Ok, so you want to deliver a compelling idea on the TEDx stage. You are prepared. You have applied. Now what?

Two recent TEDx speakers that have walked the path before you, have some killer hacks to help you to land your first TEDx talk.

Ryan Foland is a communication trainer who is managing partner of InfluenceTree, who spoke at TEDxUNLV in Nevada during their 2016 event.

Daniel Midson-Short is an inspirational speaker and writer and will be delivering a talk withTEDx Temecula on October 29th.

Ryan and Daniel also got their city experiment called City of Speakers recently approved for the massive TEDxLA event in December of 2016, to be held at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.

They both admitted that getting spots in a TEDx event is no easy task. But with the right strategies and some assistance, they both continue to make it to TEDx stage.

Here are Ryan and Daniel's final 8 insider strategies to landing your first TEDx talk:

1. Leverage your Alma Mater

Many universities have TEDx programs that are run by student groups. Often times these groups focus on and showcase faculty, staff, outstanding students, and alumni. Ryan and Daniel suggest that you reach out to your Alma mater and find out if they have a TEDx program. If they do you may be able to bypass the application process and talk directly with the organizers about your idea, giving the fact that you are an Alum.

2. Make it a Short Talk

Do you know what all TED and TEDx talks have in common? They are all less than 18 minutes long. Most applications will ask for the approximate amount of time that your speech will be. One trick to landing a TEDx talk, is to apply with a speech that is shorter than 18 minutes. From an organizer standpoint, time is the most valuable thing they have in their program. If you present a proposal with a talk that is significantly shorter than 18 minutes, it might increase your chances of their ability to fit your talk into the program. Some of the most famous talks, are less than 10 minutes, and some as short as 5 to 7.

3. Create a Custom Video Message

Ryan and Daniel mentioned that often times applications will ask for a short video clip explaining your speech that you are proposing. You don't have to make it a professional production, you just need to record it and upload it to YouTube as an unlisted link. When formulating the video, remember that it is a great opportunity to give them an idea of your personality and your stage presence. Don't overthink it, just be yourself and make sure that you customize the video to mention the specific TEDx event that you are applying for. You don't want the video to come across as something that you have canned, or are using in multiple applications.

4. Submit Multiple Applications

Most TEDx events only happen once a year, and landing your first TEDx talk is a numbers game. When Daniel and Ryan were first getting started, they made it a habit of applying to most every TEDx application call for speakers that they came across. The more applications you fill out, the more comfortable you get with the process. The first couple of times you apply may seem very difficult and time consuming. But as you continue to make multiple applications, the process gets easier and it increases your chances to be selected for a speech topic. How many should you apply for? The answer is how badly do you want to talk? Be persistent and keep applying.

5. Locals Have the Advantage

Many TEDx events will prefer speakers who are local to the area. This is because the attendees tend to be from that area as well, and they want to have someone they relate to. So if you see an event in your area, then be sure to apply and mention you are a local.

6. If you don't get Accepted, Move to Plan B.

So you didn't get accepted to a TEDx talk. No biggy. In fact, it's par for the course when applying. But that doesn't mean you should write off the event entirely. Offer to be a backup speaker should one of the speakers get sick or be unable to make the event. See if you can volunteer for the event. If they don't need a backup speaker or more volunteers, get tickets to the event and go! When you are there, try to find and meet the organizers, congratulate their work and show them that you are interested in supporting the group's mission.

7. Set Calendar Reminders

Very often when you hear of an actual TEDx event, chances are you missed the call for speakers deadline. Most events put out a call for speakers many months before their show date, and most have their events during the same time each year. The trick is to set a reminder for three to six months after an event to increase your chances of finding their call for speakers. Check out ted.com/tedx/events and look in your region for the upcoming events. Then you can make calendar reminders to reach out to organizers when you think they may be looking for their next batch of speakers.

8. Prove That You Have Something To Say

You might have heard the old adage that it's easier to land a new job when you already have a job. It's a similar concept for getting to TEDx speeches. If you have spoken at other events, it shows validation that you are an expert in your topic. It shows that you have experience in public speaking, and that people want to hear your talks. You should be submitting applications for various calls for speakers other than TEDx. You should be striving to speaking on public platforms whenever and wherever you can. The more 'stage time' you have, the better chances you have of being recognized as someone who would be a good fit for the TEDx stage.


So there you have it, 6 steps to prepare, 9 ideas to apply and 8 strategies increase your chances to get your very first TEDx talk. Whoa. That should at least get you halfway to the TEDx stage. The rest is up to you.

Thanks to Ryan and Daniel for their wisdom and willingness to share.

Be sure to share any comment below you've had about applying to a TEDx event, or what benefit you have found being a TEDx speaker if you've spoke in the past.




Published on: Sep 28, 2016