Brene Brown’s research on human connection led her down the rabbit hole of vulnerability, when she asked the question, “What makes a person whole-hearted?” Brene’s study is fascinating to me as her study of vulnerability embraced her, awoke her own journey of vulnerability, and then begged her to courageously share her experience with the world.

The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown

Three traits were chosen from Jason Ohler’s rubric to critique this story.

(10 points each)

  1. Content Understanding
  2. Story
  3. Presentation

Content Understanding-How well was an understanding of the material conveyed and addressed?

Brene Brown, Ph.D., LMSW is a research professor at the University of Houston graduate College of Social Work. She is an expert in her field, having gathered and quantified data to illustrate her depth of knowledge on vulnerability as both personal and clinical. It is clear that her Ted Talk is the culmination of her life’s work: gathering data to influence and shape the world’s perspective on vulnerability.

Score: 10

Story-Was the story compelling and engaging?

Brene’s research and personal life intersect in such a way that forces her to become the thing she hates the most: vulnerable. Her realization that to be a whole-hearted person, one must allow themselves to consistently be vulnerable. In the “greyness” of vulnerability, she was unable to grasp this “weakness” within herself, which led to a breakdown. To summarize, Brene said, “I had a breakdown, not a spiritual awakening. It was a breakdown.” That’s a very vulnerable thing to admit to a coliseum full of academics. The story shifted from average rendition of other people’s vulnerable experiences to Brene’s own whole-hearted testimonial on the power of vulnerability.


Score: 10

Presentation-How effective was the performance?

Brene appears to be having an effortless conversation with her audience at Ted Talks. She introduces herself as a “researcher/story teller”, which lends itself to the ease of telling her viewpoint on vulnerability. The images chosen for her presentation are effective, relevant, and emotionally engaging. It was refreshing that her images were used sparingly for emphasis. The content was so good that too much imagery would have been distracting.

When I add up her confidence on stage, complimentary images, and well-communicated message, Brene Brown delivers a phenomenal performance.


Score: 10

Overall: 30/30