Podcast 17: Why You Shouldn’t Listen to TED Talks

Feb 3, 2017 | podcast | 2 comments

Have you heard of TED talks?

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design.

TED organises conferences twice a year and invites THE BEST speakers from different areas such as business, education and literature.

You can watch almost all of these talks for free on the TED website.

Under each video you’ll find an incredible interactive transcript, that I’ve already told you about before.

So why on earth am I telling you NOT to watch them in this episode?

You’re here because you want to improve your conversational listening skills right?

So that means you want to understand people when they talk to you. And you want to catch the dialogue in your favourite films and TV series.

You’re not interested in academic English like talks and presentations. Or listening exams.

You don’t need to stop watching TED talks. But they’re not necessarily the solution to your conversational listening problems.

Listen to 5 reasons why TED talks aren’t the best resource for conversational listening.

In my next episode, I’ll tell you which resources you should use it you want to improve your conversational listening.

Before You Listen

What reasons do you think I’ll mention for not listening to TED talks? I talk about 5 altogether.

Make some notes, listen and then check.

While Listening

Part 1

Make some more notes on each reason I give for not listening to TED talks. You made need to listen a few times.

Reason 1


Reason 2


Reason 3


Reason 4


Reason 5

While Listening

Part 2

Listen a few times and the transcribe each dictation below. You’ll find the answers under the recordings.

Dictation 1

Cara's fast, natural English podcast

Dictation 2

Cara's fast, natural English podcast

Dictation 3

Cara's fast, natural English podcast

Dictation Answers

Here are the transcribed sections of each dictation. Which words or expressions did you find difficult to catch? Let me know in the comments.

Dictation 1: You can see the exact line being spoken, you can move to different parts of the talk, you can add subtitles in your own language.

Dictation 2: So as you can imagine a lot of planning goes on so the spoken word is pre-planned before

Dictation 3: And a lot of teachers recommend these videos because they have erm a fanstastic interactive transcript under them

Over To You

Do you agree with these reasons? Or do you think TED talks can still have value for people interested in conversational speech? Share your thoughts in the comments.

By the way if you’re wondering why you can understand TED talks better than conversations, check out this post. 

If you enjoy watching TED talks, but want to challenge your listening skills, then you’ll like this post on how to spice up TED talks. 

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