13 TED Talks every sales and marketing pro should watch

TED Talks are a treasure trove of information and different perspectives.

And since you can watch a TED video on just about any topic, we’ve listed 13 of the most interesting and enlightening videos for sales and marketing professionals! 👊

While not all of these videos are about sales and/or digital marketing specifically, they can certainly apply to your functions (and maybe even just make you a more well-rounded person) — this collection includes useful advice both for interpersonal and practical skills.

With that said, check out these TED hits! 👇

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If you’ve had sex, you know how to sell: Mace Horoff at TEDxBocaRaton

Despite the clickbait-y title, this talk actually gives quite a few interesting parallels in how sales works and how people use similar tactics when navigating the world of dating.

According to Horoff, “The question isn’t whether you can sell or not — the question is, ‘What motivates you to sell?’”

This talk is perfect for sales people who want to explore the psychology of selling in a strange, funny and slightly raunchy way. 😅

The Secrets That Drive Us To Greater Success: Jon Gordon at TEDxHilliard

Gordon is a fantastic storyteller that gets to the heart of what it takes to be successful. It’s easier said than done, but crucial: never give up. 💪

He even references “grit,” which Angela Lee Duckworth discusses in her TED Talk (more on her toward the end of this post) and the importance of perseverance.

This is an inspiring talk for anyone who needs a bit of motivation to keep running and to not just go through the motions of life. 🏃‍

Creative thinking — how to get out of the box and generate ideas: Giovanni Corazza at TEDxRoma

This TED Talk explores — you guessed it — creative thinking. It dives into the idea of practicing out-of-the-box thinking, and offers advice on how to think more creatively in your everyday life.

Corazza also discusses the idea of applying theories and concepts to areas that were never applied to before, finding the best answers and working in the right environment, among many other points. ✅

This talk is perfect for any marketer or salesperson who is feeling stuck creatively, or is just in need a fresh perspective.

You are contagious: Vanessa Van Edwards at TEDxLondon

There are very few (if any) TED speakers as charming as Van Edwards. In this talk, learn more about human behavior, and how our actions can influence those around us. 👫

There are a lot of fascinating psychological and sociological aspects of this talk, and it’s perfect for sales people who want to better understand the science of body language and verbal cues.

The skill of self-confidence: Dr. Ivan Joseph at TEDxRyersonU

Dr. Joseph talks about what self-confidence means, and how you can acquire this skill.

He explains that the key to self-confidence is repetition, repetition, repetition — also referenced simply as persistence. There’s no magic button, it’s just about believing that you can do something and going for it. 🙌

This talk is perfect for anyone who wants to work on their confidence and tackle adversity head-on.

The greatest TED Talk ever sold: Morgan Spurlock at TED

Spurlock, of Super Size Me fame, took a humorous and eye-opening approach to his TED Talk.

He decided to put the naming rights for his talk up for sale, and goes into his quest to make a sponsored film about sponsorship, which in turn becomes a shameless plug for his own sponsored film — so meta. 😏

This talk gives a fascinating look into the world of brand marketing and how things work behind the scenes — an entertaining 20 minutes that just about any marketer will appreciate.

Is There a Buy Button Inside the Brain: Patrick Renvoise at TEDxBend

This talk goes deep into the psychology of consumer behavior in a fun, approachable way.

Renvoise explores the reptilian brain vs. the new brain, and gives marketers a four-step plan to get to the heart of what your customers want.

In the end, following this process can supposedly trigger the “buy button” in your customers’ brains — sounds cool, right? 😎

How to Sell Without Selling Your Soul: Steve Harrison at TEDxWilmingtonSalon

In this talk, Harrison explains how you can persuade more people to say “yes” to what you offer without feeling as if you’re being a high-pressure salesperson.

Both inspiring and humorous, this marketing and sales expert helps redefine what it really means to sell. 💰

Harrison gets into a four-step method that can help any salesperson or marketer unleash their potential so that they can be more comfortable, confident and convincing.

The best sales people are the best listeners — not the best talkers. 🤯

What I learned from 100 days of rejection: Jia Jiang at TEDxMtHood

This talk adventures into one of the most terrifying of territories: rejection.

Jiang sought out rejection for 100 days. He did everything from asking a stranger to borrow $100 to requesting donuts in the shape of the Olympic rings.

This led to Jiang desensitizing himself to the pain and shame that rejection can bring and, as a result, found that simply asking for what you want can open up possibilities where you expect to find dead ends — something all of us can learn from. 😉

Smart Failure for a Fast-Changing World: Eddie Obeng at TED

The world is rapidly changing— yeah, shocking. 😆

But because of the speed in which the world is changing, creative output just isn’t keeping up. That’s why in this talk, Obeng focuses on three changes we should apply in order to be more productive and the importance of having a stronger culture of “smart” failure.

This is perfect for sales and marketing professionals who need some inspiration for their professional growth in an ever-changing world.

How to speak so that people want to listen: Julian Treasure at TED

Have you ever felt like you’re talking, but nobody is listening? I think we’ve all been there. 🙋‍

Treasure is a sound expert, and in his talk, he demonstrates some useful vocal exercises and shares tips on how to speak with empathy. He offers his vision for a world full of listening and understanding.

It essentially comes down to human intelligence combined with higher levels of awareness — interpersonal skills are key to being great at sales and/or marketing! 🔑

The Skill of Humor: Andrew Tarvin at TEDxTAMU

Humor is something that transcends most barriers — it’s something that is understood by virtually everyone.

However, there are a lot of people out there that do not think they can utilize humor, or lack playfulness in their lives.

Tarvin uses his talk to show how everyone can use humor in their everyday lives. He explains that humor gets people to listen, increases long-term memory retention, improves understanding and more.

It’s an entertaining, fun talk that reminds us to not take things too seriously all the time and to try to use humor to our benefit. 🙂

Grit — The Power of Passion and Perseverance: Angela Lee Duckworth at TED

In this TED classic, Duckworth explains how she left her job in management consulting to teach math in New York City’s public school system.

During this challenging and eye-opening experience, she began to observe why some students succeeded and some just became frustrated. She carried out an extensive study as a result, and found that the top predictor for success was “grit.”

It’s about more than just intelligence to be successful — check out this talk to learn more about what it means to be gritty. 🤜

We hope you found something enlightening and helpful in these videos, and are ready to tackle your next challenge!

Let us know your favorites in the comments 👇

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Ali Colwell