Tag Archives: ted

Anna Deavere Smith: Four American characters

I began watching TED earlier this year.  But it wasn’t until I purchased my iPhone until I began watching TED regularly.  TED podcasts have since been removed off the iPhone.  Instead, I download the HD version on my Apple TV.  I prefer to watch it in my home office or while in my living room without distractions.

Maybe I am growing old, but I have noticed lately I tend to listen more in conversations than to speak.  I find it enjoyable to truly process what one has said, combined with body language arriving in a few short sentences on the topic which we are discussing.

It is amazing even days ago that someone told me I am being too quiet during meetings at work.  I thought to myself; actually I only want to speak when I feel something is relevant.  I’ve come to the conclusion that people enjoy sharing their opinions, relevant or not.

There are also the people who speak because they are passionate or at times annoyed about a situation.  I use to be and still am one of those people.  My passion can cause me to dominate a conversation.  I would say I am making progress.  While others would say I am less passionate or disengaged.

The reason I am mentioning this is because I really enjoy listening to the stories shared on TED.  They host very passionate people who have some great ideas to share.  I don’t watch them all completely, but I give each one a few minutes to get started.

Tonight, I watched Anna Deavere Smith portray four American characters. Not only did she act out the parts, but the stories she shared caused me to become fully engaged in each.  Nothing seemed scripted, as she shared true accounts of research she had accomplished while traveling in America.  I highly recommend watching it! Anna demonstrates her acute listening skill by replaying her own encounters with these four American characters.

Overall, TED reminds me to be a better listener and consider what can be learned by each and every person I interact with in my daily life.  Listening better has helped me improve my personal and professional relationships.