WPGM Commentary: What A TED Talk Can Teach You…


In March 2014, TED celebrates its 30th anniversary.

I always assume everyone knows TED! For starters, TED is an acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design. Richard Saul Wurman’s observation of a powerful convergence among three fields: technology, entertainment and design gave birth to this platform in 1984 and ever since, it hasn’t failed in sharing ideas worth spreading. TED is a benchmark for what a social business model stands for.

My first TED experience was while attending finishing school in Lagos, Nigeria (Poise Finishing School), one of our modules was a class on enhancing our presentation skills. Our facilitator made us watch a TED talk which left me deep in thoughts. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s danger of a single story is a delight to watch. Our facilitator’s objective was explaining to us what carriage and presentation skills could project about our personality. I was thrilled with the speaker’s point of view; for obvious reasons, her perspective was enlightening.

“The Danger Of A Single Story”:

Her 18-minute moment on the red spot at TED was revealing, concise and insightful. I also observed the effect and skill of fusing a talk into 18 minutes; most especially how our non-verbal communication projected perceptions about us we were blind to. At the end of the class, I continued my affair with search engine Google and she was fair enough to tell me all I needed to know about TED Talks.

Thandie Newton’s talk on “Embracing Otherness Embracing Myself” was the first fruit of my Google affair, I still use her video as an ice breaker while starting my training sessions on self-awareness. Thandie’s insights on self, opened up a perspective I was blind to. She is a skillful British actress who has made her marks as a screen goddess. Her sense of awareness is admirable.

“Embracing Otherness Embracing Myself”:

Going through her profile, Brene Brown isn’t the the kind of TED speaker I would have loved to listen to. I assumed as someone from the academia, I was in for a lecture. However, her talk on “The Power Of Vulnerability” hit home. After listening, I felt like a water-bag broke inside of me and let go of every emotion I wasn’t even aware I held back.

In a world where men are told to be men and subdue emotions to conform to society norms, Berne’s perspective was all I needed to embrace my vulnerability. Her TED talk became my therapy and with time, I healed from wounds I never knew I carried all along. After watching Brene’s back to back talk on TED, I vowed never to judge a TED talk by its speaker’s profile. Up till this moment, I am sold in and a full time student of TED.

Today, TED has proven that sharing makes us more aware and we are all connected. In sharing, we inspire, change more lives and leave footprints on the hearts of many. We help ordinary people validate their views that we are all not alone. We also contribute our own quarter in changing the world. With TED Talks evolving into TED Ed, TEDx and TED Global, all aimed at coming closer to our door steps, I clearly believe I stand a better chance to cross out one item on my bucket list (speaking at a TED conference).

Everyone who ever stepped on the TED red spot has an inspiring story or insight to share. With the speed of sharing information in the social era, these talks spread swiftly – in the fall of 2012, TED Talks celebrated its one billionth video view – the effect of most talks, span for a life time. As TED celebrates three decades, may I use this medium to say thank you to the TED team and everyone who has been vulnerable enough to share and inspire with their TED experience. Cheers to 30 Amazing Inspiring years!!


Your turn… What did a TED talk teach you, you could inspire someone by sharing.

Words by Charles Umeh // Originally Published on LinkedIn

Write a response

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2020 WPGM. Website Developed by WeDoWebApps.