How to Cite a TED Talk: Citation Tips for Your Presentations and Papers

How to Cite a TED Talk: Quick and Easy Guidelines
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Did you know that TED Talks have been viewed over 20 billion times worldwide, making them a global phenomenon that transcends cultural and linguistic boundaries? These captivating presentations have sparked curiosity, inspired countless individuals, and spurred meaningful discussions on a vast array of topics, from science and technology to art, psychology, and everything in between. The sheer magnitude of their impact is a testament to the power of ideas and the importance of sharing knowledge.

How to Cite a TED Talk

In this article, we'll provide you with quick and easy guidelines on citing a TED talk correctly so you can seamlessly integrate these thought-provoking talks into your work while giving credit where it's due. We'll also delve into the intriguing history of these world-renowned presentations, uncovering the evolution of ideas that have left an indelible mark on global discourse. You'll learn the essential requirements for delivering your own impactful TED Talk, from crafting compelling narratives to mastering the art of public speaking. But that's not all – we'll also equip you with the knowledge you need to cite TED Talks seamlessly in APA, MLA, and AMA citation format styles.

How to Cite a TED Talk

What Is a TED Talk?

A TED Talk is not just another lecture; it's a captivating journey into the world of ideas and inspiration. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and they are short, powerful presentations that cover a wide range of topics. These talks are typically delivered in under 18 minutes and are designed to convey profound insights, spark curiosity, and engage audiences on a deep level.

What sets TED Talks apart is their ability to distill complex concepts into digestible, memorable narratives. They offer a platform for experts, innovators, thinkers, and artists to share their expertise, experiences, and visions with a global audience. These presentations often incorporate storytelling, visuals, and compelling delivery to make the content not only informative but also highly engaging.

Since their inception in 1984, TED Talks have expanded beyond their original scope of technology, entertainment, and design to encompass virtually every field of human endeavor. From science and education to art, psychology, and social issues, they provide a stage for diverse voices and ideas that have the potential to change the world.

In the following sections, we'll delve into specifics for citing these talks. If you'd rather know how to cite a podcast, we've got you covered on that, too!

History of TED Talks

According to our essay writing service experts, the history of TED Talks began in 1984 when architect Richard Saul Wurman founded it as a conference in Monterey, California, aiming to unite leading minds for engaging, concise knowledge exchange. While it gained prominence over the years, TED Talks, as we know them today, gained traction in 2006 when TED started sharing conference talks online, going viral, and democratizing knowledge.

In 2009, TED introduced TEDx, a program that allows independent organizers to host TED-style events in their communities, further expanding its reach. Today, thousands of these events take place worldwide, covering an array of topics and featuring a diverse range of speakers.

TED Talks have continued to evolve, with themed conferences and initiatives like TED-Ed for educators, TED Fellows for emerging innovators, and TED-Prize for individuals with ideas worth spreading. It also curates niche conferences, such as TEDMED for healthcare and TEDWomen, which focus on women's issues and perspectives.

TED Talks continue to evolve, featuring influential speakers like Bill Gates and Brené Brown. Talks remain concise, limited to 18 minutes or less, promoting impactful knowledge sharing.

Requirements for Delivering a TED Talk

Delivering a TED Talk is a prestigious opportunity, but it comes with certain requirements:

How to Cite a TED Talk
  1. Compelling Idea: Your talk must revolve around a unique, thought-provoking idea worth sharing. It should be innovative, inspiring, or provide a fresh perspective.
  2. Clarity and Conciseness: The talks are limited to 18 minutes or less, demanding clarity and concise communication. Every word counts.
  3. Passion and Authenticity: Speakers should be genuinely passionate about their topic. Authenticity connects with the audience on a personal level.
  4. Engaging Storytelling: Effective storytelling is essential. A well-crafted narrative keeps the audience captivated and helps convey complex ideas.
  5. Visual and Audio Aids: Well-designed visuals and multimedia elements can enhance your message. Use them sparingly to support your talk.
  6. Practice: Speakers rehearse extensively to deliver a flawless performance. Practice in front of peers for feedback.
  7. Stage Presence: Confidence, body language, and eye contact are crucial. Speakers often undergo coaching to improve their stage presence.
  8. Relevance to TED's Mission: Ensure your talk aligns with TED's mission of 'Ideas Worth Spreading.' It should inspire and educate.

How to Cite a TED Talk: Easy Explanation

Citing a TED Talk in your academic work or presentations is a crucial skill for attributing valuable insights. In this section, we'll provide a straightforward guide to help you seamlessly cite these presentations in both APA and MLA styles, ensuring your references are spot on. Let's dive in!

How to Cite a TED Talk in APA Style

To understand how to cite a TED talk APA style, you should follow a specific format to ensure accurate referencing. Here's how to do it:

How to Cite a TED Talk


Speaker(s). (Year, Month, Day). Title of the talk [Video]. TED Conferences. URL


Robinson, K. (2006, February). How schools kill creativity [Video]. TED Conferences.

In this example:

Speaker(s): Include the last name and initial(s) of the speaker. In this case, it's Sir Ken Robinson (K. Robinson).
Year, Month, Day: Provide the publication date of the TED Talk in parentheses. If the specific date isn't available, use the year it was published.
Title of the talk: Use sentence case (capitalize the first word and proper nouns). Italicize the title and enclose it in square brackets.
[Video]: Specify that this is a video in square brackets.
TED Conferences: Indicate the source, which is TED Conferences in this case.
URL: Finally, include the URL where the TED Talk can be accessed.

APA In-Text Citations for TED Talks: Proper Usage

When wondering how to cite a TED talk in APA style with in-text citations, follow the author-date format, including the author's last name and the publication year in parentheses. Here's how you do it:

For a Direct Quotation:

  • (Author's Last Name, Year, Timestamp)
  • Example: (Robinson, 2006, 02:30)

For a Paraphrase or Summary:

  • (Author's Last Name, Year)
  • Example: (Robinson, 2006)

Remember to include the specific timestamp for direct quotations to indicate where the quoted information can be found within the TED video. If the TED Talk doesn't have page numbers, use minutes and seconds (e.g., 02:30 refers to 2 minutes and 30 seconds into the video).

How to Cite a TED Talk in MLA

Just like when wondering how to write an essay in MLA format, citing a TED Talk in this style requires proper referencing. Here's how to do it:

How to Cite a TED Talk

Speaker(s). 'Title of the talk.' TED, TED Conferences, Year, URL


Pink, Daniel H. 'The Puzzle of Motivation.' TED, TED Conferences, 2009,

In this example:

Speaker(s): The speaker's full name is provided (Daniel H. Pink).
Year, Month, Day: The publication year of the TED Talk is included (2009).
Title of the talk: The title is enclosed in quotation marks and formatted in sentence case.
TED: The name of the platform (TED) is italicized.
TED Conferences: The source is specified as TED Conferences.
URL: The citation ends with the URL where the TED Talk can be accessed.

For in-text citation:

For a Direct Quotation with Timestamp:

  • (Author's Last Name timestamp)
  • Example: (Pink 03:15)

For a Paraphrase or Summary:

  • (Author's Last Name)
  • Example: (Pink)

If you're quoting directly from the TED website and want to specify where the quoted information can be found within the video, use the timestamp (e.g., 03:15 refers to 3 minutes and 15 seconds into the video).


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Citing a TED Talk Accessed on YouTube

When wondering how to cite a TED talk MLA accessed on YouTube, you should include the speaker, the title of the talk, the name of the YouTube channel that uploaded it, the full upload date, and the URL. Here's an example:

How to Cite a TED Talk


Speaker(s). 'Title of the Talk.' YouTube, uploaded by Uploader's Name (usually 'TED' or 'TEDx Talks'), Day, Month, Year, URL.


Brown, Brené. 'The Power of Vulnerability.' YouTube, uploaded by TED, 11 Dec. 2010,

In this example:

Speaker(s): List the speaker's full name (e.g., Brené Brown).
Year, Month, Day: Provide the complete upload date of the video on YouTube (e.g., 11 Dec. 2010).
Title of the talk: Enclose the title in quotation marks, use title case (capitalize major words), and italicize it.
YouTube: Indicate that you accessed the TED Talk on YouTube.
Uploaded by
Uploader's Name:
Specify the uploader's name, typically 'TED' or 'TEDx Talks.'
URL: Include the URL of the YouTube video where the TED Talk can be accessed.

Citing a Transcript for a TED Talk

When unsure how to cite a TED talk in MLA with a transcript, the primary difference is the inclusion of 'Transcript' after the title of the talk. Here's the format:

Type of quote Format Example
Transcript Speaker(s). 'Title of the talk.' Transcript, TED Conferences, Date, URL. Brown, Brené. 'The Power of Vulnerability.' Transcript, TED Conferences, 11 Dec. 2010,

Including the TED talk 'Transcript' clarifies that you are citing the written version of the talk rather than the video or audio presentation.

To Wind Up

Whether you're referencing these insightful talks directly or citing their transcripts, our guide has provided you with the tools to do so with precision. Now armed with this knowledge, you can confidently incorporate TED Talks into your work while giving credit where it's due, contributing to the spread of ideas worth sharing!


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What's the Approach for Citing in APA 7th Edition Style?

What Sets Citing Apart?

How to Cite a TED Talk in AMA?

Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker

is a seasoned educational writer focusing on scholarship guidance, research papers, and various forms of academic essays including reflective and narrative essays. His expertise also extends to detailed case studies. A scholar with a background in English Literature and Education, Daniel’s work on EssayPro blog aims to support students in achieving academic excellence and securing scholarships. His hobbies include reading classic literature and participating in academic forums.

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