For the month of February, I am taking a personal challenge to watch a TED Talk A Day for 30 days. Certainly this idea is not a new one, but it is new one for me. Here’s my plan and why I am doing this.
I go to a lot of conferences, but I do not get the chance to see nearly as many people present as I would like. When I do, I am often disappointed in the quality of the presentation. The biggest problem is usually that there is no real flow or story to the session. Do not even get me started on the poor slide design, but if your slide deck is made up of clip art and endless bullet points in a 10 point font with white text on a pale yellow background or you are using a PowerPoint template from the turn of the century, then everyone would appreciate it you did not bother with using slides at all. Think of the time that you just saved yourself. Instead focus on creating better content and relating it in a meaningful way. Sorry for the rant. Let's move on.
One way to get better at something is to watch an expert do what it is that you are trying to do. If you want to be a better writer, then you have to be a better reader. By reading more, you can get a better feel for how others write. That is not to say that you do this so that you can emulate or merely copy what others have done before you, but instead it is so that you can have a better understanding of what good writing sounds and feels like. If I want to get better as a speaker, then I want to see as many others as I can present at an expert level. By seeing experts speak, you can get a better understanding of how they work within the medium.
Thankfully, the internet provides access to amazing talks. When TED.com launched in 2007 (where does the time go), I was pretty obsessed with watching TED Talks. They were novel, engaging, thought-provoking, and short! It was kind of my go to jam to fuel my thinking. Then somewhere along the way, I began watching less and less of them. I became distracted by other things, and now I seldom ever just sit down to enjoy one. As I have been going back through past writings and reflections, I realized that I used to get a lot out of watching TED Talks. I want to go back and experience that joy of learning again.
Now that we are already in the second month of 2019, I want to work more on my personal and professional growth goals for the year. So, I am challenging myself to watch a TED Talk a day for 30 Days.
I am starting with Matt Cutt’s 2011 TED Talk Try Something New for 30 Days because it seems like an obvious choice. As a bonus, there is a viewing guide that Lisa Van Gemert created for Mensa For Kids. As another bonus, it is super short at a run time of 3 minutes and 27 seconds. I feel like a success, and I haven't even started yet.
I Need Your Help!
Do you have favorite TED Talks? I would love to hear your viewing suggestions. What are talks that have inspired you? What is something that I probably have not seen that I should?
Also, I would love for you to come along the journey with me. Along the way I will be compiling thoughts and reflections and posting a weekly update on my progress.
Here is my playlist for the first five days.