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The 7 Best TED Talks on Sales to Boost Your Confidence Glass April 20, 2023

Since 2006, people all over the world have been watching TED Talks by their favorite experts, to learn more about the skills they want to improve. After all, our skills are just tools in our toolbox.

The beauty of TED Talks is that everyone will learn something, no matter which videos they watch.

These TED Talks provide insights into communication and interpersonal skills and discuss how great leaders use these skills to improve their sales strategies.

Not all of these videos are about the sales process—many of them are simply about personal development, and how to use communication, self confidence, or passion and perseverance to boost relationships.

Business is all about relationships, and learning how to create meaningful relationships will help you both in your personal life and with your sales techniques.

Of all the rules of sales, one of the most important is to make sure your customer feels heard—listening is the key to the art of personal communication, and communicating well is an essential skill for a confident and effective salesperson.

7 TED Talk videos to become a more confident salesperson

Great leaders inspire action, and that's why each of these sales videos will have something to teach you.

Each of these speakers is a great leader in their own right, and the power they exude, along with the hope they offer and the new things they teach us, has made them famous all over the world.

Whether it's the confidence to ask for what you need, how to handle rejection, how to use your voice to keep a person's attention, or how to sell your services without feeling like a pushy salesman, each TED Talk on this list has some wisdom to impart.

1. How to Sell Without Selling Your Soul—Steve Harrison

Steve Harrison is a marketing expert who defines the word "sell" with an acronym that can help every one of us to improve our sales skills:


E—Encourage by

L—Listening and


He says that by unleashing your desire to serve others, you will become more confident, more convincing, and more comfortable in company.

Yet, without love for each person you speak to, he argues that you will be unable to do your job to the best of your ability.

The takeaway is that to be a great salesperson, you must learn to ask questions, listen well, and love sincerely.

This talk will tell you how to get more than just the traditional rewards from selling.

2. How to Magically Connect with Anyone—Brian Miller

This TED Talk may not initially seem to have much to do with sales, but it does offer plenty of food for thought regarding interpersonal relationships and how to create bonds that will last for life.

Brian Miller is a magician and world-famous speaker on the topic of human connection.

In his younger years, he found himself struggling to hang onto personal relationships until he started studying magic and realized that the way magicians perfect their acts can also be used to perfect human interaction.

Magicians record their practice sessions and play them back so they can see how the act looks from the audience's perspective, and Brian claims that this is the secret to perfecting any sort of relationship.

To do your job well, you need to consider each interaction from the other person's perspective.

In sales, this means that you always want to consider how your customers might be feeling.

Since you can't know this without some inside information, you need to ask questions—but the power of asking questions is not in the questions themselves, and the secret is to shut up and listen when the person answers.

3. What I Learned From 100 Days of Rejection—Jia Jiang

This TED Talk is about how "rejection is necessary for social change," and Jia Jiang tells the humorous story of how he overcame his fear of rejection by committing to being rejected every day for 100 days.

This is a great sales TED Talk for anyone who needs to improve their sales strategy by learning to handle rejection better. Rejection is, after all, a big part of the job!

Facing rejection on a daily basis helped to desensitize Jiang to the shame of it, and he learned how to turn a "no" into a "yes," simply by standing his ground, rather than running away.

Asking questions comes up again as an essential way to get what you want, and Jia tells us that you'll be amazed by the possibilities that arise if you just stand your ground and ask for more information.

4. The Art of Asking—Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer is an artist and musician with a long career in the spotlight.

She is well suited to the art of asking for what she needs, being a confident and outgoing person, but she feels we are all capable of asking for what we want, if we only change our perspectives and learn to ask in the right manner.

Amanda contends that we see asking in a negative light, and that sales has always been seen as the act of "making" people do what we want them to do—like buying our product.

But she believes that people are more generous and willing to listen than we think they are. 

She says that if we rather ask how we can let people do what we want them to, we will get more positive responses than we expect.

5. How to Speak so that People Want to Listen—Julian Treasure

As a sound and communications expert, Julian Treasure has spent his career learning about how the way we speak affects our relationships with others, and he uses that knowledge as a successful public speaker.

Good speech techniques are an important aspect of personal development for a salesperson, and by following Julian's advice, we can all learn to talk better and improve our interactions with customers.

How we communicate is becoming more important by the day in this fast-changing world. We don't always—if ever—face our clients or prospects when we are trying to convince them to buy our products, so we need to be all the more communicative.

If you've had a long day and you make a sales call, you might find yourself speaking in a bored or monotonous voice. It's very unlikely that you'll have an interested customer on the other end if you can't sound interested yourself.

Motivation and self-confidence are very important for successful communication, and they can be portrayed through the tone, pace, pitch, and even timbre of your voice.

Julian offers us some basic vocal exercises to warm up our voices and learn how to speak better, and he must be taking his own advice, because we love listening to him speak.

Julian also explains how what we talk about can affect our relationships.

He urges us to stay away from gossip, negativity, and dogmatism, among other things, and says that conversational success comes from 4 essential things:

Honesty, authenticity, integrity, and love—love seems to be a recurring theme in these videos.

6. You are Contagious—Vanessa Van Edwards

Vanessa Edwards is a charismatic and powerful speaker who explains the science of emotion and how we can use it to affect those around us.

As a behavioral investigator, she has endless knowledge about how communication affects the "reptilian brain," or in this case, the caveman brain.

She tells us how hand signals affect how we perceive the people talking to us, as well as how the micro expressions on the faces of people around us affect our emotions.

She claims that not only do emotions cause facial expressions, but facial expressions are able to cause emotions.

As salespeople, we should see this information as invaluable, because, if we can affect the people we are talking to and change the way they are feeling, we have the ability to make them feel more inclined to do what we want them to.

If we can infect people with our emotions, even remotely, tools like will only become more and more important in the future.

Vanessa also tells us of an extensive study in which participants were proven to be affected by the chemicals in the sweat of other participants, without ever knowing what those people had been through.

So be sure to go into your in-person sales conversations with happiness and confidence if you want to infect your prospects with the same.

7. It's Not Manipulation, It's Strategic Communication—Keisha Brewer

Keisha Brewer is an expert in public relations and strategic communications, and she teaches us how to communicate with purpose to achieve our goals.

She tells us that strategic communication allows us to evoke specific responses from the people we communicate with, and explains that this is not manipulation.

Manipulation, she argues, would be when only one party walks away satisfied, whereas strategic communication ensures that both parties get what they want out of the deal.

Her 4-step process for communicating strategically sounds simple and obvious, but following it at all times is easier said than done.

By keeping these steps in mind whenever we speak to clients and prospects, we can ensure that both we and they leave every conversation feeling fulfilled.

  • Identify the goal—what do you want out of the conversation?

  • Understand your audience—who are you speaking to and what do you know about them?

  • Communicate the value—what does your prospect get out of the deal?

  • Express the need—how do you and they each get what you want?

In closing

The best sales TED Talks in the world can't teach you everything you need to know, which is why some of these videos are not specifically about sales.

Successful salespeople know that there is more to selling than just throwing your product at a prospective client and hoping it sticks.

Success comes from knowing how to talk to your client, but talking is the far less important aspect of conversation—knowing how to listen is the cincher.

Aside from that, all you need is passion—never underestimate the power of passion—motivation, and the ability to learn quickly.


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