October 19, 2023

5 Actionable TED Talks for Project Managers I Recommend

TED talks for project managers? I can list dozens! They would all make perfect sense.


The role of a PM is that much diversified.

In this article, I want to share my top five TED Talks any project manager should watch.

(In fact, I hope you will find time to watch at least one or two. Yeap, I know you are busy)

The Project Management knowledge domain is big. However, it is still limited.

On the other hand, there are so many additional domains that can help you thrive as a PM. Here are some just to mention a few:

  • People interactions
  • Motivation
  • Psychology
  • Negotiations
  • Body language
  • Presentations skills
  • Productivity

It is not something explained in a PMBOK Guide. These are the topics worth a separate guide of its own – just for Project Managers.

So, what’s the catch?

It is much easier to get the ideas for short videos like these. You can then act upon them. Or you can dive deeper.

I recommend you build a simple routine to watch one or two TED Talks each week. It does make you a better PM

TED Talks on Project Management I Recommend

How did I choose these five talks among hundreds of others?

It’s all about the value you can immediately get from it.

Watch it. Think it over. Act.

I mean, examine your project environment to see if there is a place for improvement you never thought of.

1. Mindlessly Accepting Meetings

Think back for a moment.

How many times did you just accept a meeting invitation… well, just because you were invited to that meeting?

How many times did you decline the invitation? Not just “decline” like I have a conflicting meeting, which is more important.

But decline because I don’t see a reason for me to be at that meeting.

Decline because it is a waste of time. It is unproductive.

How many times did you ask a colleague to clarify the agenda and your role before accepting the invitation?

Among others, it is a dedicated TED Talk for Project Managers:

2. Priorities and Time Management for a PM

I’ll confess I’m a productivity and time management geek on the rise.

(It seems like a natural problem for a project manager.)

I have tried a lot of tools and techniques.

Here is what I found:

These tools and techniques are worthless without underlying principles or a methodology.

And underlying principles in Laura Vanderkam’s talk is:

“…time is highly elastic. We cannot make more time, but time will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it.”

The key here is: what we choose to put into it.

I don’t have time = It is not a priority.

Simple but powerful change of perspective.

It helped to eliminate hours of my useless work on many projects.

3. Simplifying Project Management

This talk takes some time to sink in.

At first, it seems like it is about big corporations. Project Managers like you and I don’t have the authority to operate on that level.


Take a closer look at the processes and interactions in your project teams.

Look how you solve repeating problems.

Check what you value:

Do you reward integrators?

Do you foster initiative and collaboration?

Or are your people afraid to take action without asking you?

Have you made yourself a centralized bottleneck already?

4. Why Leadership Works and How?

Let’s face it:

In essence, Project Management is boring.

It is about making people do the work in a controlled way to achieve goals that they don’t care about.

Here is a strange thing:

People think that there are Project Managers that do it better than others. There are PMs that make this dull organizational and administration stuff enjoyable.

The difference is in leadership skills.

Simon Sinek gives a simple framework for leadership:

Why -> How -> What

If you find the WHY for each of your team members, your projects will thrive.

5. Procrastination Monkey

Did you plan to become a project manager?

But you are not there yet!

Did you plan to get that PMI PMP certification?

But you have not started.

Well, then, this video is for you.

Easy and fun:

Share Your Favourite

OK, do me a favor.

Choose one!

I mean, really, only one TED Talk for project managers that you enjoy the most.

Share it with us in the comments below.

I really want to see something worthy.