Have you ever heard of TED talks ? If I had to think of the SINGLE BEST USE of media, TED talks would be it. Now aren’t you curious ?
TED talks are short (usually less than 18 minutes) powerful talks by people with important and timely insights. Originally they were by just the very best and the brightest, people such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Steven Hawking. To this day, they are still given by those who have a deep special interest and expertise in a subject.
The TED talks were originally conceived in California. They have close ties with the California University system, Stanford, and all major universities the world round. They are international in scope. To be invited to speak is a rare privilege. To attend in person is enormously expensive, but all talks are provided free to everyone over the internet. TED talk conferences have branched into all major cities, and TEDx has been developed to give smaller communities the chance to participate.
Oftentimes Ted speakers are researchers, or high level thought leaders, heads of state, or industry innovators. Commonly they are scientists or extreme athletes. Occasionally they are artists of note. They are always fascinating, and always worth watching.
And while you can listen to TED talks on iTunes radio, podcasts, and elsewhere, they are best watched. There is nothing like seeing these sorts of people give these usually intense distillations of human wisdom and brilliance. If you want to see a great example, check out the Talk by Jill Bolte Taylor. In video format, it brings it so much more down to earth. The speakers seem more accessible, as though you might run into them in the grocery store.
I can tell you why a TED talk is so potent. This is because I was asked to to do one at the first TEDx conference in our area. I had done public speaking before, so I thought it would be straightforward. Wow did I have a lot to learn. A TED talk is not like an academic lecture. For our conference in northwestern Montana, I had several coaches, starting weeks in advance. One came all the way from Southern California to coach us. The coaches had to tear my style apart and put it back together again. I was lecturing, whereas they needed me to actually connect on a personal level over my material. I had to explain myself in clear ordinary nonmedical language. I had to connect, which was my biggest challenge, and I had to end with a call to action. Plus I had to get it all done in 18 minutes or less.
There are so many stories you and your family NEED to watch at TED.org and TEDx.org. I have been showing them to my kids, family and friends for years, and they are an endless source of inspiration. The TED.org website is great in that you can chose a talk by speaker, topic, or even rating. You can get an app on any platform or you can use a computer and a browser to go to TED.org. I cannot recommend then any more highly.