TED talks for the topics you want to discuss

May 31, 2020

Written by Andrew Guilbert


Some of the most interesting topics of discussion only come up once the small talk dies down. Even then, it can be hard to steer the conversation towards things you might really care about. 

So TEDxYYC got on social media and asked you what topics you love to talk about, but rarely got the chance to discuss. We received a lot of great answers, and though we can’t hold a coffee klatsch to talk about all of them just yet, we hope these TED talks will help you get your fix until we can share ideas worth spreading in person.


How to genuinely network with others, without expectation

Joe Sweeney, author of The New York Times Best Seller Networking Is a Contact Sport, believes that great networkers realize it’s not about them, it’s about how they can serve others. In his talk, he goes through a number of tips on becoming a great networker, including:

  • Figure out what makes people tick: To be a great connector, try to understand that all human behaviors make sense, even when we don’t. 
  • Understand Human Behaviour: All humans need to belong to something bigger than themselves, love and be loved, and to know their lives have meaning and significance. 
  • Create a personal, emotional connection: find something personal and do something memorable, like randomly giving someone a five dollar bill, to create a “wow” factor in their lives.
  • Ask, Listen, Act, Believe & Receive: Ask with a mindset of giving to figure out how to make asking fun. Listen, great connectors are great listeners (and ask great follow up questions). Take action. The number one excuse for not connecting is we’re too busy. Opt-in to the belief that if you give, you’ll receive far more in return.


Universal Basic Income

For many, there’s an underlying assumption that there’s something “wrong” with those in poverty, something that could be changed if they could be taught better or if they would just listen to reason. That’s what Rutger Bregman thought, until he started looking into the research, reading everything he could about universal basic income. 

When he did, he found that poverty is not a lack of knowledge, but due in part to a scarcity mentality, which throws out long term thinking in the name of immediate survival. Our anti-poverty programs were therefore apt symbols of our current era, treating the symptoms but not the underlying cause of poverty. A guaranteed basic income, he says, would do far more to solve these problems.


Leadership Accountability

If you want to lead others, take ownership of everything in your world, the good and bad. That’s the message of retired US Navy Seal Jocko Willink. In his talk, Willink shares what leading a team of seals in wartime about assuming “extreme ownership” over every decision. He credits this attitude with creating an aura of respect, integrity and increased trust within the team. “What is true on the battlefield, is true in business and in life,” he says, so regardless of where you’re expected to lead, Willink’s advice on accountability will serve you well.


The ways different generations engage with each other

The generational gap is nothing new, even Socrates complained about the younger generation. But according to Alberto Garcia-Jurado, the former President of the Gulf Chapter of the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, we’re facing something completely new: a generational break from fundamentals that have existed for thousands of years. This break, between digital natives, those growing up with the internet, and digital immigrants, those born before the internet, is creating new fundamentals around communication, how we see ourselves, and our world. Check out this talk to find out whether those breaks are taking us where we should be going.

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