The Power of TED Talks

TED Talk – 5 Ways to Listen Better

TED Talks are powerful because they make a connection to the audience. They showcase problems that need to be addressed and propose solutions.

Each talk revolves around a unique idea worth sharing. They are limited to 18 minutes, demanding clarity and concise communication. They should inspire, inform and be less about promotion.

1. Sit back and relax

While all presentations take time and effort to prepare, creating a high-quality TED Talk can be especially challenging. TED organizers chose the 18-minute talk length based on neuroscience and strategy—it’s long enough to flesh out an idea, but short enough for audiences to digest and understand it. That’s why it’s so important to have a trusted team to help you “murder your darlings” before delivering a talk.

Julian Treasure shares his advice for how to listen better in this TED Talk. His use of vocal variety, hyperbole and audience engagement captures the attention of his audience, while also driving home the importance of the topic.

As an independent learner, it’s essential to be an ACTIVE listener. Listen to the speaker more than once, and analyse their presentation, using the five listening skills that Julian Treasure outlines: silence; the mixer; savoring; listening position; and RASA.

2. The Mixer

TED is an organization that hosts conferences where individuals from all walks of life talk about ideas they feel are important and worth spreading. Though the company originally began with technology, entertainment and design, its talks have now widened to encompass a wide variety of topics from global issues to business. It has a collection of videos of talks from politicians, scientists and actors. It also features TED-Ed, a channel that creates short animated educational videos, and TEDTalks Director’s Cut, a collection of select TED Talks that have been remastered with new footage or animations.

The TED Audio Podcast is available on all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, RadioPublic and Castbox. It features interviews with speakers and other people involved in TED, as well as a wide range of topics.

3. Savor

This download includes a Microsoft Word worksheet and PDF version to accompany the TED Talk video “5 Ways to Listen Better” by Julian Treasure. This resource is for classroom use only and may not be distributed to non-students. It is designed to help students analyze the information presented in the video and answer the questions. It is a great companion for the lesson on The Mixer.

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring the spirit of TED to communities around the world.

4. R.A.S.A.

TED is a non-profit organization that posts international talks online for free distribution under the slogan “ideas worth spreading”. The interviews, known as TED Talks, are given in 18 minutes or less by individuals such as actors, musicians, scientists, politicians and businessmen. Initially the talks focused on technology, entertainment and design but have broadened over time to include global issues such as healthcare, education and globalization. The talks are available at the TED website and through platforms such as iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, RadioPublic and Spotify. The interviews are also available as podcasts, which often feature transcripts.

The TED organization was founded by Richard Saul Wurman and Harry Marks in 1984.

5. Silence

Silence is an important part of listening. However, it is important to understand that silence must be experienced as accepting and not judgmental. People can pick up on judgments and evaluations that are communicated silently, and they may not be so willing to share with you in the future.

TED is an international nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, but has since grown to include talks on almost any topic, from science to global issues.

The TED Talk video, “5 Ways to Listen Better,” by Julian Treasure is available for viewing online at You can also download a pdf worksheet bundle to accompany this video.

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