4 TED Talks to Inspire Your Customer Support Team

Mariana Ruiz Mariana Ruiz · 4 min read

Hopefully, this roundup of TED Talks will leave you feeling mentally rejuvenated and ready to tackle whatever comes your way.

We talk a lot about the soft skills needed to work in customer support on the Nicereply blog.

Skills like knowing how to deal with people and honing your listening skills. But these soft skills don’t always come easy and every once in awhile, no matter how great we are at our jobs or how positive our outlook is, sometimes we just need a little inspiration to keep us motivated.

I don’t know about you, but there’s something about soaking up wisdom from experts that makes me feel invigorated. A fresh perspective or a new angle on can open up a whole new dialogue and really get the wheels of our minds spinning.

That’s exactly why we’ve compiled this round-up of TED Talks packed with tips that will not only inspire you, but can also be applied directly to customer support roles.

TED talks cover everything from how to become a better listener and hold a genuine conversation to empathy and connection.

So, if you’re in need of an extra dose of positivity and want to learn a thing or two, keep on reading and watch some inspirational TED Talks!

10 ways to have a better conversation | Celeste Headlee

From all TED Talks, this one is my favorite. Not only is Celeste Headlee a great speaker but her advice is spot on. She’s concise and to the point (meaning she takes her own advice seriously) and while what she says isn’t necessarily new, it’s her delivery that makes a difference. This is advice we should all keep in mind no matter if it’s a conversation with a customer or with a loved one.

To summarize, here’s what Celeste suggests to hold better conversation along with exactly where to find each piece of advice in the video:

  • Don’t multitask. (4:27)
  • Don’t pontificate. (4:50)
  • Use open ended questions. (6:02)
  • Go with the flow. (6:39)
  • If you don’t know, say that you don’t know. (7:26)
  • Don’t equate your experience with their. (7:46)
  • Try not to repeat yourself. (8:26)
  • Stay out of the wits. (8:46)
  • Listen. (9:08)
  • Be brief. (10:29)

Lastly, I love this tidbit of wisdom she gives: “Talk to people, listen to people and be prepared to be amazed.

It’s truly amazing how much we can learn about each other when we shut up and listen.

5 ways to listen better | Julian Treasure

According to Julian Treasure, every human being needs to learn to consciously listen in order to live fully. We spend 60% of our time listening, yet we aren’t very good at it. In his talk, he explains that listening is our access to understanding and being able to consciously listen always creates understanding.

During Julian’s TED Talk he shares some amazing tips on how we can all improve our conscious listening. Many of which may sound counterintuitive like scheduling at least 3 minutes of silence a day or tuning into mundane noises (such as your dishwasher running) and focusing on the sound.

In customer support, listening is probably one of the most important skills you can have. Without a grasp on it, it’s hard to understand and serve others. Julian said it best, “A world where we don’t listen to each other at all is a very scary world.

Hidden Costs of “Service with a Smile” | Laura Hockenbury

Laura Hockenbury’s talk, Hidden Cost of “Service with a Smile” is particularly refreshing because it speaks from a customer service employee point of view. There’s no question that dealing with people day in and day out can be emotionally taxing, and Laura speaks about just that.

The focus of her TEDx Talk is the emotional labor of the people in the customer service industry and how it’s used to meet workplace goals. She touches on how in a customer support role it’s common for company manuals to dictate emotions, i.e service with a smile, no matter how you actually feel inside.

In her short, yet highly motivational speech she inspires all of us actively in customer support roles to take ownership of our experiences.

We have a choice to change things and the meaning we give our work. And we have a choice whether or not we want to overcome our challenges and the conflicts we may face in ours jobs.

Laura also touches on the importance of connection and shifting our views from seeing customer (and people in general) interactions as transactional, or just another customer.

She dares us to move beyond our predictable roles and challenges us to stay present and connect with ourselves so that we can better connect with others. To let go of expectation of other people and and appreciate our individual stories.

Grit: the power of passion and perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth

Maybe you’ve heard of Angela Lee Duckworth and her New York Times bestseller book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. If not, this is not a talk to miss.

Angela tells a story of how working as a teacher, she began to realize some kids, even though their IQ levels were higher than others, weren’t doing so well in school. She started to wonder, “What if doing well in life depends on much more than learning quickly and easily?” From there it became her life mission to find out what else it took to be successful aside from intelligence.

What she found was that grit was the number one factor that determines success. Showing up everyday, moving the needle forward even if it was just a small amount. Day in, day out.

Grit and a growth mindset is something that can help us propel forward in all walks of life whether you’re dealing with a conflict, learning a challenging new skill or simply trying to better yourself as a human. It’s a hard work, but as Angela tells her audience in this talk, it’s well worth it to persevere and see the type of success we all want in our lives.

Take these TED talks as a motivation and run with it

Hopefully, this round-up of TED Talks has left you feeling mentally rejuvenated and ready to tackle whatever comes your way. Take some time to experiment with what you’ve learned and implement what resonated with you into your daily life.

You never know, it could very well completely change the way you look at connecting with customers and co-workers!

How did you like this blog?


Mariana Ruiz Mariana Ruiz

Mariana Ruiz is a copywriter + blogger with a background in customer support and digital marketing. She uses her experience and storytelling superpowers to create content for brands + businesses she loves. Connect with Mariana on LinkedIn!

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