There are so many great digital resources out there that will promise to make you a better business leader, entrepreneur, or boss but sometimes it can be difficult to cut through the noise. Here’s our guide to some of the best resources for professional and personal development.
If you are not already hooked, then one of your first stops should be a visit to the TED talks website. TED (‘Technology, Entertainment, Design’) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to spreading great ideas to a global audience The topics covered in TED talks are hugely varied and range from happiness and science to business and statistics. Two highlights from the past few years include Susan Cain’s groundbreaking talk on being an introvert in the workplace and Sheryl Sandberg’s powerful talk on why we have too few women leaders.
The talks are also available on podcast and on TED’s YouTube channel, which means you can listen to them no matter where you are. Each talk is around 10-15 minutes long, so they’re perfect for a bit of lunchtime or tea break inspiration.
You can also look at 20 most viewed TED talks purely to pick up tips about great presentation skills. Many of the presenters on the list are powerful and charismatic speakers and it is interesting to see how they establish credibility and interest in their audience through their body language, tone and style.
Podcasts are often dismissed as an old school method of media in the UK but in the USA, they’re so popular that many cars come with the podcasting app Stitcher built in. However, in the business sector they’re currently undergoing a surge in popularity.
Highlights include Business Women Rock, Smart Passive Income, A Little Bird told Me, The Freelance Web and Online Marketing Made Easy. Podcasts are easy to download – just try an app like Apple’s Podcast app, SoundCloud or Stitcher to subscribe to your favourite podcast so they update automatically and you can keep learning on the go.
While you’ve got your headphones out, give audiobooks a try. With services like Audible offering a monthly subscription, you could have a new book to listen to every month. Recent significant additions to the business genre include The Chimp Paradox, Remote, Quiet: The Power Of Introverts or the 4-Hour Work Week. Like the Podcast app, the Audible app will sync up, so you can pick up from where you left off regardless of which device you’re on.
Prefer reading to listening? Blogs, like this one, are packed full of useful advice that’s usually updated on a daily or weekly basis. Useful sites include SMARTA and Women On Business, while Forbes has a round up of 100 more business blogs for women. Blogs are the best way to keep on top of the latest changes, covering everything from using new social tools to find clients through to how much professional indemnity insurance you need. You can also dip into the comments for further discussions.
Are you on Twitter? Have you ever been involved in a Twitter chat? Twitter chats are (usually) hour-long discussions on a topic at a set time each week using a hashtag. They’re a great way to discuss a subject in more detail, meet new people online and learn something new – and they’re free. If you’re not sure about joining in, you can always follow the hashtag to see what everyone else is saying.
Twubs has a schedule of all the upcoming chats, but one particularly relevant chat is Small Business Sunday (#SBS), which runs on Sundays between 5pm and 7.30pm. This Twitter chat is particularly interesting as Theo Paphitis chooses a winning business each week, which he then promotes. It’s also worth searching for Twitter chats in your local area, or by the sector you’re in.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can spend a little time learning more about how to improve you and your business. The key is to set aside a little time each week to do some of these activities. This could be as simple as using your commutes to listen to podcasts and audiobooks, or catching a TED talk while you’re making your lunch. Who knows what a 10 minute video or a 30 minute podcast could teach you?