The theme underlying this year’s TEDxKlagenfurt was TRUST. In keeping with the theme, a group of Intercultural Management (ICM) students helped prepare an installation for the “Experience Corner”, aiming to create awareness about how having a foreign accent can affect how competent, professional and trustworthy a person is perceived to be.
Throughout the day TEDxers were asked to TRUST us (trust CUAS) with two minutes of their time. During these two minutes participants put headphones on and sat in a blackened-out driverless car. They were then taken on an unexpected audio journey - listening to their virtual “driver”, other passengers, knocks on the window, and mild and strongly accented voices speaking to them or whispering from left, right and from the front console. The voices were recordings of ICM students from across the world and the sound effects were achieved using a binaural recording.
The voices challenged listeners to think about: 1. how accents generate (unconscious) biases and prejudices; 2. how accent is often associated with identity, status and social categorization; and 3. why we tend to prefer and more easily trust accents we’re more familiar with. The reactions to the CUAS car were overwhelmingly positive. The whole day was full of inspiring talks, meaningful conversations and ideas that are certainly worth spreading!
One idea that was shared with students at the School of Management in a lot more detail was a talk by speaker Melanie Weinberger (USA). Melanie came to the university to hold a special lecture on The Most Important Business You’ll Ever Build is Yourself. Here she introduced students to a five-part framework that ensures entrepreneurs build resiliency, stability and joy from the inside out. Melanie’s new company, Mindlight, does this by delivering Emotional Intelligence training and wellness programs to some of the world’s top organizations, most notably Google. Students agreed that the idea of learning to trust yourself is one of the most valuable lessons they can learn. (Eithne Knappitsch)