Shawn Achor in his TED talk is speaking about happiness, going above average and increasing productivity. He is talking about his years at Harvard and how it is a great place to be happy but there are many students that are actually unhappy there. System is wrong and thesis “if I work harder, I will be more successful and if I am more successful then I will be happier” is only leading to unhappiness. Our approach and point are more important for our happiness than situation we are dealing with. That with right attitude and way of thinking people can be much happier. As conclusion, he is giving some advices and possibility to reprogram human brain, in only twenty-one day and to wire it on such way to make us happy. Being happier brings many positive effects as making people more productive, faster and better learners and they became more efficient in their work.
Introduction is very private; Shawn is talking about his sister Amy and their games as kids, how she felt down from a bed and hurt a leg. It is interesting intro because it is private story and because of emotions, it is possible to make good connection with audience by using emotions as bonding point. It was effective because people were into the story, laughing and having good time. Sometimes it was too funny, and it was a little bit as distraction, just a little bit but it was there. A thesis is not clear from first listening, or to be precise it was a little bit later than expected. Thesis came only after few minutes of his introduction, after establishing stabile connection with spectators. Thesis is happiness and how that can make us work better. He explains what are beliefs and postulates of happiness that are in use at this moment. It is very interesting and catchy introduction but maybe too long.
Beside his presence, voice, gestures, body language and occasional changing of position on the stage he was using slides to present some main points. All slides are presenting data in bullet style with short sentences followed with evidences, names of researchers, dates or other info. Evidences, quotations were only on slides and they were not orally stated. It could be better to announce some of researches in his speech and to point some documents, book, or magazines for more information. Slides were very efficient, professional, only with key points, clear and easy to follow, and well explained. Gestures were according to his speech with good use of body language and with proper body posture.
It was easy to follow the speech. It had clear structure and good pace. He gave detailed introduction and he presented it well. Presenter is well prepared and it is clear that he took some time to organize his speech. It was not jumpy and all the sentences had right flow, transitioning from one sentence to another, connecting topics and leading steadily to conclusion. Sentences are well organized and used to support each other in continuation during the whole story. It was flawless without side stories and without wasting a time.
Conclusion was clear, straight to the point. Closing was optimistic, cheerful and intriguing. Giving some proposals before final words is very encouraging. Proposals how to change our lives, how to live happily, how to enjoy and do things better, and all of that in few simple steps. Energy level is high during the whole speech, supported with lot of laughing and good jokes. It is possible to improve his conclusion by lowering his speed of talking, in some moments it is complicated to follow him and to think about his speech. Taking some time to stop and give few moments for listeners to adopt and perceive idea, can be very beneficial.
Delivery of the presentation is very respectable. All the time he made eye contact, looking different people, from various rows and during the whole presentation. As mentioned his speed of talking is sometimes problematic. In some moment, it is too fast and it is hard to comprehend all of the ideas. Something that is for admiration is lack of any notes or cards. He was completely on the stage, without any support of notes and talking directly from his head, as talking with friends. He is observing and good listener. Hearing the audience and stopping his speech while they were laughing and then continuing in proper time. Gestures were regular, used according to his story telling and they seemed natural. It is interesting to hear Shawn and his lecture; it is fresh, funny and inspirational.
Something that is hard to fake is his enthusiasm about topic, about happiness. His will to spread the word about it, to teach people that changing the way of thinking can lead to bigger happiness. That bigger happiness can bring outcomes that are more positive and that stepping in that circle is possible to have life full of joy. His presentation skills are at a high level and only minor faults are popping out. Some improvements are possible related to his diction, some speed change and some breaks during the speech will help to increase absorbance of his ideas. Shawn humor is with point, precise and has a great purpose. Purpose is to relax auditorium, to stop thinking and to give a chance that some new idea step into it. Gestures and body language is natural, and it is following and strengthening his speech. Changing location on the stage and his eye contact are very nice and helpful so that audience can feel as that story is precisely for them. Choosing topic with happiness and presenting it in such mixture of seriousness and with so much jokes and funny places is perfect combination. Supporting his speech with examples and more important with solutions and paths for future. Shawn is concluding his speech with word of encouragement, support, and hope for better and happier future.
Achor, Shawn. "The Happy Secret to Better Work." TED. 1 May 2011. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.