Let's talk about TED

Are you wondering who Ted is? There has been an awful lot of talk about Ted at dinner parties around the globe. The truth is you only have to go online to meet the entity in question.

TED originally stood for Technology, Entertainment, Design and started as an annual conference in 1984. Today TED is a global movement celebrating "riveting talks by remarkable people free to the world".

Think of TED as a portal to all things inspirational, where you can lose yourself for hours in 18-minute video talks from the world's best thinkers. TED conferences last four days with 50 speakers live on stage, and they are filmed and uploaded for online audiences who cannot attend in person.

More than 1400 talks are available on the TED website, and thousands more on YouTube. No need to pay to hear Isabelle Allende, Bono, Alain de Botton, Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, Malcolm Gladwell and Stephen Hawking, who have all spoken for TED.

The key to the concept's success is the 18-minute restrictor. That is all each speaker has to tell their story and share their message. The idea of sitting in one place listening to 45-minute presentations from corporate-style speakers no longer appeals. TED has brought together shorter, more digestible presentations from diverse industries and topics, with speakers who tell their stories from the heart.

TEDX are breakout talks set up by communities, organisations and individuals managed independently to TED and held at a local level. Both Sydney and Byron Bay recently held sold-out TED events with Australian speakers including Nigel Brennan, the Australian photojournalist held captive in Somalia for 462 days, designer Marc Newson and musician/activist John Butler.

Getting on the TED bandwagon is simple. Head to the TED website and start trawling for topics of interest to you. Also check out the Ted YouTube Channel and the TedX YouTube Channel.

To start you on your TED journey, here are our top 10 must-see TED talks:

Brene Brown - The Power of Vulnerability

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Brene's talk is from TedX Houston and went viral with more than nine million views. The professor explores how to embrace our flaws and connect with the world.

Alain de Botton - A Kinder, Gentler Philosophy of Success

Explore the concept of career anxiety and challenge your idea of success.

Juan Enriquez - Your Online Tattoo

A short six-minute talk about the permanent effects of digitally sharing your personal privacy.

Susan Cain - The Power of Introverts

Corporate lawyer and introvert, Susan Cain, reveals why introverts have the power.

Kelli Anderson - Disruptive Order for Change

This talk from TedX Phoenix inspires the viewer to get messed up, reject order and find the creative rewards

Kid President - I Think We All Need a Pep Talk

Nine year old Robby Novak and his brother-in-law Bradley Montague's aim is to create a complete world of awesome. How? Make people dance.

Jill Bolte Taylor - A Powerful Stroke of Insight

When scientist Jill Bolte Taylor suffered a massive stroke she got a first-hand research opportunity on the wonders of the human brain. Her talk has been viewed more than 10 million times.

Ken Robinson - Schools Kill Creativity

Think school teaches you everything you need to know? Think again, Robinson says it kills creativity. Fifteen million viewers on TED and four million on YouTube agree.

Cameron Russell - Looks Aren't Everything, Believe Me, I'm a Model

A model's expose on the fashion industry.

Kevin Alloca - Why Videos Go Viral

The YouTube trends manager explains why some videos go viral.