7 Moments of Audience Engagement from TED Talks

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There are certain perils to watching a TED Talk live from the audience – occasionally you’ll be asked a stumper of a philosophical question or made the brunt of a speaker’s joke. Then again, you might be given seven and a half extra minutes to live, so it’s really a toss-up. In these talks, pulled from a range of TED and TEDGlobals, watch for audience members getting in on the fun.

Arthur Benjamin does “Mathemagic”

Armed with standard calculators, audience members at TED2005 race mathemagician Arthur Benjamin through a dizzying maze of digits, and lose. At 8:05, he matches audience members’ DOB with the day of the week they were born.



Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life

Jane McGonigal’s SuperBetter helped her recover from a head injury. At TEDGlobal 2012, she passes on the healing to the audience, granting them 7.5 extra minutes of life. At 13:00, watch the life-extending action begin.



Michael Sandel: The lost art of democratic debate

For philosophy professor Michael Sandel, lively debate is the key to a strong democracy – so he calls on the attendees of TED2010 to bring it back. Throughout the talk, audience members share thoughts on Aristotle and on a then-recent Supreme Court decision.



Charles Hazlewood: Trusting the ensemble

“Did you know that TED is a tune?” asks conductor Charles Hazlewood at TEDGlobal 2011. Starting at 8:48, he leads the audience in rousing chorus inspired by the letters T-E-D.



Beau Lotto + Amy O’Toole: Science is for everyone, kids included

Neuroscientist Beau Lotto pulls the audience into some moments of playful discovery onstage at TEDGlobal 2012. In this talk about the joy of scientific inquiry, his slides show off a language gotcha!. At 12:35, he calls a fellow TED Speaker up to be experimented on.



Evelyn Glennie: How to truly listen

Music can be heard with your whole body, says Grammy-winning deaf percussionist and composer Evelyn Glennie. At TED2003, she asks the audience to listen differently, to rethink music and, at 12:15, to clap the sound of falling snow.



Keith Barry: Brain magic

One after another, audience members are bedazzled and baffled by Keith Barry’s psychokinetic hijinks at TED2004. He creates phantom sensations, guesses names of ex-boyfriends and narrowly misses one very sharp object.





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