Thank you TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design for those who don't know what the letters stand for!) for existing. We'd all be the poorer without you.
So just why do we love TED Talks so much?
First, the range of speakers is fabulous: from filmmaker JJ Abrams to Brene Brown, vulnerability researcher, to Philip Zimbardo, psychologist, and even Ruby Wax has done a TED Talk. Scientists, business men and women, artists, writers, physicists, Nobel laureates, software designers, journalists, memoirists, soldiers; the impressive list grows and grows.
Second, the topics are phenomenal. You can listen to a TED Talk on refugees, getting a good night's sleep, washing your hands, the genius of ant colonies and seemingly a zillion other subjects. You can always find a talk on something you're interested in.
Third, they are only up to 18 minutes long and that's it. How great is that? How many of us have started off quite engaged and intrigued at a lecture or presentation and then it goes on and on an on and you lose the will to live (party conferences, take note!).
What a great example to set - powerful, potent, dynamic, even life-changing messages can be delivered in 18 minutes or under with no razzle-dazzle or hype.
Fourth, just about every speaker we've watched is a great presenter and we should know since our Presentation Skills workshops are our most popular courses and we have been known to be super-critical of bad presenting. It's worth watching a good Ted Talk a couple of times, first because of the content, but it's then worth watching again to observe the excellent presentation skills on show.
Some of the speakers may start off nervous but because they are so passionate about their subjects, that emotion trumps the nerves and what we are left with is inspiring presenting. They engage with their audience and create dialogue even when they are the only ones talking.
They use the whole stage and aren't static or stuck behind a lectern holding on for dear life. They use great visual aids that enhance their stories rather than endless PowerPoint slides to convey information.
They all have a great story to tell, a message to deliver, a point to make; many have a call to arms, encouraging us to take action - and believe me, we at Impact Factory often embrace those calls to action wholeheartedly.
Fifth, every TED Talk that we recommend is a great learning and support tool. There's so much depth and insight in those 18 minutes that our post course resource pages always include relevant TED Talks that directly relate to the specific course our delegates have attended.
Sixth, it's really hard not to get emotionally involved when someone else is expressing their emotions in an accessible, welcoming way. TED Talks engage emotions and remind us of things many of us have forgotten - about our humanity, our community, our connectedness.
All in under 18 minutes.
And that's why we love TED Talks.
By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory