3 Insightful TED Talks for Community Managers

TEDx Talks for Community managersWhether you’ve watched a TED talk or not, you’ve no doubt heard of them or seen/heard someone quote them.  If you ever have sat down to watch one, you know that it’s like a potato chip or a good piece of chocolate — you can’t do just one.  They’re inspiring, they’re funny, they’re insightful, and once you’ve gotten a taste you need more of it.

Recently, Techcrunch posted the Top 20 Most Watched TED Talks (warning, don’t click on this unless you have time to spend on watching them!) and I fell down the rabbit hole.  I started with Simon Sinek’s “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” and went from there circling in and out of topics related to communication, community, leadership, psychology, sociology, conversations, etc. etc.  I don’t even want to tell you how many hours worth of information I consumed, but it was enlightening.

We often have the tired debate of community management vs. social media management and it became clear to me that there are a certain number of TED talks that speak specifically to community, relationship building, and humanizing brands that go above and beyond the social media tools that we often need to quantify to justify the ROI for our businesses. Community is about connecting with the people we come in contact with everyday, making them feel that they have somewhere to belong to and can keep coming back to, creating loyalty amongst community members as well as to the brands we represent, and above all else understanding what makes a person and/or a group of people tick.

If you’re truly interested in digging in deeper with community the list of talks below are a great start.  Ranging from leadership skills and messaging, to human interaction & connecting online.  They’re up to 20 minutes each, but worth every minute you can spare. When you’re done — let us know what you think of their subject matters and how it relates to community.

Do you have any TED talks to add?  Share them in the comments as well…

1) Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

“Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers.”

2) Brene Brown – The Power of Vulnerability

“Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.”


3) Sherry Turkle: Connected, but Alone?

“As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication — and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have.”

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About the author

Jenn Pedde

Jenn is a Co-Founder of The Community Manager and the Editor-In-Chief. She’s also an adjunct professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. You can find her almost anywhere online, but specifically on #CmgrChat every Wednesday from 2-3pm ET.

Connor Meakin
Connor Meakin

I also get caught in the wave of watching tons of TED talks in one sitting - they're so addicting! 

Sinek is my favourite as well actually... He's also a really interesting follow on Twitter.


I also like lots of the psychology-focused talks as I think psychology plays a huge role in community building from a relationship and decision making standpoint. Zimbardo, Gilbert and Seligman all come to mind.


  1. […] when I’m feeling creatively drained, and it picks me up in no time. One of the best things about TED Talks is the time flexibility; you can choose random videos of a specific length if you’re short on […]