I’m a big TED talk fan … as are millions of others, apparently. This past Sunday, the longstanding news show, 60 Minutes featured a story about the TED talks phenomenon and it seems everywhere you turn, people are talking about TED talks. For good reason, it seems to me. They’re a fabulous resource – free, accessible, intelligent, thought provoking. Who’d have thought that listening to lectures would become such a widespread activity of choice for people of all ages and walks of life, all over the world? The combination of creative ideas and personal stories is a potent one and the 18 minute maximum length makes them easy to incorporate into our busy lives, either as part of our work day, or on our own time.
Some of the talks are quite appropriate to the workplace, offering sage advice on the importance of teams, listening and learning, how to be creative and innovative, even how to motivate people to do their very best work. There’s actually a whole playlist dedicated to A Better You, which includes 13 talks, speaking about everything from the power of vulnerability to the importance of body language, to the difference between winning and succeeding, to why we should try to be wrong more often!
While often viewed by individuals on their own devices, TED talks are also great tools for staff meetings and get-togethers. They’re entertaining and informative and they spark great conversation. While they might not fit a narrow definition of workplace training, they certainly qualify as growth and development. They’re also an excellent way of generating enthusiasm for particular values and ways of being and working together. Moreover, as organizations that promote ideas, public libraries would do well to encourage their staff to ponder the countless ideas offered on the ted website.