15 Phenomenal TED Talks You Need to Watch Today

    by Ginny Soskey

    Date

    July 2, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    vortexOften, we inbound marketers learn from inbound marketing blogs written by inbound marketers who sell inbound marketing software or run inbound marketing agencies ... and it can get kind of stale. We're all writing and reading about the same thing, so it becomes this vortex of similar content that can be hard to sift through to find things you didn't already know. It's hard to stay inspired, too.

    There is one type of content that can help us get out of this vortex: TED Talks. Featuring presentations from some of the most brilliant minds in the world, TED Talks cover every topic under the sun in an easy-to-understand and inspiring way.

    So to help you break out of your typical content mold and learn something new to make you better at your job, we've compiled 15 of our favorite TED talks. Watch them. You'll learn, laugh, and maybe even cry. And if you're itching to see a TED-style talk in person, you can come to INBOUND 2013 and attend our version, INBOUND: Bold Talks

    On Marketing and Branding

    1) Renny Gleeson: “404, The Story of a Page Not Found”

    Ever been searching for something online and then, all of a sudden, you hit a dead end? You've gotten a 404 error. For some companies, a 404 page is just a functional alert to tell users that they've tried to reach an unreachable destination ... but it doesn't have to be this way. Gleeson suggests an alternative: "What if this error page was also an opportunity?" You'll have to watch the video yourself to see how these "well-designed moments can build brands."

    2) Joseph Pine: “What Consumers Really Want”

    In each economic period of history, customers have demanded different things. In the industrial economy when mass production developed, it was all about keeping costs low to distribute goods to as many people as possible. Then, the economy evolved to be more of a service industry, where companies were all about producing quality. Now, we're in an "experience economy" and companies need to be concerned with "rendering authenticity." Learn why authenticity is crucial to your business' success -- and how to make sure you can achieve it in Pine's talk below.

    3) Andrew Stanton: "The Clues to a Great Story"

    If you want to get some brilliant storytelling tips from the writer of all three Toy Story movies -- all while laughing your head off -- check out Stanton's TED Talk below. Although, be warned that he does use some not safe for work (NSFW) language.

    4) Kevin Allocca: "Why Videos Go Viral"

    One of the greatest mysteries of our generation is how certain content goes viral. Who would have predicted that Rebecca Black's "Friday" would be so horribly awesome that it would get millions and millions of views? Not me. Luckily, Allocca figured out what all viral videos have in common -- which may come in handy next time your boss or client asks you to make a video "go viral." ;-)

    5) Sebastian Wernicke: "Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics (about TEDTalks)"

    Ever wondered what it would take to create the best -- and worst -- TED Talk of all time? Based on aggregate data from every TED talk video on the TED website, Wernicke gives us some pointers on selecting topics, words, and even mood lighting to knock your talk out of the park ... or make it flop. If you're giving any sort of presentation soon, you should definitely check out Wernicke's talk.
     

    On Creativity and Inspiration

    6) Elizabeth Gilbert: "Your Elusive Creative Genius"

    As the author of Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert got a lot of awful questions about creativity after her success with her novel. People came up to her all the time and asked her if she was scared that the best of her creativity and success was behind her ... which is a very depressing way to think about life. Instead of wallowing in anxiety, Gilbert refocused on embracing her genius -- not defining herself by it. Here's her story, as well as her advice for other creatives.

    7) Steven Johnson: "Where Good Ideas Come From"

    According to Johnson, creativity is a state of mind, so our main question is: "How do you get your brain into environments ... where innovation happens?" It's not as hard as you think. Check out how to harness your "Eureka!" moments into something sustainable from Johnson below.

    8) J.K. Rowling: "The Fringe Benefits of Failure"

    Although it's kind of depressing to think about, we know we're not always going to be successful in life ... but it doesn't make failure sting any less. It might be something small -- your favorite variation loses in an A/B test -- or maybe it's something large like a 3,000 word blog post that flops. Rowling encourages us to look on the bright side in this TED talk: there really can be an upside to failure. Definitely a talk to keep in mind when you're feeling knocked down by marketing, or just life in general. 

    9) Derek Sivers: "Weird, or Just Different?"

    There are two sides to every coin -- something that you find weird may be enticing to someone else. For example, foods like whipped cream, flan, and Good & Plenty's give me the creeps ... but they might be someone else's favorite foods in the world. Sivers reminds us of how our preconceived notions of what is normal or weird can shape how we think, an important reminder for all of us creating content for an international audience.

    On Career Success and Happiness

    10) Amy Cuddy: "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are"

    This is probably my favorite talk on the whole list. Cuddy talks about a feedback loop in your brain that helps you fake it until you make it. If you're not feeling confident in a high-stress, evaluative situation (a job interview or client presentation, for example), Cuddy has some tips to help you transform from an Average Joe into Superman -- all within two minutes of your time.

    11) Arianna Huffington: "How to Succeed? Get More Sleep"

    In many companies today, people get bragging rights for staying up 'til all hours of the night, slaving over projects ... but in reality, you could be much more successful if you got the right amount of shut-eye. Not to say that level of dedication isn't needed at times, but it shouldn't be the norm for us every day. In the video below, Huffington (who will be a keynote speaker at INBOUND 2013) gives us some quick advice for being more successful at our jobs and happier with our lives through one small change.

    12) Susan Cain: "The Power of Introverts"

    Although extroverts are often revered in our society of social networking and uber-connectivity, being an introvert isn't a bad thing. In fact, almost half of our society is made of up introverts ... so why don't we value them more? Whether you're an introvert or extrovert, this talk will be eye-opening -- and maybe will inspire you to work more successfully with your team at work.

    13) Shawn Achor: "The Happy Secret to Better Work"

    It's the old chicken or the egg conundrum: Does productive work make you happier, or does being happy make you more productive? Historically, our society believes the former ... but it doesn't always work out that way in reality. Achor argues on behalf of the latter -- and her take on this conundrum may help you be happier at work.

    14) Julian Treasure: "5 Ways to Listen Better"

    Whether you're a marketer, sales representative, PR professional, or web developer, listening is a tremendously important skill for your job. According to Treasure, "We're losing our listening." To help get it back, Treasure has five relatively easy exercises you can try. 

    15) Simon Sinek: "How Great Leaders Inspire Action"

    Being a great leader isn't always easy, but breaking down why leaders are great is. It all starts with one simple question: "Why?" Using examples like Apple and Martin Luther King, Sinek breaks down exactly what makes a great leader, and how you can become one yourself. Whether you're an entry-level marketer or a C-suite executive, this talk will inspire you.

    Which TED Talk is most inspiring to you? Do you have any other favorites not already on this list? 

    Image credit: quapan

                                         

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