It’s been a while since our last roundup of HR-worthy TED talks, so we’ve decided to approach the concept from a different angle: we’re going to look at TED (and TEDx) talks by theme.  And, since effective communication is an essential skill for HR professionals, we’re starting with a collection of TED talks that encourage us to think about communication and show how a few subtle tweaks, whether it’s to the words choices we make or the way we say them, can make a big difference to productivity.

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How to speak so that people listen


Julian Treasure relates his advice about speaking to people to help them understand you and make them want to listen. His key piece of advice is to speak with empathy, taking in the needs and desires of your listener.

Judging, gossiping and complaining are but three of the seven deadly sins of speaking, to which he offers his alternative of honesty, authenticity and integrity.

How to listen better


The counterpart to ‘how to speak so people will listen’ is ‘how to listen better’. Julian Treasure believes that we have lost our ability to listen correctly. As an HR professional, you’ll know that how well you listen to the concerns of both your employer and employees is integral to your ability to perform your job well.

In fact, anyone could benefit from some advice on listening better. In the information age, it is easy to find yourself with a million different distractions such as emails, instant messages, and worries in your head. These prevent you from being able to truly engage with what someone is saying. Letting go of that, and simply being present in the moment, opens you up to a world of learning and understanding.

10 ways to have a better conversation


“If your mouth is open, you’re not learning”. Celeste Headlee gives her top ten tips for having a good conversation, including the suggestion that we approach every conversation with the willingness to learn.

Having a great conversation can boost morale, improve your relationships with colleagues and create harmony in the workplace.

How to sound like a leader

Laura Sicola explains how your vocal delivery affects the way your message is received. She suggests that using certain speech patterns, such as high-rising terminal, project an image of low self-confidence, and detract from the effectiveness of what you are saying. She also explains how to use speech patterns to your advantage. It is amazing how a few changes can make such a vast difference to how well your message is received.

The power of saying thank you


Laura Trice’s short presentation suggests a small change in the way we relate to others that may have a profound impact. Saying thank you and showing appreciation may not seem much, but it can restore a person’s confidence and make them feel worthwhile. Show a bit of appreciation to an employee who needs it today, and see how their face lights up.

What techniques or HR functions do you use to facilitate good communication? Are there any TED talks that have informed your HR role?