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The 6 Best TED Talks for Event Planners

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Update 3/14/2017: This post has been updated since its original publishing date to reflect newly discovered talks

When I was a child, my father would play cassette tapes of motivational speeches while in the car to help him learn what it took to be successful in life. He explained to me what it was that these speakers were talking about, their struggles, and the lessons I could take away from them.

My father always looked out for great speakers and role models to learn and draw motivation from (especially one of his favorites, Zig Ziglar). Today, far more people keep up with this practice, but spools and plastic are rarely a part of the equation.

Event Planner TED Talks

Instead of listening to cassette tapes, we have motivational and educational speeches available to us 24/7 on the internet. TED Talks are some of today’s most popular internet speeches due to the vast range of different topics offered from their video library.

Event planners have the onerous task of bringing tons of people together under a common goal or theme, so it is only natural that they might need some motivational and educational speeches to help solve their own work related challenges.

Here are the six best TED Talks for event planners!

Alexis Ohanian: How to Make a Splash in Social Media

How do you attract guests to your events if no one seems to know about them? The internet age has changed the way we reach other people, whether it be friends, family, colleagues, customers, attendees, or a random mother in Bulgaria. Anyone can connect to the internet, but what you do with your bandwidth is what defines your event.

Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, explains how to build buzz (or in this case, a splash) online (and an example of one viral humpback whale). This talk is perfect for event marketers and social media managers looking to find out what makes the internet tick.

Jinsop Lee: Design for all Five Senses

When putting together events, most event planners focus on aesthetics and functionality.

Are the tables in the right place? Are there are enough chairs? Is there going to be  enough food? How much will everything cost? Will guests be wowed? Will they be inspired to snap photos of your event? Will they share those images on social media?

Event planning often brings out stakeholders’ inner designers.

Jinsop Lee, an industrial designer, believes that there is far more to design than just visual beauty. Lee believes his theory of “five-sense design” is the key for event managers to unlock their guests’ senses of smell, touch, sight, sound, and taste, leading to a high-quality event experience. By applying the five-sense design theory, your guests will immerse themselves into an incredible and satisfying event.

Steven Johnson: Where Good Ideas Come From

Finding inspiration can be difficult, especially on your own.

When was the last time you came up with a great idea? Who were you talking to? What were you doing at that moment? Steven Johnson believes that our stereotypical concept of where new ideas come about, such as the clichéd “lightbulb” moment, is flawed and leads us to shortchange our idea making process. Steven Johnson explains the history of new ideas and what causes them.

New ideas are essential to event planners. Who wants to attend the same event over and over again without innovation or a break from redundancy? Use Johnson’s talk to inspire your creative energy. Your future attendees will thank you for it.

Paolo Cardini: Forget Multitasking, try Monotasking

Our entire lives are jam-packed full of stimuli, information, and tasks, leading us to embrace the mindset of a multitasker even when it is detrimental to our health and our work.

In fact, multitasking has been shown in studies to make us less efficient, especially when trying to deal with unfamiliar tasks. I know this better than most due to my ADHD, which pulls my mind in all different directions, especially while writing.

Paolo Cardini dives into the benefits of simplifying our lives through “monotasking,” the revolutionary idea that you should make an effort to focus on one thing at a time. Although this may seem like such a simple idea that it is stupid to bring up, event planners and managers have a lot to handle when bringing all the pieces of an event together (I will note that event management software does substantially help with this problem). It is important for those in the event industry to not overburden themselves with too much at one time.

Tom Mujec: Build a Tower, Build a Team

Event planners may have the daunting task of bringing all of the elements of an event together, and they tend to be good at it. Yet, problems still happen. They can’t possibly prepare every refreshment, set up every chair, or direct every attendee to where they ought to go. Since event planners are not completely miracle workers, constructing the right team to bring all of the pieces to the table is crucial.

Tom Wujec of Autodesk uses a study conducted using dry spaghetti noodles, a yard of tape, and one marshmallow to explain the right recipe for successful team building in order to produce the best results for any challenge.

David Grady: How to Save the World (or at least yourself) from Bad Meetings

As most would agree, our time is valuable. We all have projects to finish, reports to submit, surveys to answer, and emails to respond to. Imagine if every few hours or so, you had no choice but to sit at your desk and accomplish absolutely nothing before getting back to your job, deadlines be damned.

This is what it’s like when you find yourself stuck in meetings that are either not relevant to your job or are run by inexperienced leaders. David Grady paints a portrait of a business world overwhelmed by inefficient and unproductive meetings and offers his solutions to end the madness and get our meetings back on track.

This talk is perfect for event management teams that suffer from unproductive planning meetings, so that they can spend less time discussing and more time acting.

Conclusion

How did these talks impact the way you think about event management? Will you do anything different? Are there any other TED Talks you feel would be appropriate for this list but were missed? Let us know in the comments below.

Looking for Event Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Event Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Nick Morpus

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Nick Morpus is a Content Writer for Capterra, a free resource that matches buyers and sellers of business software. He has a background in politics, economics, and journalism, which he dedicates his off-time to contributing his thoughts to other political sites. In his free-time he enjoys reading, playing guitar, writing, cooking, and dominating the world of video games.

Comments

You always have inspirational roundup lists for event profs, Nick – thanks for sharing this one!

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