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Personal Branding Lessons from TED Talks

You probably watch TED Talks just like I do. When I sit down to watch one, I can get sucked into listening to a handful of super cool people and ideas. Today I’m sharing five TED Talks that have resonated with me over the years because of how they tie into personal branding, brand messaging and marketing. Not all of these are positioned as branding talks, but they all have amazing branding lessons to learn from. 

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

This is a great lesson in how to look at how you are living your brand. Plus his vocal warm ups at the end provide great practical lessons. I learned many vocal techniques in my theatre performance days and still use them to this day before I get on an important call or speak in public. 

Summary from TED:  Have you ever felt like you’re talking, but nobody is listening? Here’s Julian Treasure to help. In this useful talk, the sound expert demonstrates the how-to’s of powerful speaking — from some handy vocal exercises to tips on how to speak with empathy. A talk that might help the world sound more beautiful.

Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

Amy won me over in this talk from the start of this talk and I have referenced her “power posing” with my clients ever since.  Before I head onto stage speak, you just may find me doing a power pose in the bathroom! Amy reveals that your body language is not just sending message to others; it’s sending messages to you brain!  It’s very powerful to know that you can use your own body language to increase your self-confidence. 

Summary from TED:   Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

You’ve probably heard of this one.  It’s a great talk about why you share your “why” in business. 

Summary from TED:  Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers … (Filmed at TEDxPugetSound.) 

Morgan Spurlock: The greatest TED Talk ever sold

There are so many business lessons in this humorous and informative talk! Branding, marketing, sponsorship, authenticity, transparency and more. 

Summary from TED:  With humor and persistence, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock dives into the hidden but influential world of brand marketing, on his quest to make a completely sponsored film about sponsorship. (And yes, onstage naming rights for this talk were sponsored too. By whom and for how much? He’ll tell you.)

Ash Beckham: We’re all hiding something. Let’s find the courage to open up.

I like this TED talk for many reasons. Regarding branding, I like it because in my work with clients, I work to help them to see the value of telling their story instead of hiding behind a boring corporate wall.  Without a doubt, it can take a tremendous amount of courage to do that and Ash is a great example of how to do it well. There are two specific lessons in this talk regarding branding: One is to notice the brilliant way she tells her story. The other is the message about sharing your truth.

Summary from TED:  In this touching talk, Ash Beckham offers a fresh approach to empathy and openness. It starts with understanding that everyone, at some point in their life, has experienced hardship. The only way out, says Beckham, is to open the door and step out of your closet.


© 2019 Meredith Liepelt, Rising Star Publicity, LLC

Meredith Liepelt helps speakers, authors, and experts to build their brands by using publicity strategies. She offers personal branding coaching, media relations, and her flagship program where she books experts on lifestyle TV shows across the United States. For insights and inspiration, visit

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