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If you want to learn something new about business, or just get a new perspective on the world, there are few better resources to turn to than TED talks. Starting out as an annual conference, TED Talks cover Technology, Entertainment and Design (hence the name), which means its speakers offer their insight on a huge range of topics, and they're all freely viewable online.
What's great about the organisation is its speakers come from all walks of life. So you can hear Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page explain how they took their idea from a small garage in California to the web-dominating presence it is today. Or you can listen to Nobel Prize winners such as Richard Feynman and James Watson discuss their work.
But for entrepreneurs and SME owners, there's also a whole host of fascinating insight you can put to real use in your own business. Here are five of our favourites.
1. How great leaders inspire action
In this talk, leadership expert and bestselling author of ‘Leaders Eat Last’ Simon Sinek introduces his concept of the 'golden circle', explaining where the most successful business leaders should be putting their focus. His key takeaway is that "people don’t buy what you do, but why you do it." If you're looking to come up with a great message for your business, this is essential viewing.
2. How to get your ideas to spread
Every business owner knows that having a great idea is only the start of the battle. For example, did you know that sliced bread was around for 15 years before anyone decided it was the best thing ever? In this talk, marketing expert Seth Godin, author of the Forbes Business book of the year’ ‘Free Prize Inside’ explains how to break free of the ordinary and make your idea standout.
3. Why the best hire might not have the perfect resume
Hiring new staff can be one of the most stressful tasks for a small business owner and there's a lot of pressure to get it right. In this talk, UPS human resources director Regina Hartley argues that you need to look beyond a candidate's CV and look at other qualities, such as their determination to succeed. "Choose the underestimated contender, whose secret weapons are passion and purpose," she says.
4. How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings
Long, unproductive meetings can be extremely time consuming, but meetings are an essential part of running a company. Or are they? In this talk, David Grady, an information security manager shows how to break free of 'mindless accept syndrome' - that causes people to automatically accept meeting invitations without considering if they're really worthwhile – and gain some precious time back for your business.
5. How too many rules at work keep you from getting things done
Today’s business world centres around solving problems collaboratively and flexibly - at least that's according to Boston Consulting group managing director Yves Morieux. But he warns that often, this process is held back by too many rigid rules and processes and argues that boosting cooperation is the key to overcoming these hurdles.
You can register for more business tips and advice here.
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