Hard Skills, Soft Skills, Communication Skills, Listening Skills, TED Talks, Body Language, Productivity
SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 14 December 2016
4 TED Talks to Inspire Your Inner Soft-Skills Rockstar
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Hannah Son
Content Writer
Redondo Beach

While your hard skills (technical skills) might get your foot in the door for a job interview, it’s your soft skills (people skills) that will help you walk into the room and open those doors. A good work ethic, optimism, your emotional IQ and the ability to collaborate with others, are just a few of the soft skills that employers look for in their new hires. 

With that being said, why is it that we still don’t we see institutions like colleges pushing future employees into expanding this skill set? 

One place where we can find help (and free help at that) is through TED Talks. If you don’t know what TED Talks are by now, you have been missing out on a plethora of knowledge (again guys, it’s free) on topics from Ants to Zebras.

According to the TED website, “Since 2006, TED has been hosting conferences and events centered around science, technology, business, culture, art and design to share – Ideas Worth Spreading.”

Thanks to TED talks, it is easy (AND FREE!) to build your soft skills in the comfort of your home (or in my case, an overly crowded college apartment). Here is a list of some of my favorite TED Talks that have helped me with my soft skills:   


Amy Cuddy’s "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are"

In her Ted Talk, Cuddy explains how your body language affects not only the people around you but yourself as well. By striking certain stances or making certain gestures, we can make ourselves feel confident or passive, happy or sad. Cuddy’s talk will help with your non-verbal communication skills. Her insights will help you understand how you should alter your non-verbal skills to increase chances of success in the professional world. Try out some of her “power poses” at your next interview! Being in the right mindset (and pose) can push you to be the best, most confident version of yourself.   


Julian Treasure’s “5 Ways to Listen Better”

“We’re losing our listening. This is not trivial. Because listening is our access to understanding. Conscious listening always creates understanding.” -Julian Treasure

Treasure teaches us that if we listen closely to each other, we can understand each other better. Soft skills—particularly listening—creates mutual respect. We respect those who respect us. If you respect people by listening to them, they will in turn reciprocate.   


Tali Sharot “The Optimism Bias”

Optimism! Optimism (like Cuddy’s power poses), can change your mind set and body. It can affect real life outcomes, keep you motivated and lower stress levels. In Sharot’s talk, he helps develop the soft skill of remaining optimistic. A little optimism never killed anyone. You need to be able to imagine a better world (or office) before you can make it happen. Watch The Optimism Bias here  


Kelly McGonigal “How To Make Stress Your Friend”

In her Ted Talk, Kelly discusses how to turn stress into a positive. She opens up the conversation of “looking for the silver lining” and suggests how we can see stress as a positive thing – a moment of courage. Personally, this talk helped with productivity and positivity. This talk is sure to leave you feeling a lot less stressed and definitely beaming with positivity when dealing with managing your work load.   


After watching these TED Talks, one thing that is clear is that soft skills can in fact be learned. Boosting these skills is made easy by these educational talks that have applications in all parts of your life, both professional and personal. If you are looking to build more soft skills and upgrade your hard skills, check out ProSky’s training courses where you can work with real people and real companies!