I love TED talks. I do. I feel like they consistently hold up their tagline: “ideas worth sharing.”
TED is also tapping into the viral nature of video. Video allows us to connect with the information in a way that just reading or listening alone does not.
I found the most popular TED talks ever given by psychologists. Not just because I wanted to binge watch TED talks and call it “work,” but also because I believe that there are lessons to be learned about online marketing from examining the items on this list.
What Private Practitioners Can Learn From The Most Popular Psychologist TED Talks
The biggest takeaway from this list is that it can help you figure out how to shape your content. By examining the most popular of the talks by psychologists, we can learn about what topics can be successful. Which topics are the most shared and in demand? Is there something unique about the way these speakers approach a topic or is it the topic itself?
Each of these videos is powerful in it’s own way. That said, they all had some common approaches that you can use to inform the content that you put out into the world to help people. There are probably more lessons to be learned about contagious content than what I outline below, but these are the four things that stood out to me as ways you could approach the creation of your next piece of content:
- Make something difficult easier to understand. Lot’s of these TED talks are done by highly educated or highly enthusiastic and geeky about something types of people, yet they still make their information accessible. Is there something amazing that you’ve learned in psychology that you think would benefit those of us who didn’t have our noses stuck to psych books for years? How can you explain it so that we can understand and use this information?
- Solve Problems. The top 8 most popular talks don’t talk about psychology itself. Only Martin Seligman’s talk is actually about psychology. The top talks discuss things that speak to people’s concerns – providing evidence based solutions to life’s challenges and problems. Ask yourself what people are struggling with and speak to that in your content.
- Challenge a commonly held idea. Ideas like, “stress should be your friend,” or that, “working hard doesn’t equal happiness” are ideas that get attention. They do because they tear through core beliefs that many of us have. How can you challenge something that people believe to be true but you know to be false?
- Give something we all know about a deeper meaning. So we all know that body language is important for communicating, but Amy Cuddy took what body language is to a whole new level. Are there things out there that are known but need further examination? Which of these things are helpful to people’s lives?
So as you watch or review the most popular TED talks below, see if you notice these takeaway lessons that you can apply to your content marketing or if you notice other ones as well.
9 Most Popular TED Talks by Psychologists
1. Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
Amy Cuddy / 29,118,097 views
Coming in at the very top of the list, the most popular TED talk is by social psychologist Amy Cuddy. In her talk she discusses how, yes, body language does affect how others see us but interestingly body language also affects how we see ourselves. She teaches us “power posing,” a way to boost our own confidence when we’re not feeling confident.
2. The Happy Secret to Better Work
Shawn Achor / 12,043,603 views
Shawn Achor discusses how happiness can motivate our productivity. So it isn’t that success equals happiness, it’s that there’s a happiness advantage i.e. a happy brain will perform better.
3. The Surprising Science of Happiness
Dan Gilbert / 11,787,462 Views
Dan Gilbert, a psychologist, speaks about the secret to happiness sharing that our “psychological immune system” will let us feel happy despite things not going as planned. Happiness is a choice and can be either natural or synthetic and neither should be judged as superior or inferior to the other.
4. How to Make Stress Your Friend
Kelly McGonigal / 9,440,365 views
Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist, challenges the idea that all stress is bad. Research shows that the belief that stress is bad may be worse than the stress itself. Kelly urges us to see stress in a more positive light: stress gives us access to our heart and to our connection with others.
5. The Paradox of Choice
Barry Schwartz / 8,026,416 views
Psychologist Barry Schwartz challenges the idea that having choices can make us feel more free. In fact, his research suggests that freedom of choice can lead to increased dissatisfaction.
6. The Key to Success? Grit
Angela Lee Duckworth / 7,326,445 views
Angela Lee Duckworth discusses a predictor of success: “grit.” After teaching math to seventh graders in a NY public school, Angela shares her observations about the students who succeeded and the students who struggled.
7. The Psychology of Evil
Philip Zimbardo / 4,734,316
Philip Zimbardo believes it’s easy for humans to do bad things but it’s also easy for humans to do good things. We can rise to the challenge of being a hero but also have the capacity for evil. Philip uses some graphic photos from the Abu Ghraib trials in this talk (trigger warning).
8. The Power of Believing that You Can Improve
Carol Dweck / 3,487,007
Carol Dweck shares the idea that we can actually grow our own brain’s ability to learn and solve problems. With a “growth mindset,” we may be able to approach problems that we previously believed were too hard for us to solve.
9. The New Era of Positive Psychology
Martin Seligman / 3,481,831
Martin Seligman discusses positive psychology as it moves beyond a focus on disease. Psychology is an interesting field of study in how it is very much work done on a one-on-one basis, through a patient practitioner relationships. Where is psychology heading and what can it help us become?
Establishing Yourself as an Expert is Awesome Too
These TED talks may also be inspiring on another level. There are many ways to get to sucess and the definition of sucess looks different for everyone but if you are someone who would like to position yourself as an expert in your field, a TED talk is a sure way to do that.
It also doesn’t have to be a TED talk necessarily. Blogging, guest blogging, media appearances, interviews, can all help you serve your niche and build trust while sharing your passion for what you do and how you help.
Establishing yourself as an expert takes time and effort but it’s so worth it. You can reach so many more people and connect with others that share similar purpose and passion in their lives.
Expert positioning also raises your visibility, makes it easier for potential clients to find you. You become easier to find in google searches, instantly increase your trust, and grow your social media following.
What do you think? Are you going to try and position yourself as an expert or shape your next piece of content on some of the lessons to be learned from this list? I would love to hear from you! You can contact me or tweet me anytime.