Who doesn’t love TED Talks? I learn something new every time I watch one and I can easily fall down the binge-watch rabbit hole once I find a playlist on an especially interesting topic. In case you don’t know what TED Talks are, just think of them as bite-sized speeches on a specialized subject given by experts in a variety of fields.
The talks highlighted below are some of my favourites; they delve into marketing trends, soft skills and how to maximize your career potential. So basically, everything a communications professional should know.
Kick back and absorb some knowledge.
“Conversations are not a promotional opportunity.”
We’re having conversations all day long: by the watercooler with our co-workers, on the phone with media and in team meetings. But how much are we gaining from these conversations? Radio host Celeste Headlee gives advice on how you can walk away from your conversations with stronger relationships with your peers and a greater breadth of knowledge.
“It is the critical relationship in your career.”
Having a mentor is nice, but Business Executive Carla Harris says that having a sponsor is absolutely critical to move up in your career. She explains why it’s so important to have someone advocate for you in the office, how to find that person and how to make them your personal cheerleader.
“Stop equating experience with ability.”
Entrepreneur Jason Shen makes the argument that we need hiring practices to catch up to 21st-century realities, where people are doing jobs that don’t match their degrees and short-term stints are increasingly common. He also provides examples of how job candidates can stand out during the application process.
“Widen your travels through your social universe.”
Organizational psychologist and professor Tanya Menon brings up a dreaded subject: networking. But she raises a fascinating conundrum; if we continue to travel in the same social circles every day, we narrow our wealth of opportunities. Her talk encourages us to step outside our comfort zone to have potentially meaningful connections in unexpected places.
“Curated content you actually enjoy.”
Long gone are the days of Mad Men; bring in the mathematicians instead. Advertising researcher Kristi Rogers lays out a compelling case that experimentation and optimization are crucial in the deliverance of online ads. And companies that invest in their digital outreach will see vastly higher ROI, and consumers will finally see ads for products they actually want to buy.
“Using a lot of words but not saying a lot.”
In this funny talk, Communications Consultant Thea Knight tackles the language of “business”. Being able to speak this language is supposed to hint at your level of competence and experience. But why did we talk speaking English, and start speaking this new language instead? And is it really helping us be better communicators? (Spoiler alert: no).
“Be aggressive about your ambition.”
In 2018, Stacey Abrams became the first black woman in the United States to be nominated by a major party for governor. Before she embarks on a new project, she asks herself three questions that help her define the scope and possibilities of her ambition. For anyone who wants to start a new initiative at work or start a business, you should figure out the answers to these questions first.
“We need a digital economy where our data is not for sale.”
Techno-sociologist (cool job title, right?) Zeynep Tufekci talks about the algorithms we interact with every day and how the biggest tech companies in the world control what we see on the web, and won’t explain to us how they do it. A fascinating talk for any digital professional, and anyone who is concerned about their data privacy.
Marketer Seth Godin has one of the most-watched TED Talks for a reason. While he gave this talk in 2003, his ideas continue to hold weight all these years later. We’re inundated with ads all the time and have learned to tune them out and ignore products in the store that we don’t need. To stand out, brands have to be (you’re going to hear this word a lot during his talk) remarkable.
“We’re attracted to brands, just like we’re attracted to people.”
In a culture of endless choices and tech obsession, “Brand Matchmaker” Sarah Willersdorf makes the case that marketing teams still have a lot to learn about how to capture people’s attention and make them pause and ponder… right before they swipe and keep moving.