Spoken Word Poetry is all about engaging humanity at it's deepest level... both the poet and the audience. Their goal is always to be FELT so deeply that is changes who you are in some fundamental way - and is not positive change the purpose behind everything we do as scientists and scholars? As communicators?
We may not be composing poems, but there is much we can learn and potentially apply to not only how we construct our presentation, but from where we approach it as well.
Interestingly, this Spoken Word poem actually starts out a TED talk! Listen until 3:45.
What really stood out to me in this video is the words that she uses make this poem intriguing and draw in your attention. It's actually difficult not to pay attention when such interesting words are used! We can certainly make an effort to choose our words carefully, making an effort to be more creatively descriptive. Another thing she does is use a mixture of really unique metaphors. These metaphors cause you to really think, and therefore the message gets into your brain in a different way than most messages/ideas do.
The use of pacing and silence in this video help create a really interesting mood and emphasis, another methid of drawing in interest. He uses a lot of illiterations, which are pleasing to listen to, although a more poetic tool which probably would not be applied to most academic works. The music and media here help to emphasize his ideas and his point.
This might be my favorite of the three:
Jamila uses a great sense of rhythm as well as, obviously, articulation/pronunciation. This kind of verbal clarity drives home her words which allows them to best drive home their point. Clearly her effort and intentionality put into such a mundane action as speaking pays off well!
The standout techniques used in these videos are mainly related to form, and thus we might be tempted to dismiss them as tools that only performers care to/have the skill to use. However, I propose that our presentations will benefit from being mindful of utilizing these techniques by being enabled to sink deeper into the mind and heart of our audience. This foundation in form will thereby be catalyst to more enduring and meaningful change being affected!