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We live in an aural era. The rise of podcasts, audiobooks and voice-activated technology from Siri to Amazon’s Alexa demonstrates that our modern society is fascinated by the human ability to communicate by voice. Technology is evidently increasingly adapting to the spoken word as well.

Spoken word communication has long shaped human civilizations. Think of the great speeches that shaped history, perhaps most recently the resonance of Amanda Gormon’s spoken word poem at President Biden and Vice President Harris’ inauguration in Washington D.C. in January.

TED talks are perhaps the best example of the bridge between cutting-edge technology and research and the power of storytelling. TED is a nonprofit organization committed to spreading and sharing ideas by hosting conferences and sharing inspirational talks from some of the world’s best public speakers online.

All TED Talks are free to listen to online, either on their website or on YouTube. They are usually short – the standard is under 18 minutes, perfect for a stroll to the library now deadline season is upon us – and they are guaranteed to expand your horizons and teach you something you knew nothing about previously.

Furthermore, TED Talks will almost certainly benefit your public speaking and presentation skills, as they are all impeccably delivered lectures and talks.

So, as we all consume more digital content than ever before, consider listening to a TED Talk next time you're at a loss for content.

Here are three inspiring and relatable TED talks to get you started: 

The Danger of a Single Story – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

The inspirational author of ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ details the danger of making assumptions and carrying prejudice towards people based on only a single story.

Listen to this TED Talk if you are looking to challenge yourself on how you jump to conclusions about people and places and if you want to end feeling inspired about the power of reading, writing and storytelling. 

The Mathematics of Love – Hannah Fry 

Whether or not you are on the lookout for love right now, this hilarious and informative mathematical explanation of your probability of falling in love is sure to leave you feeling ready to tackle the dating scene and the world from a more mathematically informed perspective.  

And who knew there are three mathematically proven tips for falling in love? From how to hack online dating to how to pick the perfect partner, this short talk offers one of the most refreshing approaches to dating that I’ve ever heard. 

Violence against women – it's a men’s issue by Jackson Katz 

This important and hard-hitting TED Talk from 2012 feels particularly important to revisit and share today in light of Sarah Everard’s tragic murder in March and the subsequent movement to reframe the topic of violence against women as a product of toxic masculinity.  

Katz breaks down the language and gender norms that we need to tackle today in this painful but frank talk. Listen to this TED Talk if you want to get to grips with some really pragmatic steps towards tackling such a terrifyingly pervasive and insidious problem.

Listen to TED Talks today by browsing the over 3,700 talks uploaded to their website, on YouTube, or by following one of their many podcast series wherever you get your podcasts. 

Co-President of Her Campus Bristol
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