TED Conversations

Sara Kim

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What do you want to understand?

This universe is filled to the brim with mysteries, and to understand it seems to be one of our goals in life. We do what we do to gain some level of understanding and I believe that this is one of the essential things to gaining happiness, a utopia. Tell me, what do you want to know?


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    Feb 4 2013: This isn't exactly an answer to your question, but one thing I'd like to get better at is talking on the air. I listen to some talk radio, and frequently call in from home and talk to the hosts and guests on the air. But I've noticed it's hard to do, you're listening to the hosts and guests, you're trying to think what you want to say, you're trying to be entertaining, you know thousands of people are listening to you. The fact is, I've learned a great deal from calling in to radio talk shows, but I think I would learn more if I would get more skillful at it.
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      Feb 4 2013: What usually helps to get rid of this sort of 'pressure' is not to pretend and just to be 'yourself'. And even though this 'thousands of people are listening to you' doesn't change anything but your 'imagination' of it, which causes many people to 'freeze'. And even though the number of an audience can be incredibly high, all you are doing while speaking to them is just having multiple 'one on one' conversation at the same time - that's all and nothing to fear, especially as a radio-talk is a one-way communication anyway without any chance for 'negative' feedback ... :o)
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        Feb 7 2013: Yeah, thanks, Lejan .. I remember a screener telling me that do you have talk radio in Germany, here in the States we have plenty where the host and possible guests sit in the studio and talk on the air and people sitting at home can call in and participate in the conversation. But first you have to talk to a screener off-air to tell them what you want to say so they'll decide if they want to let you on. A screener said the same thing, think of it as a conversation between you and the people on the other end of the phone.

        Another problem I encounter is that I lack the "killer instinct," that is, sometimes I have a point to make that's actually better than what the host or guests are saying, but I don't make it because I'm afraid of embarassing them. Any tips for overcoming that?

        I may not be the best talker for radio, as I don't really like to talk or think quickly.

        My second cousin, Amy Van Dyken, is a fulltime radio host here in L.A. She first made her fame winning six gold medals in Olympics.
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          Feb 8 2013: It is as you describe in Germany too and I think in most countries which have free radio broadcasting. The screening sorts out the 'idiots' and the topics and quality varies by the stations.

          Regarding the 'killer instinct' it may help if you consider a discussion as an exchange of minds and views and not as a 'battlefield'. No better argument is able to embarrass anyone intelligent, so I don't see any reason why you should keep good points for yourself. As in any other discussion you are allowed to disagree with the host or the guests or to make better points as them. Actually, this is what makes it even more interesting to all the other listeners, as it widens the frame and allows for more and controversial perspectives. And as long as you stay polite and formal in those situations, everything is just fine.

          Disagreeing is no sign of disrespect and any good host will be able to 'work' with it to improve the quality of the talk, or incorporate new and better arguments for the same reasons. But stay on topic, as otherwise the host will 'stop' you to keep the talk focused.

          What does your cousin think about this?
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      Feb 4 2013: I think that it's important not to be afraid, but rather confident. When I say to have confidence, I do not mean that one should do something once and think that because it worked that one time it's good enough. I mean have confidence in your capabilities, in yourself. It's the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare. The tortoise who was clearly slower than the rabbit, but took on the challenge of the race anyways ended up winning. I am sure you will find some way Greg, to boost your talking skills on air. I admit that i'm still nervous when it comes to public speaking but I prepare myself thoroughly and practice to pride myself in the skill.
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        Feb 7 2013: Thanks, Sara. I usually approach it like it's more humble not to be perfectly confident, that if I'm not perfectly confident I'll be more alert. When I do come with confidence, it still goes a little weak. I was asking Lejan . above how you get the "killer instinct," sometimes I have better things to say than the host or guest, like a better point to make if we disagree about something, but I don't say it for fear of embarassing the host or guests. I wonder how you overcome that? Aren't Asian people into that, helping others "save face"?

        Do you have talk radio in Canada? It's pretty neat down here, you can call in and talk to pretty high-up people, like I've talked to police chiefs, important politicians, rock stars, museum directors, authors. I really recommend it as a way to learn.

        I may not be the best to call in, as I don't really like to talk or think quickly.

        My second cousin, Amy Van Dyken, is a fulltime radio host down here in Los Angeles. She first became famous in the Olympics, winning six golds for swimming.

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