Be an Opportunity Maker

March 10, 2017.
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Kare Anderson:
Be an Opportunity Maker

Kare Anderson is an Emmy award-winning reporter, formerly of NBC and the Wall Street Journal, and now a columnist for Forbes and Huffington Post.  She writes on behavioural research-based ways to become more deeply connected and her clients include Salesforce and Novartis.  She also sits on several advisory boards.

Anderson is also the author of a number of books on the theme of working with others, including, most recently, From Me to We: Succeed and Savor Life with Others, published on Kindle in 2012, and a two part series on Mutuality, Mutuality Matters: How You Can Create More Opportunity, Adventure and Friendship with Others (Part 1) and Mutuality Matters More: Living a Happy, Meaningful and Satisfying Life with Others (Part 2), both published on Kindle in 2014.

In the TED Talk featured here, Kare Anderson talks about the need to connect with other people in order to create the opportunity for us to use the best of the talents we all have to offer.

TEDxIBM San Fransisco 2014 2.1M views on

Anderson starts her talk with a story about her own struggles with shyness and stuttering, a personal touch which gets the audience’s attention and is a technique which many of the best speakers use to open their talks. Interestingly, Anderson remains seated throughout her talk, only standing up during the applause at the end.  No mention is made of why Anderson sits during her talk, and it is unusual to see an entire talk given sitting down, but it doesn’t affect the delivery, and the theme and the stories in the talk sustain the momentum.

There are no slides or props, which is not so usual either.  The overall effect of the speaker sitting down without slides or props, is to give the feeling less of a talk, and more of a chat between friends.  This fits in neatly with the theme of Anderson’s talk, which is to listen to others and create ‘mutuality’, that is, to make the opportunity for people to work together to get the best out of each other – everyone is ‘the best’ at something.

Anderson tells stories about introducing people from different backgrounds to each other and the unexpected opportunities that resulted from these connections – such as public art in Los Angeles.  She believes it is important for people to seek out other people, and situations, that are different from those they are familiar with – although many people don’t do this.  She also refers directly to the audience, which presumably has lots of IBM employees since it’s a TED@IBM talk, and points out that as key players in technology they have experienced the benefits of working together to create opportunities and advances in technology.

The talk ends with Anderson listing what she thinks are the three traits of opportunity makers: they keep honing what they are best at, they look for opportunities outside what they are familiar with, and they create connections and build trust around shared interests.

Finally, Anderson gives her call to action: to work together to make the most of people’s talents.

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This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

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