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Who Were Your Two Favorite Speakers? Why?


“Who Were Your Two Favorite Speakers?  Why?” Those were the questions that caused me the most pause as I completed the feedback form for the TEDxAtlanta event.

As I thought about the speakers, I was impressed that this year’s line up was predominately women (my first TEDxAtlanta in September 2010, there was only one speakers who was a woman).   I thought about the elements of the messages of different speakers and how they affected me.   I thought about what I would do differently as a result of what I heard from the speakers.  But in the end, the two speakers that I stated were my favorites had two things in common:  they both made me laugh and they both made me uncomfortable.

Here’s How I Answered The Questions “Who Were Your Two Favorite Speaker?  Why?”

Michael Ouweleen – His speech perhaps gave me the most laugher and yet at the same time rattled my cage more than any of the other speakers.  His delivery of course was brilliant – but when I think about the messages of the day, I almost can’t touch his yet it seemed to linger with me the most.  Throughout his speech, just when I thought I knew where he was going – bamo – off he went and I was disturbed – but in a good way.  When a speaker can twist up my reality, I appreciated being disturbed.  I’d have to say he was my favorite of the day.

To pick my second favorite is harder.  I enjoyed Margaret Baldwin talking about discovering truths and fictions about our lives and about our flawed heroes.  Sally Hogshead’s “9 second” statement really struck me.  But I guess if forced to pick a second favorite, I’m going to go with Armin Vit.  Armin also made me laugh but why I chose him second was because Armin challenged me to think of my own stupidity and my imperfect rejection of perfectionism in a new way.  My gosh I hate making mistakes and looking stupid.  Now I need to reconsider that too!

Here’s How TEDxAtlanta Described the Two Speaker I Said Were My Favorites

Turner Broadcasting’s Michael Ouweleen and Texas-based designer Armin Vit argued that a skewed view of the world is vital to creative problem solving. Ouweleen, who runs Turner’s Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media group, talked about the power of humor to heal wounds. “Humor,” he said, “makes sense of the senseless.” Vit defended “an underused source of creativity: stupidity,” which he defined as doing something that seems theoretically impossible. “One is considered stupid until proven creative,” he argued.

It’s difficult for me to describe Ouweleen and Vit’s talks any better than that.  Here they are so you can see for yourself.

Michael Ouweleen – TEDx Atlanta

Armin Vit – TEDx Atlanta

What Does This All Mean?

What are the bigger implications here?  If I’m to take my own experience and help myself and my clients most – Do I need to push for more humor and more status-quo-challenging content in presentations?  What do you think?

Really, What DO You Think?

Think back to a speaker you’ve heard that you would consider a favorite.  Did they make you laugh?  Did they disturb your take on the world?  If not, what did they do that made them a favorite?  I anxiously await learning from you!


  1. […] Here’s what I wrote about his presentation the day after the event. […]