anderson (the Head of TED) has recently brought out a book on public speaking which would surprise many TED cynics who think TED are all style and no substance.

In it, he quotes Tierney Thys (biologist and TED speaker) who links talks to travel:

“Like all good movies or books, a great talk is transporting.  We love to go on adventures, travel someplace new with an informed, if not quirky, guide who can introduce us to things we never knew existed, incite us to crawl out windows into strange worlds, outfit us with new lenses to help us see the ordinary in an extraordinary way….enrapture us and engage multiple parts of our brains simultaneously.  So I often try to fashion my talks around embarking on a journey”

[Chris continues himself] What is powerful about this metaphor is that it makes clear why the speaker, like any tour guide, must begin where the audience is.  And why they must ensure no impossible leaps or inexplicable shifts in direction.

(pg. 20 TED Talks, Anderson, Headline Publishing)

And it’s why that I think that although there are some obvious gulfs between TED Talks and what preaching should be, the similarities exist that we wish to take our hearers on a ted-talksjourney from where they are.  It’s why I think Christian Persuaders connects with people in a way that much of modern preaching and evangelistic talks don’t.  It would have us believe that an Acts 17 model to a secular generation is:

  1. Identification
  2. Persuasion
  3. Invitation

Perhaps more on this journey later.



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