Manner of Speaking

Analysis of a Speech by Kathryn Schulz

A new set of TED talks was released this week. One of them, by Kathryn Schulz, caught my eye. Actually, it was the title of her talk that caught my eye: “On Being Wrong”. Kathryn is a journalist and author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. She is also a self-proclaimed “wrongologist”.

The topic is of interest to me for two reasons. First, being wrong is something that I manage to do with amazing consistency every day of my life. Second, I believe that most people have become so conditioned (by schools, companies, organizations) to avoid being wrong, that they never dare to push themselves beyond preconceived limits, and thus never reach their full potential. As the actress Joan Collins said, “Show me a person who has never made a mistake and I’ll show you someone who has never achieved much.”

I enjoyed Kathryn’s talk. I found it insightful, thought-provoking and, on the whole, well delivered. Have a look.

So what can we learn about public speaking from this talk?

All in all, a great talk about an important subject. Sure, there is room for improvement, but that is the nature of public speaking. Perfect public speaking, as I said in a previous post, is an asymptote. I have little doubt that Kathryn would agree and that she would be the first to remind us that we can’t be perfect all the time.