7 TED Talks all legal professionals should watch

Legal professionals – Paralegals, Legal Secretaries, and Attorneys – often get information and educational material from the same sources: legal websites, magazines, and professional organizations. That’s great, but it can end up being a little stale.

There’s a risk that, if we’re all reading, listening, and watching the same material, then we’ll end up in an echo chamber, all espousing the same conventional wisdom.

There’s a fantastic, easily accessible, and completely free source of unique insights that can help us to break free from the bubble, however: TED Talks. These quick presentations (they range from three to 18 minutes in length) delivered by notable academics, politicians, and business leaders at TED conferences across the world are a great source of unique, out-of-the-box insights.

There are over 2,000 talks on the TED website, so how do you decide which are worth your time? Fear not! We’ve rounded up the seven most uniquely insightful, motivational and inspiring TED talks all legal professionals should watch.

Did we miss a talk that you love? Share it with us in the comments.

#1. Let’s simplify legal jargon

Many of the legal documents that we see have a ton of legal jargon. In this TED Talk, Alan Siegel stresses the importance of having documents in plain English so everyone can understand them. With plain words, we can achieve “clarity, transparency, and simplicity”, he argues.

#2. Your body language shapes who you are

People read your expressions and body language from the minute they see you. What you portray affects how others judge you and how you may feel about yourself. What you might not realize, though, is that your body language actually has the potential to affect your mood, your motivation and your mental performance too. In this talk, Harvard’s Professor Amy Cuddy reveals all.

#3. How I defend the rule of law

Kimberly Motley explains how people who are supposed to be protected by the law have instead had it used against them. Laws, she argues, are used in ways that they are not intended to be used by governments across the world – not least in Afghanistan where Motley defends minority rights. Standing up and defending the correct application of the law takes strength of character to overcome the challenges of both law and culture

#4. Dare to disagree

Conflict at work can be a good thing? Really? British academic Magaret Heffernen uses a lifetime of research to argue that when you find persons who are different than yourself, it makes you think differently and challenge how you view things. Some of the best co-workers and partners are those that do not completely agree with each other, but rather those that disagree with each other. It helps to allow people to be more creative and work together to change problems and processes.

#5. The happy secret to better work

Instead of being average and normal, what is it that makes people be above the average? How can we increase everyone’s level to be above the average? By studying those outliers, Shawn Achor explains how we think that we have to be successful to be happy. If we change how we view happiness and success then we can change our work behavior and enhance performance.

#6. Eight secrets of success

Richard St John expertly reduces a two-hour lecture to just three minutes. What do you think leads to success? Here’s the eight steps that lead to successfulness, all arising out of his years’ of research and experience at some of the world’s leading universities.

7. The puzzle of motivation

Everything we think we know about motivation in the workplace is wrong. That’s what Dan Pink argues in this great short talk on why rewards are not always as motivating as conventional wisdom would have us think.

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