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Discuss these themes

Engage your Circle in lively conversations about one of these three themes: monthly theme, Countdown or Here and Now. Pick a featured TED Talk below or find another related talk.

Monthly theme

January 2022

Staying humble

Humble beginnings to start the New Year as we learn from being wrong, questioning our beliefs, rejection and more. These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Staying humble”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Kathryn Schulz

On being wrong

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Conversation starters

When was the last time you embraced being wrong? Share your story with the group, how it ended, and what you felt along the way.

Collectively imagine a world where it's natural to own up to being wrong. How that would affect growth and society; how could you make that a reality?

On being wrong

Casey Gerald

The gospel of doubt

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Conversation starters

Recall the last time a firmly held belief turned out not to be true. What did you do and how did you feel in the face of this new reality?

What gives you hope in the face of uncertainty?

The gospel of doubt

Leah Garcés

A lesson in turning adversaries into allies

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Conversation starters

Have you ever worked with an adversary on a common goal? Describe the experience and the result.

The lessons Garcés shares apply beyond chicken farming. Has her talk helped change or improve your perspective in any way? Why or why not.

A lesson in turning adversaries into allies

Jia Jiang

What I learned from 100 days of rejection

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Conversation starters

What is one surprising, silly or serious thing Jiang has inspired you to try after watching his talk?

Which of Jiang's pursuits did you like the most and why?

What I learned from 100 days of rejection
Monthly theme

January 2022

Staying humble

Humble beginnings to start the New Year as we learn from being wrong, questioning our beliefs, rejection and more. These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Staying humble”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Kathryn Schulz

On being wrong

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Conversation starters

When was the last time you embraced being wrong? Share your story with the group, how it ended, and what you felt along the way.

Collectively imagine a world where it's natural to own up to being wrong. How that would affect growth and society; how could you make that a reality?

On being wrong

Casey Gerald

The gospel of doubt

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Conversation starters

Recall the last time a firmly held belief turned out not to be true. What did you do and how did you feel in the face of this new reality?

What gives you hope in the face of uncertainty?

The gospel of doubt

Leah Garcés

A lesson in turning adversaries into allies

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Conversation starters

Have you ever worked with an adversary on a common goal? Describe the experience and the result.

The lessons Garcés shares apply beyond chicken farming. Has her talk helped change or improve your perspective in any way? Why or why not.

A lesson in turning adversaries into allies

Jia Jiang

What I learned from 100 days of rejection

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Conversation starters

What is one surprising, silly or serious thing Jiang has inspired you to try after watching his talk?

Which of Jiang's pursuits did you like the most and why?

What I learned from 100 days of rejection
Monthly theme

December 2021

Reflections

How can reflection play a role in your life — may it be in those challenging moments, your finances or the future you? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Reflections”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Adam Grant

How to stop languishing and start finding flow

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What has helped you get out of ruts in the past? Share your techniques with the group, if comfortable.

Share the activities that get you into the "flow" Grant describes. What is it about them that make you feel good?

How to stop languishing and start finding flow

Nora McInerny

We don't "move on" from grief. We move forward with it

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Conversation starters

Which part(s) of McInerny's talk stood out to you the most and why?

Is there a person in your life who you'd want to share this talk with? If not, who in your life does this talk make you want to reach out to and why?

We don't "move on" from grief. We move forward with it

Robert A. Belle

The emotions behind your money habits

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Does Belle's talk — and "emotional audit" advice — make you reconsider how and why you spend (or save) money?

What are your favorite things, activities, food, etc. to save for or splurge on as a personal treat and why?

The emotions behind your money habits

Meg Jay

Essential questions to ask your future self

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Which part of Jay's framing or advice did you find most helpful when it comes to connecting with and planning for your future self?

What are some ways you've already planned for or even interviewed your future self?

Essential questions to ask your future self
Monthly theme

November 2021

Exploration

What does exploration mean for the future of society, science and our individual lives? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Exploration”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Ella Al-Shamahi

The fascinating (and dangerous) places scientists aren't exploring

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Conversation starters

What is something you have learned about yourself when presented with a demanding or stressful situation?

Are there other pursuits (academic or otherwise) you feel have a geography problem when it comes to discovering or learning new things?

The fascinating (and dangerous) places scientists aren't exploring

Jorge Mañes Rubio

What should humans take to space (and leave behind)?

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Conversation starters

If you were to travel into space, what would you bring and why? Get personal or go broad.

What are some things or practices you believe we need to get rid of on Earth? What would you replace them with instead?

What should humans take to space (and leave behind)?

Taiye Selasi

Don't ask where I'm from, ask where I'm a local

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Conversation starters

Where do you consider yourself a local? It can be big or small -- a different city or even the park around the corner. Discuss your experiences.

Like Selasi, do you get the "where are you from" or a similar question often? If so, how have you navigated it? If not, perhaps explore why that is.

Don't ask where I'm from, ask where I'm a local

Max Hawkins

I let algorithms randomize my life for two years

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Conversation starters

Would you let algorithms randomize your life? Share with the group why or why not.

If so, how long would let them do so?Share a story about a time you tried something new and it pleasantly surprised you. Would you do or try it again?

I let algorithms randomize my life for two years
Monthly theme

October 2021

Optimism

Is optimism a perspective, bias, catalyst, necessity, or all of the above? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Optimism”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Tali Sharot

The optimism bias

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Conversation starters

Tali Sharot's research makes a three-point case in favor of the optimism bias. Which point(s) resonate with you most?

Knowing your proclivity to the optimism bias, how will you protect yourself from being unrealistic while equally empowering yourself to be hopeful?

The optimism bias

Steven Pinker

Is the world getting better or worse? A look at the numbers

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Conversation starters

Data shows that many things are, in fact, better today than they were 30 years ago. Does that align with or counter your assessment of today's world?

If 'combining ideas recursively' sparks problem-solving/progress, how can you intentionally combine ideas? Additional resource: Matt Ridley's Talk

Is the world getting better or worse? A look at the numbers

Christiana Figueres

The case for stubborn optimism on climate change

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How does 'stubborn optimism' avoid foolishness or irresponsibility? How can you transform your optimism so it helps you meet challenges you face?

In Figueres' words: 'What is the future you want, and what are you doing to make that future a reality?'

The case for stubborn optimism on climate change

Shameran Abed

4 steps to ending extreme poverty

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Which of the four steps (meeting basic needs, moving towards livelihood, training to earn money, integrating socially) do you think best instills hope?

Abed urges us to 'light the spark of self-belief in people'. How might you provide that spark for someone in your life?

4 steps to ending extreme poverty
Monthly theme

September 2021

Imagination

Our imaginations can take us to new heights but how can we tap into them? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Imagination”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Manoush Zomorodi

How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas

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Conversation starters

When did you last spend an extended period of time away from your phone? What were the circumstances? How did that feel?

Why might so many of us be fearful of being bored?

How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas

Christopher Robichaud

How I used Dungeons & Dragons to teach ethics

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Conversation starters

What are your favorite games to play with friends and/or family and why?

What other games could teach you life skills or help you learn more about topic you care about?


How I used Dungeons & Dragons to teach ethics

Ethan Hawke

Give yourself permission to be creative

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Conversation starters

Hawke notes that poetry can be overlooked until we’re looking for empathy and guidance. What forms of creativity (poems or otherwise) do you turn to in moments like this?

What are other unexpected places that you’ve encountered passionate creativity?



Give yourself permission to be creative

Theaster Gates

How to revive a neighborhood with imagination and art

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Conversation starters

What things in your community do you wish could be revived with art and beauty? Brainstorm ways to make this a reality

What are your favorite buildings in your neighborhood or location? Try to describe them in vivid detail and share why they appeal to you.


How to revive a neighborhood with imagination and art
Monthly theme

August 2021

Irrational?

Think humans too intelligent to be irrational? Think again! These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Imagination”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Julia Galef

Why you think you're right -- even if you're wrong

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Conversation starters

Per Galef’s talk, do you consider yourself a scout, a soldier or is there another way you’d describe yourself?

Like scout and soldier, are there other creative metaphors you’d use to describe other interactions / mindsets?

Why you think you're right -- even if you're wrong

Robert Sapolsky

The biology of our best and worst selves

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Conversation starters

What do you think spurs people to be cruel or altruistic?

How do you think your life and circumstances have influenced the way you treat others?

The biology of our best and worst selves

Chetan Bhatt

Dare to refuse the origin myths that claim who you are

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Conversation starters

What origin myths have influenced your life? Share an example or two.

Drawing from Bhatt’s talk or your own observations, what are the dangers of holding on too tightly to origin myths?

Dare to refuse the origin myths that claim who you are

Laurie Santos

A monkey economy as irrational as ours

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Conversation starters

What are some ways you have found to stop making the same errors over and over again?

What is one human limitation that you would like to see surmounted? What is one idea for a design that might solve it?


A monkey economy as irrational as ours
Monthly theme

July 2021

Agree to disagree

If we can't agree on anything, how can we agree to disagree? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Agree to disagree”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Betty Hart

How compassion could save your strained relationships

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Conversation starters

What are the pros and cons of Hart’s perspective?

If comfortable sharing, who in your life would you use Hart’s advice with and why?

How compassion could save your strained relationships

Julia Dhar

How to disagree productively and find common ground

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Conversation starters

What's something you've changed your mind about, and why?

Thinking back to the topic you chose for the common ground question. What would it take to change your mind on that subject?


How to disagree productively and find common ground

Jonas Gahr Store

In defense of dialogue

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Conversation starters

Why, in your opinion, is dialogue so important?

What is it that makes people trust each other?

In defense of dialogue

Isabel Behncke Izquierdo

Evolution's gift of play from bonobo apes to humans

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Conversation starters

How do you think play affects relationships between people, or even just yourself?

What are ways we could incorporate play into our day-to-day lives, from small-scale interactions to larger-scale society?

Evolution's gift of play from bonobo apes to humans
Monthly theme

June 2021

Our bodies

How can we empower our own bodies and the bodies of those around us? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Our bodies”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Talithia Williams

Own your body's data

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Conversation starters

What's one biological thing in your life that you would be curious to track? What are some ways you could measure it?

Williams urged her audience to not be afraid to ask doctors to show them the data. Where else might this mantra be useful? Additional resource: Abraham Verghese's Talk

Own your body's data

Aimee Mullins

My 12 pairs of legs

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Conversation starters

How do you think the conversation around bodies has changed in the last 20 years?

How might society better support and normalize differently abled bodies?


My 12 pairs of legs

D-L Stewart

Scenes from a Black trans life

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Conversation starters

How much trans and Black history were you aware of before this talk? Additional resource: Karissa Sanbonmatsu's Talk

Which scene or piece of information from Stewart’s talk stands out to you the most? Why?


Scenes from a Black trans life

Paul Knoepfler

The ethical dilemma of designer babies

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Conversation starters

Is there anything about genetic modified humans that worries you? What might that be? If not, why not?

Would you support allowing genetically modified 'designer' babies in your country? Are there any medical exceptions that you would allow? Why or why not?

The ethical dilemma of designer babies
Monthly theme

May 2021

Risk-taking

Is there a safe way to take risks that enrich our lives? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Risk-taking”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Kashfia Rahman

How risk-taking changes a teenager's brain

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Conversation starters

Has Rahman’s talk changed how you view teens today or the decisions you made in your own adolescence? Why or why not? Additional resource: Gever Tulley’s Talk

Despite being about teens, how could you adopt some of Rahman’s learnings into your own life and understanding of yourself?

How risk-taking changes a teenager's brain

Tim Ferriss

Why you should define your fears instead of your goals

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Conversation starters

Will you adopt Ferriss’s fear-setting practice? Why or why not?

Do you have a method for making hard choices or taking risks? If so, consider sharing with the group. If not, has Ferriss convinced you to develop one?

Why you should define your fears instead of your goals

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya

How to be fearless in the face of authoritarianism

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Conversation starters

When was the last time you felt fearless? What was it about that context or circumstances that made it so? Additional resource: Yvonne Aki Sawyerr's Talk

If you've never felt fearless, or if it's a rare occurrence, why might that be?

How to be fearless in the face of authoritarianism

Shekinah Elmore

The courage to live with radical uncertainty

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Conversation starters

What were some of the ways that Elmore propelled herself through tough situations? How can her tenacity be replicated in your own life?

How might you approach doctors appointments differently as a result of this talk?

The courage to live with radical uncertainty
Monthly theme

April 2021

Appreciating Earth

What might we do differently if we had a deeper understanding of everything on Earth? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Appreciating Earth”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Emma Marris

Nature is everywhere — we just need to learn to see it

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Conversation starters

How do you define your locale’s nature? Is nature everywhere, nowhere, or somewhere in between? Describe in detail or share images to illustrate what you mean.

Has this talk challenged you to see your surroundings differently? If so, how? If not, why not?

Nature is everywhere — we just need to learn to see it

Menno Schilthuizen

How animals and plants are evolving in cities

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Conversation starters

Schilthuizen shares some unexpected ways that creatures have adapted to the urban jungle. Which evolutionary adaptation impressed you the most?

How has your region changed in your lifetime? What animal-friendly environments have come and gone? Additional resource: Prosanta Chakrabarty's Talk

How animals and plants are evolving in cities

Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz

Your body was forged in the spectacular death of stars

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Conversation starters

What came to mind during this talk? Did your mind stay in the present, travel light years away, or reconsider what you see when you look up at the night sky?

What did this astrophysics history lesson teach you about cosmic life and Earth life? Additional resource: Dave Brain's Talk

Your body was forged in the spectacular death of stars

Marah J. Hardt

Are we interrupting the kinky sex lives of fish?

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Conversation starters

In what ways are your habits connected with the ocean? Consider your diet, travel, and consumer goods.

What adjustments are you willing to make to ensure that sea life can continue?

Are we interrupting the kinky sex lives of fish?
Monthly theme

March 2021

Consumption's function

How might thoughtfully considering something's function help inform our consumption? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Consumption's function”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Aparna Mehta

Where do your online returns go

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Conversation starters

Were you aware of this practice before the talk? If not, how does it make you feel? If so, share how you learned about it.

What do you think needs to be done to stop this destructive habit? Consider options starting from the everyday shopper all the way to your favorite retailers.

Where do your online returns go

Graham Hill

Why I'm a weekday vegetarian

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Conversation starters

Did Hill convince you to adopt his weekday vegetarian plan? Why or why not?

Meat is a big part of many cultures around the world. Brainstorm ways to adopt more vegetarian meals without sacrificing important parts of a culture overall.

Why I'm a weekday vegetarian

Kathryn Bouskill

The unforeseen consequences of a fast-paced world

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Conversation starters

What are some of the consequences of our speedy society that you’ve encountered?

What are the occasions in your life or in your community when you wish things would happen faster? What are the times you wished happened more slowly? Are there commonalities within each category?

The unforeseen consequences of a fast-paced world

TED-Ed

How to choose your news

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Conversation starters

How do you personally decide that a news outlet is trustworthy? After everyone shares, consider if there are any other methods from the TED-ED lesson you could use.

What are the benefits of relying on the same outlets for your news? What are the dangers and/or limitations?

How to choose your news
Monthly theme

February 2021

Our memories

How can we be intentional about our memories and the way they shape our future? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Our memories”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

TED-Ed

How memories form and how we lose them

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Conversation starters

What surprised you most about the process of making memories?

Which memory-affecting factors (e.g. age, mental/physical health, stress, depression, isolation) are you most susceptible to? What would help you combat these factors?

How memories form and how we lose them

Anne Basting

How to meaningfully reconnect with those who have dementia

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Conversation starters

Before this talk, how did you feel about reconnecting with those who have dementia? How do you feel after watching this talk?

What memory do you hope outlasts any dementia you or a loved one might experience?

How to meaningfully reconnect with those who have dementia

Farish Ahmad-Noor

Why is colonialism (still) romanticized?

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Conversation starters

Are there memories that you remember more positively than they really were? Why do you think that is the case?

How can bringing diverse perspectives to our history (e.g. psychology, anthropology, arts, media) provide a better representation of what happened during that time?



Why is colonialism (still) romanticized?

Aparna Pallavi

What foods did your ancestors love

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Conversation starters

Was it surprising to find out that many foods are disappearing from our plates? Do you see this happening in your own home, city, or country?

Pallavi describes several ways in which we can better connect with our food. What is one way you can start today to better connect with your food?



What foods did your ancestors love
Monthly theme

January 2021

Intergenerational learning

How can we learn from and contribute to generations before and beyond your own? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Intergenerational learning”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Hajer Sharief

How to use family dinner to teach politics?

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Has this talk altered the way you see politics, or your place in it? Why or why not?

Did your childhood include anything like the Family Democracy Meeting? What do you think it would have been like if it had been in place? Would you adopt it with your own family? Why or why not?

How to use family dinner to teach politics?

Leah Georges

How generational stereotypes hold us back at work

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Conversation starters

How have stereotypes about your own generation affected the way you see yourself and others?

How do you navigate the multigenerational divide — in and outside of work?

How generational stereotypes hold us back at work

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim

Indigenous knowledge meets science to solve climate change

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How have your communities, households or otherwise married old and new knowledge to solve a problem?

When have you been corrected or shown a better way by old-school knowledge? If comfortable, share your story.

Indigenous knowledge meets science to solve climate change

Roman Krznaric

How to be a good ancestor

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Conversation starters

Is there a destructive legacy from the past that impacts you today that you wish had been prevented?

What’s one small habit you could change or practice you could adopt that could have a ripple effect for future generations?

How to be a good ancestor
Monthly theme

December 2020

Building momentum

What happens when instead of letting a moment pass, you build momentum and create a movement? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Building momentum”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Matt Goldman

The search for "aha!" moments

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Conversation starters

Describe the feeling of an aha moment to you. Is there a pattern (a specific time, place, etc.) to when you usually have them?

How could you better create the conditions for aha moments in your own life?

The search for "aha!" moments

Rana Abdelhamid

3 lessons on starting a movement from a self defense trailblazer

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Conversation starters

The third lesson was starting with joy. Abdelhamid felt joy from seeing women in her community support one another. What brings you joy? How has it inspired your journey?

Is there something you’ve been wanting to start? How might these lessons help you launch your idea?

3 lessons on starting a movement from a self defense trailblazer

Bunker Roy

Learning from a barefoot movement

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Conversation starters

Where have you been most surprised to find your best ideas?

Was there a time your perspective changed on the definition of a professional? (e.g. a cook in your family, delivery person, neighborhood handyman, etc.)

Learning from a barefoot movement

Thomas Crowther

The global movement to restore nature's biodiversity

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Conversation starters

Restoration, as Crowther explains, is not a silver bullet. It alone cannot solve our climate crisis. What are some of the ways that your community is addressing the problem at the individual, neighborhood, or governmental level?

What’s your favorite forest, tree, or plant? Why?

The global movement to restore nature's biodiversity
Monthly theme

November 2020

Truth tellers

How can we find, tell, and uphold the truth? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Truth tellers”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

J. Marshall Shepherd

3 kinds of bias that shape your worldview

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Conversation starters

Of the three biases, which do you think people (yourself included) succumb to the most and why?

Was there a time when you didn’t believe something (big or small) was real when it actually was? What convinced you otherwise?

3 kinds of bias that shape your worldview

Alex Edmans

What to trust in a "post-truth" world

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What are the dangers of this, and how can tips from Edman’s talk help prevent you from being falsely influenced in the future?

If we’re living in a “post-truth” world, what would a pro-truth world look like to you?

What to trust in a "post-truth" world

Deborah Lipstadt

Behind the lies of Holocaust denial

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Why do you think people deny the existence of horrible things?

What are your thoughts on the rise in mashing facts, opinions and lies?

Behind the lies of Holocaust denial

Julia Shaw

How to support witnesses of harassment and build healthier workplaces

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Conversation starters

What surprised you most about Shaw’s talk, and why?

Do you think this video has increased your likelihood of reporting incidents of harassment and discrimination that you have witnessed? Why or why not?



How to support witnesses of harassment and build healthier workplaces
Monthly theme

October 2020

Everyone's environment

How can we protect our environment? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Everyone's environment”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Per Espen Stoknes

How to transform apocalypse fatigue into action on global warming

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Conversation starters

What type of appeal — emotional, fact-based, story-centered, ethical, etc. — works best to convince you to do something?

Before this talk, how did you feel about engaging in conversations about climate change — did you fit into one of the five inner defenses? How do you feel after watching this talk?

How to transform apocalypse fatigue into action on global warming

Tom Rivett-Carnac

How to shift your mindset and choose your future

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Conversation starters

Why is powerlessness a luxury in this instance?

Has there been a moment in your life, be it solo or collaborative, at work or at school, or at home or in your community, when stubborn optimism and determined action led to a much-needed change?

How to shift your mindset and choose your future

Cheryl Holder

The link between climate change, health, and poverty

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Is the climate crisis visible in your community or your own life yet? If so, how is it showing up?

In a few decades, what is the story that you think will be told about the climate crisis? Will it be one of resilience, innovation, survival or defeat?


The link between climate change, health, and poverty

Kelsey Leonard

Why lakes and rivers should have the same rights as humans

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How will you feel about water moving forward after watching Leonard’s talk?

How do you feel about companies having the same rights as people — did it surprise you, anger you, etc.? Do you agree that water should have those same protections?

Why lakes and rivers should have the same rights as humans
Monthly theme

September 2020

Leading with curiosity

What could we learn if we led with curiosity towards ourselves, neighbors, and environment? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Leading with curiosity”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Nadya Mason

How to spark your curiosity

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How much do you experiment with the world around you? What did this talk make you want to test?

What were your favorite homemade science experiments as a kid and why?

How to spark your curiosity

Juna Kollmeier

The most detailed map of galaxies

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What is something that initially scared you but fascinated you once you learned more about it?

What do you think we’ll learn or discover in the next 100 years?

The most detailed map of galaxies

Özlem Cekic

Why I have coffee with people who send me hate mail

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Conversation starters

Why do you think those who sent Cekic hate mail agreed to meet her for coffee?

How can you engage in a healthy dialogue with groups you demonize? Weigh the pros and cons of each approach.



Why I have coffee with people who send me hate mail

Eduardo Briceño

How to get better at the things you care about

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Conversation starters

How often are you in the learning zone versus the performance zone?

Share a time from your life that demonstrates the learning zone/performance zone principle. What did you have to learn and practice and how did you demonstrate your mastery of it?

How to get better at the things you care about
Monthly theme

August 2020

How change happens

How does change happen? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “How change happens". Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Kelly Richmond Pope

How whistleblowers shape history

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Conversation starters

Has this talk altered your view on whistleblowing? If so, how? If not, why not?

Have you had a first hand experience involving the act of whistleblowing? Share with the group.



How whistleblowers shape history

Megan Ming Francis

We need to address the real roots of racism

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Conversation starters

Ming Francis observes we have the wrong diagnosis (bad apples) and the wrong cure (education) for racism. Why is it that education alone is not enough?

On an individual and country-wide scale, how can you confront inequitable treatment of any group of people?

We need to address the real roots of racism

Naomi Klein

How shocking events can spark positive change

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Conversation starters

Why do some events inspire longstanding action and change while other big moments seem to fade without the same impact?

Can you name any economic, social or other crises that have occurred in your country? What was the response? Give us your perspective on the outcome.

How shocking events can spark positive change

Halla Tomasdottir & Bryn Freedman

The crisis of leadership and a new way forward

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What do you think will transform after the global crises we’re experiencing now?

How could you incorporate Tómasdóttir’s perspectives and outlook into your own life and community?

The crisis of leadership and a new way forward
Monthly theme

July 2020

Designing with humanity

Design has wide-ranging impact. How can we design with humanity in mind? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Designing with humanity”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Poet Ali

The language of being human

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Conversation starters

Which universal languages do you find yourself using most in interactions with loved ones, strangers, and/or colleagues?

Has Poet Ali changed your perspective on the number of languages you understand? Why or why not?

The language of being human

Eli Pariser

What obligation do social media companies have to the greater good?

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What structures and rules from the real world would you most want to see brought to social media?

Which online spaces have you seen that work well for promoting the greater good? Which ones are falling short? In your opinion, what makes the difference?

What obligation do social media companies have to the greater good?

Mariana Mazzucato

What is economic value?

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Conversation starters

From your perspective, who creates the most value and why? Does the talk make you reconsider how you contribute in creating value?

Has Mazzucato helped redefine what “value” means to you? Why or why not? How would you define it now?

What is economic value?

Hamdi Ulukaya

The anti-CEO playbook

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Do you know of any other companies, in your community or beyond, with a similar approach?

What actions would you most like to see them change? How might you encourage them to do things differently?

The anti-CEO playbook
Monthly theme

June 2020

Resilience

What makes people, societies, and organizations resilient? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Resilience”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Susan David

The gift and power of emotional courage

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Are there ever instances where you feel like ignoring your emotions is a good idea? Why or why not?

In what ways could you incorporate David’s advice into your own life to help yourself and others?

The gift and power of emotional courage

Lucy Hone

Three secrets of resilient people

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Have you ever used any of the three strategies that Hone shares? Did you come upon it yourself or learn from someone else? If not, which do you think you’re most likely to use?

Outside of those highlighted in this talk, what strategies have helped you navigate tough times?


Three secrets of resilient people

Rachel Kyte

From disaster response to disaster prevention

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Conversation starters

Have you ever experienced a natural disaster (e.g. an earthquake, forest fire, cyclone, flood, etc.)? If so, what helped you get through it? Was it friends and neighbors, an aid program, or both?

What disaster risk policies or actions would you most like to see enacted in your community?



From disaster response to disaster prevention

Martin Reeves

How to build a business that lasts 100 years

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Of the six principles, which do feel are most urgent in our current times?

Though Reeve’s idea is presented for business, do you feel like you could adapt some of these principles to your own life, family, or community? How?

How to build a business that lasts 100 years
Monthly theme

May 2020

Life at its fullest

How can we live fuller lives? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Life at its fullest”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Ingrid Fetell Lee

Where joy hides and how to find it

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Fetell Lee argues that those in the West are obsessed with the pursuit of happiness, yet in the process, overlook joy. Do you agree with this? Why or why not?

“Joy is about feeling good in the moment, right now.” What’s one thing you can do right now (or a little later today) that will bring you joy?



Where joy hides and how to find it

Emily Esfahani Smith

There's more to life than being happy

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In what ways — small and large — have you, or someone in your life, tried to lead with love? Are there any short stories you’d like to share?

Does this talk help change What did this talk do to help change how you see and interact with yourself and others? If so, how?

There's more to life than being happy

Robert Waldinger

What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

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Was there anything from the study and its learnings that surprised you?

Beyond the three big lessons, what have you learned in your own life about relationships that is (or is not) covered in the talk?

What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

Michael Bush

This is what makes employees happy at work

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Do you think Bush’s ideas would have traction in your current community or workplace? Why or why not?

If implemented, which of the 4 ideas would make the most difference to your work environment?

This is what makes employees happy at work
Monthly theme

April 2020

A changing world

In what ways has the world already changed? What changes are soon to come? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “A changing world”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Kate Raworth

A healthy economy should be designed to thrive not grow

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How did this talk redefine your perceptions of economic growth, if at all?

Where do you think your own country is in the five stages of growth?

A healthy economy should be designed to thrive not grow

Brett Hennig

What if we replaced politicians with randomly selected people

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Would you trust randomly selected representatives more or less than elected ones? Why?

“Would it be better” than your country’s current system? (Additional resource: Yuval Noah Harari’s Talk)

What if we replaced politicians with randomly selected people

George Monbiot

The new political story that could change everything

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Do you feel stronger about nationalism or globalism — considering the political climate in your country and abroad — after listening to Kabbaj’s talk? Explain.

How have nationalist — or globalist — perspectives affected the way your country is run, if at all?

The new political story that could change everything

Wanis Kabbaj

How nationalism and globalism can coexist

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How could a new restoration story nurture the more generous sides of human nature (e.g. altruism, cooperation, empathy) and help move our societies forward?

Aside from economics, what’s another story you would like to see replaced?



How nationalism and globalism can coexist
Monthly theme

March 2020

Who has power

Do you feel powerful, powerless, or somewhere in between? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Who has power”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

TED-Ed

How to understand power

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Conversation starters

In the civic arena, which source of power do you experience most often? How does it affect you?

Can you think of a time when you had power in the civic arena (e.g. you led a discussion, volunteered to help others achieve a goal)?

How to understand power

Dave Meslin

The antidote to apathy

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Meslin redefines apathy as a “complex web of cultural barriers that reinforces disengagement”. What rating would you give to the apathy of your community? Why?

How much is your community supporting or discouraging your involvement? How does that impact the trust you have in your community?

The antidote to apathy

Tristan Harris

How a handful of tech companies control billions of minds every day

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How do you think Harris' three changes might help us regain power over these unintended consequences?

Do you think it is possible for tech companies to foster meaningful connections while remaining profitable, or is the attention-grabbing, “race to the bottom” the only means of survival? Why/why not?


How a handful of tech companies control billions of minds every day

Pia Mancini

How to upgrade democracy for the internet age

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How do you respond to our political systems: with more silence (disengagement) or with more noise (engagement)?

How much do you trust your country's political system? How much more would you trust it if your representatives voted in accordance with what citizens decided on a democracy app?

How to upgrade democracy for the internet age
Monthly theme

February 2020

How we love

Let's talk about love and its many forms! These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “How we love”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Helen Fisher

Technology hasn’t changed love. Here’s why

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How are choice and love connected in your culture? Do you think the paradox of choice stunts or stimulates love? Why?

What did/would you want to know about a partner before committing to a relationship and/or getting married?

Technology hasn’t changed love. Here’s why

Andrew Solomon

Love no matter what

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Conversation starters

What do you think is/would be challenging about loving children with their differences? How can you prepare yourself to love unconditionally?

How should education evolve in order to help families “love no matter what”?

Love no matter what

Shasta Nelson

Frientimacy

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Conversation starters

How loved and supported do you feel by your friends? How do you cultivate friendships where both of you feel seen?

Why do you think connectedness is correlated with the significant health issues Nelson cites? How does that make you feel?



Frientimacy

Katie Hood

The difference between healthy and unhealthy love

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In what instances have you experienced the early warning signs of unhealthy love? Did you realize it at the time? If so, how? If not, what helped you realize it?

What aspects of your life have/could improve because of experiencing healthy love?

The difference between healthy and unhealthy love
Monthly theme

January 2020

The future

Do you prefer to think about the past, present, or future? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “The future”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Bina Venkataraman

The power to think ahead in a reckless age

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What are we failing to imagine (e.g. risks, natural disasters, etc…) that consequently jeopardizes our future?

Venkataraman calls for tools to help us think ahead. What tools do you think are helpful in fostering foresight?

The power to think ahead in a reckless age

Anthony Goldbloom

The jobs we’ll lose to machines and those we won’t

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How can we make the economy more equitable for the people who will lose their jobs to machines?

Do you see machines as a support or as an enemy?

The jobs we’ll lose to machines and those we won’t

Henrietta Fore

How we can help young people build a better future

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What skills do you think young people need most to be prepared for the future?

How should education evolve in order to train them for the future?

How we can help young people build a better future

Herman Narula

The transformative power of video games

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Has this Talk changed your perspective on video games? If yes, how so? If not, why not?

If games can help us connect, collaborate, empathize, and earn income, does it matter that they are not real?



The transformative power of video games
Monthly theme

December 2019

Money matters

In what ways does money matter to you? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Money matters”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

David Burkus

Why you should know how much your coworkers get paid

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Conversation starters

Is there anyone with whom you have shared/are comfortable sharing your salary? If yes, what makes that relationship different from others?

If you could see your colleagues’ salary so long as you shared yours, would you do it? Why or why not?

Why you should know how much your coworkers get paid

Tammy Lally

Let's get honest about our money problems

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Conversation starters

Why do you think we hide our problems around money? (sit silent in money shame)

Do you or people you know equate financial-worth with self-worth?

Let's get honest about our money problems

Nick Hanauer

The dirty secret of capitalism - and a new way forward

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What’s your view on neoliberal economic assumptions (e.g. raising wages kills jobs, people are paid what they are worth, humans are rational and selfish)?

To whom do you think corporations should be accountable (e.g. shareholders, customers, workers, community)?

The dirty secret of capitalism - and a new way forward

TED-Ed

Would winning the lottery make you happier?

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Conversation starters

What surprised you most about the connection between happiness and wealth?

What positive or negative things have you become used to (your hedonic treadmill)?

Would winning the lottery make you happier?
Monthly theme

November 2019

Justice and society

What would help make our society more just? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “Justice and society”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Melanie Nezer

The fundamental right to seek asylum

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Conversation starters

What parallels are there between the refugee crisis in Europe and the Mediterranean?

What responsibility do countries have for stabilizing these regions beyond accepting asylum seekers?

The fundamental right to seek asylum

Carole Cadwalladr

Facebook's role in Brexit -- and the threat to democracy

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Conversation starters

Is there a way to harness social media for democratic good? (Additional resource: Pia Mancini's Talk)

How do you think social media has generally changed the global political climate?

Facebook's role in Brexit -- and the threat to democracy

Bryan Stevenson

We need to talk about an injustice

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Conversation starters

If justice is the opposite of poverty, what are you doing/think needs to be done to fight the injustice of poverty?

How can you begin to solve poverty and incarceration given their disproportionate effects on marginalized communities?

We need to talk about an injustice

Benedetta Berti

Did the global response to 9/11 make us safer?

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Conversation starters

Are human rights core to the political discourse in your country?

Do you feel more or less secure than you did before 9/11, 10 years ago, last year?

Did the global response to 9/11 make us safer?
Monthly theme

October 2019

How to be a better human

What could take us from being good humans to being better humans? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “How to be a better human”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Margaret Heffernan

The human skills we need in an unpredictable world

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Conversation starters

What is your view on the priority governments, companies, organizations and people place on technology-driven efficiency?

In what areas could the world stand become more efficient?

The human skills we need in an unpredictable world

Christer Mjåset

Why your doctor needs your help to battle over-treatment

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Conversation starters

Have you asked your doctor these questions? If not, why not? If so, what was their response?

Do you have a relationship with your doctor that supports these conversations?

Why your doctor needs your help to battle over-treatment

Matt Walker

Sleep is your superpower

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Conversation starters

Would you be willing to have brain surgery to get the implant that amplifies deep sleep? Why or why not?

How often do you get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep a night?

Sleep is your superpower

Maja Jovanovic

How apologies kill our confidence

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Conversation starters

How often do you find yourself making unnecessary apologies? What leads you to apologize in these moments?

If a colleague is 20 minutes late, would you rather them say, "I'm sorry for being late" or "Thank you for waiting for me?"

How apologies kill our confidence
Monthly theme

September 2019

World of wonder

How often do you wonder about the world - from plants and animals to oceans and stars? These featured TED Talks will help your Circle explore “World of wonder”. Hover over each talk for conversation starters that support group discussion.

Greta Thurnberg

The disarming case to act right now on climate change

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Why do you think we "carry on like before" when it comes to climate change?

How persuasive do you find Greta's argument?

The disarming case to act right now on climate change

Jennifer Khan

Gene editing can now change an entire species - forever

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Conversation starters

Are you encouraged or concerned about the impact of gene drive technology editing human nature?

What are the benefits and risks of using the technology and of not using the technology?

Gene editing can now change an entire species - forever

Barbara J. King

Grief and love in the animal kingdom

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Conversation starters

Are we anthropomorphizing animals by assigning them human-defined emotions?

Do you believe that animals grieve? Why?

Grief and love in the animal kingdom

Stephen Webb

Where are all the aliens?

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Conversation starters

How does the idea of intelligent life beyond humans — or the idea of humans being alone in the universe — make you feel?

What's the value of looking for alien civilizations if we're actually alone?

Where are all the aliens?
Climate action theme

Countdown

Keen to address climate change? Countdown is a global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis. Check out the bi-monthly Countdown theme.

Visit Countdown’s website
Urgent theme

Here and Now

Facing an urgent issue? Here and now is an invitation to discuss a pressing topic that is affecting your community. Find related content or select a talk picked by hosts.

Consider these picks

Take it from our hosts

3,500 hosts across 135 countries are fostering community and multiplying impact through their discussions. Here are a few!

Circle gathering on an online call

“It’s great and engaging to discuss a variety of topics with our students!”

TED Circles hosted by Alessandra Will and Carla Pastorisa Dalzochio
Curitiba, Brazil
Hosting since February 2021

Circle gathering in Saudi Arabia

“I love meeting at local cafes and also online so my guests can join across the country.”

TED Circles hosted by Talent Reunion
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Hosting since August 2020

Circle web conference

“Guests like the format because ‘there is more depth and trust in these conversations!’”

TED Circles hosted by TEDxFrankfurt
Frankfurt, Germany
Hosting since April 2020

Frequently asked questions

TED Circles are purposefully easy to adopt so they occur regularly and easy to adapt so they reflect hosts’ personalities. With many possibilities come many questions which are answered here and illustrated in the video below.

Who can host?

Who can attend?

How do you host?

What's discussed?

Where do they happen?

If you have additional questions, please email tedcircles@ted.com