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TED talk

What is a TED talk?

A TED talk is a recorded public-speaking presentation that was originally given at the main TED (technology, entertainment and design) annual event or one of its many satellite events around the world.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks, often called "TED talks."

TED talks are made available on the TED website under a Creative Commons free license. They are also frequently featured via social media and multimedia sites like YouTube, Netflix, Facebook and LinkedIn.

What are the qualifications for a TED talk?

TED talks are limited to a maximum length of 18 minutes but may be on any topic.

Here's the TEDx website's explanation of selection criteria: "TED looks for engaging, charismatic speakers whose talks expose new ideas that are supported by concrete evidence and are relevant to a broad, international audience."

To apply to speak at a TED talk, potential presenters must first submit a speaker nomination form. TED will then contact them if they are interested in having them speak.

What are some examples of TED talk subjects?

Popular TED talks include:

  • "The interspecies internet? An idea in progress"
  • "Anatomy of a New Yorker cartoon"
  • "Why we should build wooden skyscrapers"
  • "The curly fry conundrum: Why social media 'likes' say more than you might think"
  • "Meet global corruption's hidden players"
  • "How we'll resurrect the gastric-brooding frog, the Tasmanian tiger"
  • "Ingenuity and elegance in ancient African alphabets"
  • "The dangers of willful blindness"
  • "What ants teach us about the brain, cancer, and the Internet"
  • "Why we sleep"

The history of TED talks

The TED organization was founded by Richard Saul Wurman, and the TED conference was co-founded by Harry Marks in February 1984.

The first TED conference was in 1984 and the conference has been held annually since 1990. Initially, the focus of TED conferences was technology, design and entertainment.

However, TED has broadened its focus in recent years to include big ideas on a wider range of topics such as global issues, business, education and health.

TED talks have been given by a variety of professionals from various fields of study, including actors, scientists, medical professionals and influencers.

Over the years, presenters of TED speakers have included notables Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Bono, Jane Goodall, Malcolm Gladwell, Gordon Brown, Richard Dawkins, Mike Rowe, Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Vint Cerf, among many others.

TED.com related projects

In addition to TED talks, TED.com also has a number of other related projects and TED events. A few of them include:

  • TEDx Talks are TED-like events that are organized by volunteers around the world.
  • TED-Ed is a platform where educators can submit educational videos.
  • TEDGlobal is an annual international conference that focuses on "ideas worth spreading."
  • TEDTalks Director's Cut videos are select TED talks that have been remastered with new footage or animations.
  • TEDWomen is an annual TED conference that focuses on "ideas worth spreading by women."
  • TEDx in Schools is a program that brings TEDx events to schools.
  • TED-Ed Clubs are after-school clubs for students who want to learn more about TED and TEDx Talks.
  • The TED Prize is a $1 million prize awarded annually to "an exceptional individual with a creative, bold vision to spark global change." As of 2018, the TED Prize is now known as The Audacious Project.
  • TED Fellows are "outstanding young innovators" who are selected each year. The TED Fellows Program provides "support, resources and access to the TED community."

See also: transformational leadership, 70 percent rule for productivity.

This was last updated in April 2022

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