How to disagree productively and find common ground | Julia Dhar

Some days, it feels like the only thing we can agree on is that we can’t agree — on anything. Drawing on her background as a world debate champion, Julia Dhar offers three techniques to reshape the way we talk to each other so we can start disagreeing productively and finding common ground — over family dinners, during work meetings and in our national conversations.

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Is civility a sham? | Teresa Bejan

What exactly is civility, and what does it require? In a talk packed with historical insights, political theorist Teresa Bejan explains how civility has been used as both the foundation of tolerant societies and as a way for political partisans to silence and dismiss opposing views. Bejan suggests that we should instead try for “mere civility”: the virtue of being able to disagree fundamentally with others without destroying the possibility of a common life tomorrow. (This talk contains mature language.)

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My journey to thank all the people responsible for my morning coffee | AJ Jacobs

Author AJ Jacobs embarked on a quest with a deceptively simple idea at its heart: to personally thank every person who helped make his morning cup of coffee. More than one thousand “thank yous” later, Jacobs reflects on the globe-trotting journey that ensued — and shares the life-altering wisdom he picked up along the way. “I discovered that my coffee would not be possible without hundreds of people I take for granted,” Jacobs says.

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What to trust in a “post-truth” world | Alex Edmans

Only if you are truly open to the possibility of being wrong can you ever learn, says researcher Alex Edmans. In an insightful talk, he explores how confirmation bias — the tendency to only accept information that supports your personal beliefs — can lead you astray on social media, in politics and beyond, and offers three practical tools for finding evidence you can actually trust. (Hint: appoint someone to be the devil’s advocate in your life.)

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The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more.

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Why I have coffee with people who send me hate mail | Özlem Cekic

Özlem Cekic’s email inbox has been full of hate mail since 2007, when she won a seat in the Danish Parliament — becoming the first female Muslim to do so. At first she just deleted the emails, dismissing them as the work of fanatics, until one day a friend made an unexpected suggestion: to reach out to the hate mail writers and invite them to meet for coffee. Hundreds of “dialogue coffee” meetings later, Cekic shares how face-to-face conversation can be one of the most powerful forces to disarm hate — and challenges us all to engage with people we disagree with.

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How to let go of being a “good” person — and become a better person | Dolly Chugh

What if your attachment to being a “good” person is holding you back from actually becoming a better person? In this accessible talk, social psychologist Dolly Chugh explains the puzzling psychology of ethical behavior — like why it’s hard to spot your biases and acknowledge mistakes — and shows how the path to becoming better starts with owning your mistakes. “In every other part of our lives, we give ourselves room to grow — except in this one, where it matters most,” Chugh says.

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The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more.

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What baby boomers can learn from millennials at work — and vice versa | Chip Conley

For the first time ever, we have five generations in the workplace at the same time, says entrepreneur Chip Conley. What would happen if we got intentional about how we all work together? In this accessible talk, Conley shows how age diversity makes companies stronger and calls for different generations to mentor each other at work, with wisdom flowing from old to young and young to old alike.

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How I climbed a 3,000-foot vertical cliff — without ropes | Alex Honnold

Imagine being by yourself in the dead center of a 3,000-foot vertical cliff — without a rope to catch you if you fall. For professional rock climber Alex Honnold, this dizzying scene marked the culmination of a decade-long dream. In a hair-raising talk, he tells the story of how he summited Yosemite’s El Capitan, completing one of the most dangerous free solo climbs ever.

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3 ways to be a better ally in the workplace | Melinda Epler

We’re taught to believe that hard work and dedication will lead to success, but that’s not always the case. Gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation are among the many factors that affect our chances, says writer and advocate Melinda Epler, and it’s up to each of us to be allies for those who face discrimination. In this actionable talk, Epler shares three ways to support people who are underrepresented in the workplace. “There’s no magic wand for correcting diversity and inclusion,” she says. “Change happens one person at a time, one act at a time, one word at a time.”

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Why being respectful to your coworkers is good for business | Christine Porath

Looking to get ahead in your career? Start by being nice to your coworkers, says leadership researcher Christine Porath. In this science-backed talk, she shares surprising insights about the costs of rudeness and shows how little acts of respect can boost your professional success — and your company’s bottom line.

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