If you haven’t heard about TED, it’s because it’s purposely exclusive. TED is an annual conference where brilliant speakers address a small crowd of about 1,000 in Monterey, Calif. The speakers are instructed to “give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).” And most of them do. Now, the best 200 of those talks—on the broad subjects TED stands for, “Technology, Entertainment, Design”—are available for video viewing on Ted.com.
For speakers and the people who support them, Ted.com is pretty much Mount Olympus. And the very peak can be found in the Top 10 TEDTalks—the most popular recent talks from the conference—which can be seen in a highlight reel or in their entirety ( www.ted.com/index.php/talks/top10).
The top 10 range from insights a brain scientist received when she suffered a stroke, a mind-boggling presentation on “the best stats you’ve ever seen,” a Tony Robbins speech on motivation and an Al Gore speech on how to avert a climate crisis.
And there’s a business section of the website, which collects speeches by entrepreneurs on innovation and related subjects.
“Over the course of a few days, my inner cynic was beaten to a pulp by a rush of impressive presentations and a bounty of great conversations over meals and in hallway encounters,” said Newsweek’s Steven Levy after the 2007 TED conference. “It isn’t often you get to have a conversation with Jeff Bezos and Daryl Hannah—at the same time. Or finish a chat with a Google engineer and look skyward to see Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Or get a shot at helping the likes of Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson to make a giant catalog of all life on earth.”
Visitors of the website get much the same feeling.
Do yourself a favor. Block out a Friday afternoon for some inspiring and free professional development at Ted.com. And then subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed to get regular reminders of the creative possibilities of great presentations.