Before Benjamin Zander’s TED Talk I used to think classical music was boring: no one I know listens to it; it’s stuck in the past; and it doesn’t connect with me emotionally.
Zander makes classical music interesting - if you haven’t, watch the video below. Quora’s community voted it as the second most must-see talk, with about 2,000 people liking it. Supported by over 340,000 views on Youtube (not including those from the TED page) the online community identify it as an interesting video. But that doesn’t mean he makes classical music interesting - to confirm it, you’ll just have to watch the video.
Zander speaks with passion - with the excitement and belief that he has something to share with the world; something that the world will love. Watch any other video about classical music (like this random video) and when you wake up again, think about why it didn’t interest you. It is similar content - but it doesn’t stick in your mind - the difference was Zander’s enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm is critical to a speech. Zander’s talk would have been dull if he didn’t believe in classical music - if he thought the situation was helpless. His passion didn’t change the content - it made it memorable. Do you remember the boring lecture at university, presented in a monotonous voice with the lecturer tiredly flipping through slides? Or do you remember the lecture where the speaker strode across the stage confident that they had something exciting to share with you? Enthusiasm can make dry content interesting, and it’s easier to remember something that is interesting.
Information can only change the world if you remember it. Something forgotten doesn’t affect you - how can it if you cannot think about it? If you remember, say that turning off a lightbulb for an hour everyday (when you leave a room) can save 22,000 W, you can then act. The information manifests itself through you - it influences the world by changing your behaviour. Your ideas can only change the world if they’re remembered - and making them memorable is about making them interesting.
The next time your presenting on a topic - think who am I being that the listeners’ eyes are not shining? If it really matters to you; if you really want to change the world; you’ll speak with passion and enthusiasm.