TED Talk by Sarah Corbett
Activism and public speaking roles traditionally favour loud confident extrovert personalities, willing to beat the door down to be heard. Think of street fundraisers who boldly approach for donations and brush off rejection and disinterest like dandruff on a collar.
50% of the population identify as introverts. Introverts want to contribute but often struggle to be heard in meetings, groups and in the street where the loud and quick, dominate.
Sarah Corbett’s delightful and inspiring 13 minute TED Talk Video Activism Needs Introverts shows introverts how to participate without compromising themselves and becoming… an extrovert! No offense intended!
The Rise of Craftivism
Sarah is a professional activist (and therefore public speaker). She campaigns using creative, thoughtful, quieter forms which won’t lead to being arrested by police or endless public conflict. Sarah’s quiet activism opens conversations. New ideas delight and engage rather than repel and close down. The 3 methods she uses (and discusses in her book, “A Little Book of Craftivism”) are listed below. In case you think “Oh no way, how can this be useful?” as I did initially – watch the video to see evidence, examples and surprising impact of her work:
- Group Handicrafts. People slow down and think more deeply rather than rush off in reactive rage. Participating in calm, repetitive artwork together is unifying. This is a boon for the shy who can have interesting conversations without heavy duty eye contact.
- Gift Making. Creating and presenting clever and simple gifts for the influential in power. Rather than using threat, they create quirky gifts like a hand sewn handkerchief with a pertinent message. The personal thought and heartfelt message combine to create a new way to reach people.
- Provocative Art. Create art in small, personal ways like T-shirts and signs that initiate 1 to 1 conversations (something introverts are good at). They use intrigue, strategy and social movements rather than force or noise.
Contribute In Your Own Way
In my late teens, I joined a group of social activists because it looked more interesting than going to the pub every Friday night giggling in white stillettos. The group waived placards, beat drums, tied themselves to trees and dressed up in post nuclear rags. Lots of makeup. It was fun, but ineffective. I noticed the general public were uninterested and even repelled. Certainly our plucky activist numbers did not grow. I’m not saying causing a ruckus is a waste of time. It’s just one of the ways to draw attention to important causes. Perhaps a way that’s more suited to extroverted personalities. Being an introvert, I feel thrilled by Sarah Corbett’s approach.
Sarah closes with a call to Activism Action to gain the best results for everybody: Extroverts must consciously include introverts rather than ignore or dismiss their contribution. Introverts must actively join in their way, rather than give up or hang back, to ensure everyone’s unique voice is heard. To listen to more TED Talks, visit www.ted.com.