Zahary Wood: Why it’s worth listening to people who disagree with you

A TED Talk Project

This is one of those notebook/compost heap writings. You’re more than welcome to continue reading, but it’s good to know what you’re reading before you read it.

I’m working on a little project to develop my ability to write more persuasively and with stronger emotions and better arguments. For this project, I watch and analyze TED Talks and focus on trying to answer one main question: What makes some speeches and/or speakers more powerful, effective, and inspiring than others?

  • “When I was 10 years old, my mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia…” connecting the audience to emotion and to his personal experience.
  • “learning from the other side…” this is one of the things his mother taught him. this is the topic, or the main focus of his speech
  • “My mom wanted me to understand that I should never just write off opinions that I disagreed with or disliked, because there was always something to learn from the perspectives of others even when doing so might be difficult.” The main argument/topic of his speech.
  • He delineates a few experiences he had in her formative years that were difficult and uncomfortable but that help to shape him – this could be seen as a form of credibility
  • “Desire to engage with difficult ideas”
  • He gives his opposing views some legitimacy and acknowledges there arguments against what he is doing. And then shares his view while not turning a bind eye to their legitimate views.
  • “It’s worth the discomfort, it’s worth listening, and we’re stronger not weaker for listening”
  • “The depths of the views of those they deeply disagree with.” Alliteration

Again, this is a TED Talk that I love. I love the idea that he is presenting. I don’t see a lot of the “tools” that we’ve been talking about in my rhetoric class in his speech. If I had to rate this on a scale of 1-10 for “A Moving Speech,” I’d give it a 5. I think the thing that draws me into this speech is the idea presented, rather than his way of presenting that idea.

April 20, 2020

Time Writing: 30 minutes

Total Time writing on this blog: 235 hours