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12 Best Ted Talks of All Time (For Business Leaders in 2018)

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If you're in business management or just want to learn more about business, there are many helpful business presentations online that you can learn from. One of the best sources of educational, motivational, and informational presentations for business professionals is Ted Talks. They are also a good resource to study if you're trying to improve your speaking skills.

Giving a live presentation
Improve your own speaking skills by watching the speakers on Ted Talks video. (Image Source: Envato Elements)

You may be wondering: what are Ted Talks?

Ted Talks are a series of short talks on a variety of topics that are free to listeners. They are known for attracting excellent speakers with innovative ideas. Actual Ted Talks differ from regular business presentations because each speaker must give their presentation from memory and they are limited to 18 minutes.

These short, online presentations include such business-relevant topics as leadership, management, business strategy, and more. There are talks to inform, talks to inspire, and talks to entertain.

In this article, I'm sharing a collection of twelve of what I believe to be the best Ted Talks for business leaders and other business professionals.

12 Best Business Ted Talks

Here's a carefully curated collection of what are, in my opinion, some of the best Ted Talks of all time for you to learn from. For your convenience, I've separated the Ted Talks into four main areas:

  1. Business leadership
  2. Informative
  3. Inspiring
  4. Business Strategy

To learn even more about running a successful business, you may want to review these tutorials:

Now, let's take a look at the Ted Talks for each area separately:

1. Business Ted Talks on Leadership

Leadership is an important part of doing business. Here are some of the best Ted Talks on leadership. Use these talks to improve your own leadership skills.

Simon Sinek:  How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Simon Sinek started out in advertising, but has since written several best-selling books on leadership. In this Ted talk, Sinek explores why some companies and individuals are successful and others are not.

In the talk, Sinek explains how successful people and organizations are different based on how they focus on the questions: what, how, and why. Hint: most people have the wrong focus when they try to promote products or ideas. Learn about that difference in this eye-opening talk.

Rosalinde Torres: What It Takes to Be a Great Leader

This business Ted Talk by Rosalinde Torres explains why companies are failing to produce leaders. Torres is a senior partner & managing director at the Boston Consulting Group who has observed leaders in hundreds of corporate leaders and companies of all types for over 25 years.

In this Ted Talk video, Torres points out that the world is now more global, more digital, and more connected than ever. As a result, traditional leadership development is no longer effective. This Ted Talk explains what how develop leaders in today's world and identifies the questions you need to be asking as a business leader in the 21st century.

David Logan: Tribal Leadership

David Logan is an author and teacher. Logan has spent over ten years studying tribes, which are naturally occurring groups that occur anytime humans get together.

In this Ted Talk, Logan discusses the concept of tribes and discusses their importance in the business world and the world in general. Logan identifies the five general types of tribes that form and explains how each tribe interacts with society, including the workplace. This is a must-see talk for the thoughtful leader who wants to understand and improve their workplace culture.

2. Business Ted Talks That Inform

Knowledge is power, or the so the saying goes. As a business professional, the saying is certainly true. It's important to be informed if you want to run a good business.

Susan Cain: The Power Of Introverts

As a leader, are you overlooking introverts? According to Susan Cain, you probably are. Cain is a speaker and the author of the popular book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.

In this Ted Talk, Cain explains what it's like to be an introvert. Cain also builds a compelling case for the contributions that introverts make--including the contributions of many introverts who later became famous. The bottom line: if you're overlooking introverts, you're missing out. Learn why in this informative talk.

Angela Lee Duckworth: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Angela Duckworth teaches psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Duckworth is also the Founder and CEO of Character Lab, a non-profit dedicated to the science of character development.

While teaching school Duckworth made a shocking discovery that talent and IQ aren't the best predictors of success. Rather, success seems to be determined by a character trait Duckworth calls "grit." Learn more about what "grit" is and the difference it makes in this fascinating talk.

Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your Friend

If you're a business person, you've probably experienced stress. That's a bad thing, right? Not necessarily. Kelly McGonigal is a psychologist who studies stress and how it affects us. McGonigal lectures at Stanford University and has written several popular books about stress. 

McGonigal's studies show that you can change the way you react to stress and the way it affects your body and life. In this startling talk, you'll learn the details about some of the potential benefits of stress and how to combat the stress's harmful effects. This Ted Talk isn't only for business leaders, but for anyone who deals with stress on a regular basis.

3. Business Ted Talks That Inspire

You may not consider inspiration a part of doing business, but it is. A good business professional needs to find their inspiration to be able inspire others. Here are some Business Ted Talks to help you find your own inspiration.

Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work 

Shawn Achor is a speaker and author who studies happiness. Achor has written several books including The Happiness Advantage. Achor's also founded GoodThink, Inc, an organization dedicated to teaching about happiness.

This Ted Talk video uses humor to illustrate the importance of happiness in the workplace. Achor explores the outliers--people who are above average. By studying outliers, Achor examines how happiness affects achievement-namely, that optimism is an important factor in success. Do you have the right formula for success? Find out in this Ted Talk.

Bel Pesce: 5 Ways to Kill Your Dreams

Bel Pesce is a Ted Fellow, an entrepreneur, and also an MIT graduate who formerly worked in Silicon Valley. Pesce has since returned to Brazil and has been named one of the "10 Most Admired Leaders in Brazil."

In this helpful Ted Talk presentation, Pesce tackles (and debunks) five common success myths that may be holding you back. Whether you're thinking of starting a business or want to tackle a passion project, this talk can help you identify faulty thinking and untrue perceptions that may be holding you back.

Matt Cutts: Try Something New for 30 Days

Matt Cutts became famous as the head of Google's web spam team and as a member of the search optimization team. Currently, Cutts is the acting administrator of the United States Digital Service--an organization that manages technology projects for the U.S. government.

In this short inspirational Ted Talk, Cutts encourages listeners to conduct a 30-day experiment of trying something new. Cutts also shares personal experiences on the impact of completing a 30-day challenge, which include improved confidence and energy. This talk will make you want to start your own 30-day experiment--and it can make a real difference in your life.

4. Business Ted Talks on Strategy

Business strategy refers to the way that you achieve your goals. In these talks, you'll learn some new techniques to help you improve your business strategy.

Linda Hill: How to Manage for Collective Creativity

Linda Hill is a business professor at Harvard University and the chair of the Leadership Initiative. Hill has written several popular books and received several awards for innovation.

Creativity and innovation are important for any business. In this engaging Ted Talk, Hill explains that the typical management style doesn't work if you want to encourage creativity and innovation in your organization. The talk also points out that true innovation is the result of teamwork and not individual genius. Learn how to encourage creativity in your own organization with the techniques Hill shares here.

Seth Godin: How to Get Your Ideas Spread

Seth Godin is an award-winning blogger, entrepreneur, and popular author. Godin is perhaps best known for this blog, which is known for short but insightful posts on a wide variety of topics. 

This Ted Talk video explains why spreading ideas should be part of your winning business strategy. According to Godin, those who successfully spread ideas are the ones who can actually implement changes. Godin covers the effects mass media has had on the spread of ideas, but goes on to explain that attempts to spread ideas aren't always successful. Mass marketing no longer works. In this Business Ted Talk, learn what causes ideas to spread and how you can use the spread of ideas for your own business marketing.

Susan Colantuono: The Career Advice You Probably Didn't Get

Susan Colantuono founded and serves as CEO of Leading Women, a consulting firm for companies who want to close the gender gap in business. Leading Women has worked with dozens of organizations around the world to encourage women's leadership development.

In this business Ted Talk, Colantuono tackles the tough question of why there are so few women in upper management. The talk identifies three key elements that companies look for in leaders and explains why women often don't demonstrate one of those key competencies--even though they may have that ability. If you're a woman in business or if your business wants to advance women, this Ted Talk video is a must-watch.

Create Your Own Professional Business Talk

Even if you don't speak for Ted Talks chances are good that, as a business professional, you'll need to give professional presentations. If you do need to give a professional presentation, consider using a professional presentation template to give your presentation an extra degree of professionalism.

You can find presentation templates on Envato Elements or on GraphicRiver. Or, browse through these presentation roundups to find a presentation template that appeals to you:

You may also want to check out our eBook on presentations: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations.

 Free eBook PDF Download Make a Great Presentation

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Conclusion

There are plenty of online resources for business leaders, including many from Ted Talks. I've just shared some of the best Ted Talks for your business. Now it's time for you to use what you've learned. Or, perhaps you'd like to share your own business knowledge by creating your own professional presentation. Why not start today?

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