6 TED Talks to boost your communication skills

Step it up a notch with these tips from these informative and engaging talks. By Priya Prakasan

Communication is key to making connections, building relationships, driving engagement, promoting a mission, and finding a way to solve problems. But it isn’t always easy. Leaders have to continually hone their skills. So here are a few TED Talks to help you become an effective communicator.

1. Celeste Headlee: 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation
Celeste Headlee is an award-winning journalist and accomplished speaker who discusses the importance of honing interpersonal communications skills and maintaining a balance between talking and listening. In this TED talk, she shares 10 strategies that she finds especially useful. Some of these include asking open-ended questions, going with the flow (even when you wish to interrupt) and listening effectively to improve conversational competence. The public radio host has had her share of experience with difficult conversations and her years of interviewing experience give her a unique perspective on effective ways to have a better conversation.
Watch it here.

2. Nancy Duarte: The Secret Structure of Great Talks
CEO and author of several books Nancy Duarte believes that presentations are influential tools that have the power to change the world when used effectively. In this TED talk, Nancy shares the power of public presentations and how you can weave stories into presentations to make them more engaging and relatable. She shares the three key features to giving a great presentation—being audience-centric, understanding the role of the presentation, and wrapping the content into a story. These inputs are definitely insightful for those looking to present in an impactful manner.
Watch it here.

3. Julian Treasure: How to Speak So That People Want to Listen
In this TED Talk, Julian Treasure, a sound consultant and author, offers practical exercises to improve communication skills. He shares some key habits as well as a few deadly sins of speaking that keep people from developing into great communicators. Julian also shares very practical tips that can be used on a daily basis to refine communication skills in both personal and professional environments.
Watch it here.

4. Stanley McChrystal: Listen, Learn…Then Lead
Stanley McChrystal is a retired United States Army general. His remarkable achievements and the snippets he shares from his military operations makes this TED talk a whole lot more interesting. The four-star general shares the diverse leadership styles he encountered and the lessons he learnt from them on how to communicate with purpose. He emphasises the role of communication in bridging differences in experience, culture, and understanding. The general gives insight into how leaders can create a shared purpose by communicating transparency, actively listening, and absorbing lessons from those they lead.
Watch it here.

5. David Grady: How to Save the World From Bad Meetings
David Grady is an information security manager who shares some incredibly helpful solutions to putting an end to the mindless time wasting that goes on in meeting rooms. He addresses a common problem most people have to deal with on a regular basis—poorly run meetings. In this TED Talk, David uses his communications experience to transform complex problems into understandable challenges.
Watch it here.

6. Laura Trice: Remember to Say Thank You
Laura Trice is a counsellor and life coach who talks about the power of two small yet significant words—thank you. Not all conversation results in agreement; often disagreements can spark of new ideas, force people to re-examine old notions, and result in a more productive dialogue. So we need smart people with strong opinions. But rarely do we value their contribution and make them feel appreciated. Laura emphasises the importance of praise and admiration in helping your team move forward after conflict. And if you were in such a situation would you ever ask to be thanked? Trice tries to pack in quite a bit in this simple 3-minute talk that could help you start important conversations and change the way you communicate.
Watch it here

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