What is it about TED Talks that makes them so engaging and inspirational? Is it that they look at topics in a way we hadn’t previously considered? How they open our eyes to parts of our world to which we may have been blind? Is it the thrill of hearing an expert passionately communicate their field of study to an audience of novices? Or is it just the fancy gloss of a presentation that can make anything seem interesting?
Saturday Night Live writer Will Stephen, who has penned such sketches as “Drake’s Beef”, would likely assert that the latter is more critical to a smart-sounding TED Talk. To demonstrate the point, he gave his own TEDx Talk (similar, but organized at a more local level and not directly overseen by TED), and what did he talk about? Nothing.
“Hear that? That’s ‘nothing,'” he said to start his talk. “Which is what I, as a speaker at today’s conference have for you all: I have nothing. Nada, zip, zilch, zippo…I have absolutely nothing to say whatsoever. And yet, through my manner of speaking, I will make it seem like I do.”
From there, he carries on, saying… well, nothing, but saying it (or lack of it) with a passionate and inquisitive tone, all while strategically moving his hands, adjusting his glasses, interacting with the audience, working in a personal anecdote, and sharing some numbers on a PowerPoint presentation. For example, “Number of talks [being given at the moment]: 1,” “2×6=12,” and “6×2=12.”
You’ll genuinely learn nothing from this talk, or at least more about nothing, so check it out above.
Featured image: TEDx Talks