The first time I viewed this story it changed the way I viewed the concept of vulnerability. It is a story that brought me to my theme for this class- how do we allow vulnerability into our everyday lives and allow this to become a strength rather than a flaw? For this critique I will be focusing on story because I want to see how she weaves academic work into a narrative. Since she is a researcher I am going to look at research and how she makes this her data relatable. I also will analyze her media application and how this directly affects her presentation performance, is she engaging and how does the media support this.
Brene Brown immediately starts off telling a story with the memory of an event planner tried to redefine her title to make her more approachable, interesting, and an exciting speaker. She humanized herself before getting into her research and the details of what her interests are. Her story could be considered heavy; it involves emotion, connection, and challenging us to be seen, really seen. Shame is something we tend to walk away from, but the way she tells the story of what shame makes the topic approachable. She engages us in the story, by giving us examples that are relatable and real. It’s hard not to identify with them at some level.
She has done her research, it is her career and her way of understanding the world. She believed she could control, measure, and push the messy away and compartmentalize it. When she speaks about her tweet, “what makes you vulnerable?”, she is demonstrating her credibility, but still maintaining her connection with the audience. She presents her research as a narrative about her own process of doing the work, realizing she is in need of support, and then reengaing with the research again. She does not need to cite herself or her work, she just needs to tell her story.
Finally, her media application and presentation style I think go hand-in-hand. Her placement of images in this story works to keep the audience on track with her narrative. They give us soft places to land and reflect on the topic as she is telling us about. They are simply and yet, clear in their meaning. She also uses these images to poke fun at herself and bring in humor and wit. This is where her presentation style shines through, we are able to engage with the topics of shame and vulnerability because we are allowed to laugh at what it means to be human. She employees strong use of tone, vocal variety, facial expressions and rate to help set the flow and feeling of the story. Ultimately, I thought she nailed this. She was successful at making concepts that we tend to “numb,” comforable and okay to engage with and think about.