Hopefully you are familiar with Ted Talks, if not, here is a quick overview of what they are all about.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

Ted Talks are a brilliant way for Assistants to receive free training from the worlds greatest speakers and leaders. I’ve put together a list of great talks that specifically relate to the role of the assistant. Hopefully you will find them inspiring, thought provoking and useful!

Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions and offers three powerful pieces of advice for women aiming to reach the Boardroom. Link for those reading this via email.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: We should all be feminists

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah, offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Link for those reading this via email.

Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated. Link for those reading this via email.

Jason Fried: Why work doesn’t happen at work

Jason Fried has a radical theory of working: that the office isn’t a good place to do it. He calls out the two main offenders (call them the M&Ms) and offers three suggestions to make the workplace actually work. Link for those reading this via email.


Margaret Heffernan: Forget the pecking order at work

Organizations are often run according to “the superchicken model,” where the value is placed on star employees who outperform others. And yet, this isn’t what drives the most high-achieving teams. Business leader Margaret Heffernan observes that it is social cohesion — built every coffee break, every time one team member asks another for help — that leads over time to great results. It’s a radical rethink of what drives us to do our best work, and what it means to be a leader. Because, as Heffernan points out: “Companies don’t have ideas. Only people do.” Link for those reading via email.

Julian Treasure: How to speak so that people want to listen

Have you ever felt like you’re talking, but nobody is listening? Here’s Julian Treasure to help. In this useful talk, the sound expert demonstrates the how-to’s of powerful speaking — from some handy vocal exercises to tips on how to speak with empathy. A talk that might help the world sound more beautiful. Link for those reading via email.

 Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. Link for those reading via email.


Susan Colantuono: The career advice you probably didn’t get

You’re doing everything right at work, taking all the right advice, but you’re just not moving up. Why? Susan Colantuono shares a simple, surprising piece of advice you might not have heard before quite so plainly. This talk, while aimed at an audience of women, has universal takeaways — for men and women, new grads and midcareer workers. Link for those reading via email.

David Pogue: 10 top time-saving tech tips

Tech columnist David Pogue shares 10 simple, clever tips for computer, web, smartphone and camera users. And yes, you may know a few of these already — but there’s probably at least one you don’t. Link for those reading via email.

Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work

Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity — and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen. Link for those reading via email.

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