TED Talks Every Customer-facing Employee Should Listen To

Last week, when I was watching yet another TED talk, a sudden realization washed over me. Why hadn’t I thought of sharing them with you? Determined to give you the most recent gems, I sat down to watch them in my office to make sure I didn’t miss anything. (Despite my determination, I couldn’t help adding one from 2014 since it’s one of my favorites)

During the list preparation, it did get embarrassing when my colleagues would pass every time to find me watching some video instead of writing. I don’t think they misunderstood but I was almost tempted to tell them since they didn’t know that my next article was about TED talks.

So, what did I find?

A good nine TED talks that revolve around us and our surroundings ranging from hate mails to tech to daily conversations. I’m sure these takeaways would help you as well as your workplace irrespective of whether you belong to the customer-facing team or not.

‘How to Build (and Rebuild) Trust’ by Frances Frei

This talk by Frances is about where trust wobbles for oneself and how to improve the three components surrounding trust. The Harvard professor offers tips on rebuilding trust and also talks about her work experience at Uber.

Key Takeaways:

– Empathy, logic, and authenticity are important to gain the trust of customers

– Think from the customer’s perspective while listening to them

– Back your point with necessary evidence

– Be your authentic self and celebrate the differences in people around you

“I believe that there is a better version of us around every corner, and I have seen firsthand how organizations and communities and individuals change at breathtaking speed.” #FrancesFrei @TEDTalks Click To Tweet

‘Why the Secret to Success is Setting the Right Goals’ by John Doerr

John shows us how we can get back on track with “Objectives and Key Results,” or OKRs – a goal-setting system that’s been followed by Google, Intel, and Bono to achieve their targets.

Key Takeaways:

– Objectives and Key Results help instill a sense of purpose in individuals, teams, and organizations

– Be clear about why, what and how while setting goals

– Choose the right objective and work towards achieving it

“I want you to think about your life for a moment. Do you have the right metrics? Take time to write down your values, your objectives, and your key results. Do it today.” @johndoerr @TEDTalks Click To Tweet

‘How Better Tech could Protect Us from Distraction’ by Tristan Harris

Technology interrupts our work and Tristan discusses how designers can provide a choice about how we spend time with technology. The talk revolves around the need for a technology that serves a deeper, human goal – to create everlasting experiences.

Key Takeaways:

– Don’t let technology distract you during work

– Notify your colleagues if you don’t want to be disturbed for a while

– Change your way of measuring productivity by looking at the number of productive hours as opposed to the total number of hours

“We have to demand this new kind of technology. And we can do that. And doing that would amount to shifting from a world that's driven and run entirely on time spent, to a world that's driven by time well spent.” @tristanharris… Click To Tweet

‘The Surprising Ingredient that Makes Businesses Work Better’ by Marco Alverà

Marco speaks about the significance of a fair workplace with his past learnings at two of his former workplaces. He explains the need for organizations to value their employees and stand by them during risk-taking. He believes that fairness is a cornerstone of life and helps everyone make better decisions.

Key Takeaways:

– Promote a fair workplace and encourage employees to take risks

– Stand by your employees when they commit honest mistakes and learn from them

– Focus on people’s hard work rather than solely on outcomes

– Advocate diverse opinions and remove procedures that encourage silos

“At work, unfairness makes people defensive and disengaged. A study shows that 70 percent of workers in the US are disengaged, and this is costing the companies 550 billion dollars a year every year.” @malvera1 @TEDTalks Click To Tweet

‘How to Train Employees to Have Difficult Conversations’ by Tamekia MizLadi Smith

Asking difficult questions to customers is tricky for employees. And, Tamekia tells how to train them on such conversations with the ‘GRACE’ approach. She also explains the importance of teaching transitional change to employees well before implementation.

Key Takeaways:

– The GRACE Approach

G: Getting the front desk specialist involved and letting them know

R: the Relevance of their role as they become

A: Accountable for the accuracy of data while implementing

C: Compassionate care within all encounters by becoming

E: Equipped with the education needed to inform people of why data collection is so important.

– While asking difficult questions, treat your customers with respect

– Prefer giving personalized training on how to handle these situations rather than computerized training

“I know that teaching people transitional change instead of shocking them into change is always a better way of implementing change.” @MizladiThePoet @TEDTalks Click To Tweet

‘What Baby Boomers can Learn from Millennials at Work — and Vice Versa’ by Chip Conley

As per Chip, there are five generations in the same workplace leaving ample opportunities to engage in mutual mentorship. He talks about the significance of intergenerational communication and how it can lead to a new sharing economy.

Key Takeaways:

– Have an age-diverse workforce in addition to gender and ethnicity diversity

– Arrange mutual mentoring sessions between young and middle-aged employees

– View the elder workforce’s experience as an asset, not a liability

“Almost 40 percent of us in the United States have a boss that's younger than us, and that number is growing quickly.” @ChipConley @TEDTalks Click To Tweet

‘Why I have Coffee with People Who Send Me Hate Mail’ by Özlem Cekic

In this talk, Özlem shares her experiences on what happened during #dialoguecoffee with people who demonized her through hate mails. She throws light on either side’s thoughts, mistakes and how face-to-face conversations can be one of the most powerful forces to disarm hate.

Key Takeaways:

– Try to have conversations with colleagues who disagree with you

– Handle hate mails from customers without being judgemental

– Be aware of your own biases and prejudices

“The people who sent hate mails are workers, husbands, wives, and parents like you and me.” @cekicozlem @TEDTalks Click To Tweet

‘3 Ways to Be a Better Ally in Workplace’ by Melinda Epler

Microaggressions cause a toxic workplace and take a heavy toll on every employee. Melinda explains how to overcome these obstacles with effective allyship between people. She also talks about creating equal opportunities for underrepresented people which help establish better teams and better companies.

Key Takeaways:

– 3 ways to be a better ally:

a) Pay attention to underrepresented people and don’t interrupt them; close your laptop and put down your phone

b) Advocate for underrepresented people by inviting them to speak during meetings

c) Change someone’s life by mentoring or providing opportunities

– Ensure a discrimination-free workplace

– If you echo someone’s idea, never fail to attribute it to them

“Allyship is about understanding that imbalance in opportunity and working to correct it. Allyship is really seeing the person next to us. And the person missing, who should be standing next to us.” @mbrianaepler @TEDTalks Click To Tweet

‘My Journey to Thank All the People Responsible for my morning coffee’ by AJ Jacobs

Jacobs talks about his gratitude trip around the world and how people fail to thank one another. He urges everyone to show gratitude and shares how a simple thanks can make a person’s day.

Key Takeaways:

– Show gratitude towards colleagues and customers

– Don’t take the things around you for granted

– Try to make eye contact when conversing with customer-facing folks

“I'm better than I was before this project. And that's because it made me aware of the exploitation on the supply chain.” @ajjacobs @TEDTalks Click To Tweet

We’ll keep adding to the list. Watch this space for updates.

Do you have a favorite TED talk you’d like to see added to the list? Drop it as a comment and tell us why you like that talk so much. We’ll add it to this list.

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