Our Favorite TED Talks: College & Career Edition

Have you ever tuned into a TED talk? Maybe you’ve even been lucky enough to actually attend one! No matter what you’re interested in, we can guarantee there’s a TED Talk out there that speaks to you.

#ICYMI, TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Each talk is given by an expert in one of those subjects…and beyond! We love tuning into a quick TED talk every now and then to gather some inspiration and new (and often, amazing) information. There are thousands of TED talks available, so it can seem difficult to find one that speaks to you. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to simplify the process for you! Check out our 5 favorite talks, featuring some amazing school AND career advice.

1. Nilofer Merchant – Got a Meeting? Take a Walk 

Context: Silicon Valley entrepreneur, author, and innovator, Nilofer Merchant emphasizes that sitting too much is a threat to human health. As a businesswoman, Merchant has made the resolution to take her colleagues on walks for business meetings instead of in a meeting room.

Main Point: People say if you can “talk the talk” you should be able to “walk the walk”, but Merchant says we should “Walk the Talk” by taking your meetings with you as you increase your physical activity without very much effort at all.

The Take Away: Next time you are going to meet some friends for a college club meeting or any group meeting, try doing the meeting on the move by taking a walk outside—it’s almost guaranteed that your meeting will have vastly different atmosphere than if you had your meeting sitting  in some stuffy classroom inside.




2. Dan Pink – The Puzzle of Motivation

Context: Career analyst and business management author, Dan Pink makes a lawyerly case for how everyone can better run their businesses. Pink has spent years researching the science of human motivation. Pink rethinks the idea of incentives to better encourage creativity.

Main Point: Contingent motivators like “If you do this, then you get that” can dull creativity and are found to be ineffective claims Pink. These type of motivators only work for simple clear goal problems, but for problems that require creative thinking, people should be motivated by intrinsic motivation that says “This is important to me the worker, I am learning from this, and I can be autonomous with this” instead of the simple carrot on a stick incentive. Too many businesses make their decisions based on assumptions that are not backed up by social science.

The Take Away: Everyone is dealing with complex problems that require creative thinking, which should be looked at as exciting challenges that can be solved only with thinking outside of the box. If you dream of starting your own business, consider this alternative approach to motivation.




3. Amy Cuddy – Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

Context: Social psychologist, professor, and researcher, Amy Cuddy delves into the complexities of body language and nonverbal communication and discusses how people can take back control of communicating by becoming conscious of their own body language.

Main Point: Human posture and body language effects how you are perceived by others and is a highly effective tool, if you can harness its control to being successful.

The Take Away: Stand up straight! Show confidence through your body language no matter how you might be feeling inside. Don’t let others make false judgements about you by not being conscious of your own body language.




4. Susan Cain – Power of Introverts 

Context: Former lawyer and writer, Susan Cain rethinks the societal norm that being an introvert is wrong and says instead that introverts often are capable of developing extraordinary talents and abilities and should instead be celebrated.

Main Point: Shy people too often make choices that may deny their own talents and creativity by choosing to go with the flow instead. People need to let go of the fear of not getting recognition or acceptance by other people and should focus on what they are doing rather than what others think.

The Take Away: Don’t ever feel ashamed of choosing what you want to do with your time regardless of what others think you should be doing. Do what you love, be social OR be introverted. Be YOU!




5. Margaret Heffernan – Dare To Disagree

Context: Author and entrepreneur, Margaret Heffernan discusses history and statistical evidence that points toward the fact that disagreement is the essential for progress in the world.

Main Point: Fundamental change cannot happen without challenging the status quo with disagreement and questioning commonly held beliefs.

The Take Away: If the entire class raises their hand in favor of something and you think the opposite response is true, have the courage to raise your hand and stand up for what you believe in. Don’t let the common conflict avoidance complex control your decision to disagree that might very well reshape the way everyone thinking about something that is considered common knowledge.




Written by Guest Blogger, Dan H. of Emerson College

Dashed Lines

Do you have a favorite TED talk? What get’s you inspired? Share ’em with us on Twitter or in the Comments below!


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