By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:
The TED phenomenon is very interesting to me. The niche involves hosting 20-minute talks by innovative individuals, some famous some not, in order to share "ideas worth spreading" on technology, entertainment, and design -- very broadly defined, those three areas form the acronym for TED. The idea that in today's day and age, someone standing on stage giving a speech could be attention grabbing is a little refreshing to me. In fact, secretly (or not so secretly, I guess, since I am writing it in my blog), I would love to give one myself someday ("Trial Persuasion Lessons for Everyone..." --- think about it, TED-people). But not all TED talks are created equal. I don't think we've ever seen a bad one, but some of the talks achieve stratospheric levels of hits through viral sharing, and others don't. According to an innovative new study, the differences may be explained to a surprisingly large extent by physical delivery. What the speaker is doing with her hands and body seems to mediate a large part of the reaction. That has some clear implications for attorneys trying to hold the attention of jurors and judges in court.
A human behavior consultant with the firm Science of People sought to look at the question of what makes some TED talks more popular than others. Crowd-sourcing the task, Vanessa Van Edwards polled 760 volunteers. The panelists watched the talks under varying conditions, and answered a series of questions on content, credibility, and charisma. Matching those results with the physical delivery of the TED speakers, Van Edwards concludes that the speaker's body language from the stage accounts for a large part of the difference between those that go viral and those that don't. She distills the results down to five pieces of advice. In this post, I will share each of the five and also comment on how these principles can be applied in court.