Humor from a philosopher/builder

Recorded at TEDxHouston, June, 2010

Dan Phillips demonstrates in this talk how effectively a speaker can use humor to connect with the audience. This is one of the more amusing speeches about home building you will ever see.  He also incorporates an unusual use of his visual aids, using is photos at first to illustrate his points as he makes them, then beginning a slide show that runs as a background to his remarks, but not referring to them as they scroll through.

Being extremely knowledgeable about their subject, speakers must take care to avoid using jargon or complex ideas that fly over the heads of the listeners.  Dan seemed to violate this rule at about the 5:05 mark in this talk as he says, “Humans have a need for maintaining consistency of the apperceptive mass.”  But he immediately translates that into plain English.  Extra credit is due for his expanding our vocabulary while using a new term perfectly in context.

The question is often raised as to what the proper attire is for a presentation. The short answer is that it is largely context-dependent.  Dan’s casual clothing was of a piece with his homespun speaking style and the self-effacing humor which fills his speech.

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