Daniel Cohen’s “For Argument’s Sake”


One of my students delivered his TED Analysis Presentation last month on Daniel H. Cohen’s “For Argument’s Sake.”  Check it out below:


One of the things I like about Cohen’s Talk is the way he grabs the audience’s attention through question.  This immediately makes me sit back and wonder why I argue, what I’m trying to do when I argue, and why it matters.  I do feel like opening with a question is one of the most overdone, cliche ways to begin a presentation.  Infomercials have all but killed opening with a question.  However, I like the way Cohen uses questions here to really get me (and his audience) thinking.

I didn’t like Cohen’s slides.  He could have separated each bullet on its own separate slide or not used slides at all.  He could have avoided the cheesy clip art and the faceless alien creatures.  I also thought his pacing was much too fast.  I had to rewind the TED Talk several times to even understand what he was saying.

Cohen’s delivery was authentic, natural, and passionate.  I liked that he established his credibility in the beginning and that he supported each of his three points (the three arguments) with ample support and real life application.

One of the assignments for my students in Professional Communication and Presentation as well as Public Speaking is to analyze a TED Talk based on that speech’s content/message, delivery, and visual aids (slides or props).  Being able to analyze a Talk is so essential for speakers to learn what works and what doesn’t.

When you watch a TED speaker, do you pay more attention to the content, delivery, or visuals?  A combination of the three?


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