Since its foundation in 1984, media organization TED has spread around the world. They had over 1500 TEDx events scheduled in 2015 itself. While TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, the conference has expanded over the years to include a plethora of topics from science, culture, and academics.
TED has made over 2,400 talks available online for free. Some of these are on our blog’s favourite topic – Networking! Here are the best ones:
- Christopher Barrat: Successful Networking – The Ultimate Guide
In his Ultimate Guide, Barrat talks about how to approach people at events and build professional relationships. You have to first know people, then get them to like you. After this, you’ll be able to build trust and eventually they will buy you (i.e. buy your product, collaborate with your firm etc). Barrat also talks about the way people stand at networking events, and how it affects whether or not you’re able to talk to them. For example, people stand in ‘open’ and ‘closed’ groups – the ‘open’ ones are more likely to let a new member join in and speak. According to Barrat, the best groups are open threes with at least one woman. Women are better at bringing new people into groups, he claims.
- Celeste Headlee: How to Have a Good Conversation
Celeste says that face-to-face conversations are being replaced by screens, and that maintaining a successful conversation is one of the most important (and most ignored) skills you need in the 21st century. Being present in the moment is harder than it looks and it involves more than putting down your phone. To truly listen to another person, you need to temporarily put your opinions aside and understand what they’re trying to say.
- Johanna Blakley: Social media and the end of gender
Blakely says that old school demographics are pointless. Companies will soon have no use for data like age, gender and income level as they don’t accurately predict anything about human nature. She also says that clichés about gender (eg “chick flick” movies, marketing the colour pink to women) will eventually come to an end, as social media makes it easier to understand what people really are.
- Mark Sackett: The Art Of Active Networking
“Rubber Band Syndrome”, says Sackett, is when you collect bunches of visiting cards, wrap them in rubber bands and forget they exist. 70% of the time, people do not conduct any follow-up with those they meet at events. So he started a regular event called The Art of Active Networking, which aims to kill Rubber Band Syndrome.
Sackett always asks four questions at his events:
(i) Who are you?
(ii) What do you do or would rather be doing for a living?
(iii) Why, specifically, are you here today?
(iv) What are you really passionate about, that makes your blood boil, that makes you get out of bed every morning?
He says that most people just wait for their turn to brag about how awesome they are, rather than seriously listening to others. Many of us think we don’t really need new people in our lives, so we care little for them and forget them quite soon. Why not get to know someone better, even if they aren’t of immediate use? Every human being is interesting in some way – you never know how it might turn out.
- Doug McColgin: Networking is not Working
Networking exclusively within your organization or industry isn’t really going to work. It makes sense to meet inspirational people outside your industry who can help you learn whole new perspectives, feels McColgin.
He found a lady working at a Symphony Orchestra at a business networking event. The symphony business had essentially remained the same for a hundred years, and desperately needed new ideas from the outside world.
When you network within your industry, says McColgin, you meet people with the same educational background, the same work-specific vocabulary and the same kind of experience. We eventually form a closed ‘Worksphere’ of people from our organization and our trade associations. It gets easier to talk to anyone within this ‘Worksphere’, and harder to mix with outsiders. Once we mingle with outsiders, though, we tend to “see things we already know about in a brand new light”.
Do you know about any other networking-related TED or TEDx talks? Send them in on firstname.lastname@example.org!
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