The 8 best TED Talks for business: Tips on working smarter
Looking for business inspiration? These eight videos offer new perspectives and strategies for thinking and working smarter
1) How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed – Daniel Levitin
Nobody is at their best when they’re stressed, even if they claim to excel in stressful situations. Stress makes you think irrationally, allowing you to make decisions on what will get you out of a situation instead of helping resolve it. That’s why neuroscientist Daniel Levitin is here to tell you how to stay calm when stressed. “We are all going to fail now and then”, he says. “The idea is to think ahead to what those failiures might be”.
Founding or running a business is tough work, and stressful situations arise more often than not. Have a listen to what Levitin has to say, and keep it in mind the next time you, your boss or one of your employees appears to not be handling the stress of work well.
2) Your elusive creative genius – Elizabeth Gilbert
Hosted by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the hugely successful novel Eat, Pray, Love, this talk breaks down the myth of the genius, and reminds us that everyone has the capacity to generate great ideas.
First, Gilbert argues against the notion that people with the best ideas must exist outside society. Instead, the author explains how genius is something that exists inside each of us. Whether it’s creating a business plan, writing a book or some of the more bizarre examples listed by the author – our genius can show itself when we least expect it.
3) Why it’s time to forget the pecking order at work – Margaret Heffernan
Margaret Heffernan is already known in the business world for acclaimed books such as The Naked Truth, Women on Top and Willful Blindness. In this talk, Heffernan argues that business doesn’t need to be a dog-eat-dog world after all.
Using easy-to-understand terms and a memorable story involving chickens, Heffernan explains why competition doesn’t always breed productivity. Instead, Heffernan reveals that successful companies don’t require fierce competition between workers, but social sensitivity and unity.
4) How to run a company with (almost) no rules – Ricardo Semler
At their very essence, companies are carefully selected groups of people, with a hierarchy of employees designed to maximise productivity. Take away those rules and regulations, and what happens? Not what you’d expect.
Preparing for cancer made Ricardo Semler embrace living life in the present, and this enlightening talk charts how he transferred that ethos to his company. Learn how Semler broke down the formal barriers between company and employee – and still achieved a highly productive, happy workforce.
5) The happy secret to better work – Shawn Achor
In business and many other industries, happiness is seen as secondary to productivity. However, in this engaging TED talk from Shawn Achor, you’ll learn that happiness can be one of the best tools a worker can have.
Achor explains that training our minds in the same way we train our bodies makes us more positive and more productive. However, it’s not just about the individual; Achor also explains how random compliments and acts of kindness can energise the workplace.
6) Got a wicked problem? First, tell me how you make toast – Tom Wujec
Don’t be put off by the title – this talk by Tom Wujec will transform how you think about collaboration and the power groups can have. Wujec starts off by explaining how drawing toast shows how people think, but then expands the concept to a business setting.
You’ll learn how business visualisation has helped failing companies return to success, and discover how an ongoing process of collaboration and refinement can seriously improve productivity.
7) The single biggest reason why startups succeed – Bill Gross
Bill Gross has seen many companies flourish, and many more fail. In this enlightening TED talk, one of the business world’s most experienced figures explores the fine line between success and failure, and analyses the common theme between the most prosperous startups in the world.
What do hugely profitable companies such as Airbnb, Instagram and Uber all have in common? It’s not what you’d expect. Watch this fascinating TED talk to find out why the most successful businesses needed more than just a good idea.
8) What it takes to be a great leader- Roselinde Torres
The title may be simple, but the content certainly isn’t. Roselinde Torres has spent over 25 years observing hundreds of corporate leaders, watching some of them succeed, and some of them fail.
Torres shares with us the three questions that every leader needs to ask themselves as they prepare to move forward in the 21st century corporate world, and argues agaisnt the common belief that the most comfortable decision is best. She encourages planning, she encourages change, and most importantly- she encourages bravery