Siftables: digital information on our terms
A few spots open for Presentation Reboot (March 17, 18, 19)

Barry Schwartz at TED: The need for virtue & practical wisdom

Barry This talk by Barry Schwartz which came on the final day of TED 09 is not my favorite (those are yet to come), but it was a very good talk indeed that was well received by the TED audience in Long Beach; he made a connection. You may not agree with Barry's conclusions, but he did a good job of making his case (as much as you can in 18 minutes) and he gave us something to think about. His talk was clear and designed to be simple yet evocative, provocative, and even inspiring. Bill Gates started TED talking about education and the vital role that teachers play and it was nice to see this theme reveal itself through out the week in myriad forms including in segments of Barry's talk. Watch the talk below or here on TED where you'll find a few download options and a higher rez version.

Barry's slides
I'm not a huge fan of using comics in presentations, but it can be effective if they are used sparingly. Two things Barry does right here with regard to using comics: (1) He does not read the comic but instead pauses to give a few moments silence which allows people to read the strip and chuckle; silent pauses are always refreshing. And (2) he redesigned the text of the original comic panel to be larger and easier to read for the audience and in the same theme as other parts of the visual presentation (Duarte Design helped him rework his slides at TED before the talk). He did not not use slides very often, but when he did he controlled the timing well and naturally and he never looked back. Here are some sample visuals from his talk.

I featured this 2005 TED by Barry Schwartz in this older post called Happiness, decisions, & the paradox of unlimited choices.


Michael Sporer

I was very impressed with the content of this talk. Not elegant, but passionate!

Heidi Miller

Thanks for the embedded presentation tip here. I rarely use comics, myself, but I love the idea of putting it up and giving a few moments of silence for the audience to read on its own. Great use of silence, in my book.

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