Why do people attend TEDx conferences

How to organize a TEDx event in 10 steps

From the TEDx license to the speakers and the budget: Shaena Harrison from TEDxStockholm tells us how to organize a TEDx event.

TED stands forTechnology, entertainment, design. It all started with the annual TED conference in Monterey, California. If you are wondering how this one conference managed to create such hype, then read on!

Right from the start, the TED conference made its content accessible to everyone after the event. After the TED conference took place, the organizers put videos of the keynote talks by well-known speakers such as Bill Clinton, Jeff Bezos, Marina Abramović and Simon Sinek on their website. TED does what so many conference organizers fear: They make their content accessible to everyone.

The fear of organizers is mostly to make the presence at their own conference superfluous. In other words, people no longer have to buy a ticket if they can access the content of the conference free of charge afterwards. The TED brand is the best proof that this is not true: the democratization of knowledge is the recipe for success in this case.

What are TEDx events?

You can organize a complete TEDx conference, a university or youth event, one within your company or organization, or just a viewing party around an official TED event.

Since everyone is giving their time for free, it's a great way for individuals interested in becoming an event organizer to expand their experience. In the meantime, you can bring your community together and inspire you.

Of course, working with such a renowned brand as TED requires that you adhere to some strict rules - in return you benefit from a great network and a lot of support!

Shaena Harrison is part of the production team at TEDxStockholm. She tells us how to organize a TEDx event in 10 steps.

Step 1: Choose an event format

TED offers a variety of event formats to choose from. Which one you choose depends on the type of organization or company you represent. Clearly, you should also see how much you think you can do, what your budget is and how many people you can count on in your organization team.

Standard events

... up to 100 guests covering a range of topics, from two hours to a day, tickets can be charged up to a price of $ 100 (approx. £ 76) each. Standard event rules also apply to most other events.

University events

... are hosted at a college or university and organized by current staff or students to share the innovations and ideas that are being created by their community.

Youth events

... organized by or for children. Applicants under the age of 18 must have an adult co-organizer.

ED events

... for educators, students, administrators and others meet to discuss the future of education.

TEDxLive events

… Are a community viewing party at which the official TED conference is followed live via webcast. No limit on the number of participants.

TEDxWomen Events

... organized around the official TEDWomen conference with at least one streamed session. Free entry or a small fee if there are live speakers.

Business events

Organize and participate in a company's employees at the same time to share ideas that are central to your company's mission and values. There are license fees.

Internal events

... for non-profit organizations, government agencies and hospitals to promote the internal exchange of ideas and cross-departmental collaboration. No fees, as only for employees.

Library events

... organized by librarians in a local library. Often held weekly or monthly.

Step 2: Create the event program

Before you contact TED to apply for a license, you need to put together a rough program for your event and give it a name. Engage with new research, innovations, insights, theories, problems and their solutions that move your community locally. Or ideally topics that have not yet been dealt with in any TEDx talk or event.

You don't already need the approval of your speakers for this step, but TED asks for at least three examples of ideas for presentations that you would like to have covered. Lectures should be diverse and not have to be related to each other. When deciding on a topic for your event, it should be abstract.

IMPORTANT: TEDx events may not be organized to promote spiritual or religious beliefs, political goals, or commercial products.

You also need to keep in mind the screening of related TED Talk videos. For events that last less than half a day, two TED Talk Videos must be shown. For longer events, 25% of the entire lecture series must be official TED talk videos.

Pro tip from Shaena:“To develop the content for this year's event, we had a workshop moderated by Hyper Island, where we invited external guests and our event team. Together we discussed and discussed four larger concepts, and from there we broke down further interesting topics. This year's event has the motto "Lighthouse". We will have seven speakers speaking on technology, entertainment, design, education, science and society. "

Step 3: Apply for a TEDx license

You can only apply for one license at a time. It must always be connected to a clearly defined event location (TEDx Stockholm or TEDx Berlin). TED also dictates that you must live in the city for which you are applying for a license.

You have to register in good time, as your application can take up to eight weeks to be checked. You will then have 12 months to organize the event once you have received the license. TED advises that you should plan at least three months to organize a TED x event - however, we recommend that you start much earlier. Ideally, you have 9 to 12 months in advance for an event of this type.

Apply for a TEDx license

Shaena says: “The organization of our big TEDx event starts about 10 months beforehand. As soon as an event is over, we take a few months off in order to regroup and start the search phase for the next year. "

Step 4: assemble your team

Let your friends, relatives or colleagues know that you are organizing a TEDx event and see who would like to participate. Additionally, you can search the TED Community Directory for local members who are likely to want to help.

Each person on your team should be assigned a role that fits their specific skills. Often times, team members take on more than one role, depending on the size of your event. Just make sure they have the capacity to do these tasks!

Shaena reports from her experiences: “The size of the team can vary. I've seen teams of 3-5 people and teams that were much larger. Our Stockholm team consists of 38 people. We have divided them into sub-teams such as communication, production, members or partners. "

“I've worked with volunteers at all types of events and in my experience TEDx volunteers are the best! They are interested in TED, share their ideas and are happy to help. We would normally post an open call on our social media pages and get a decent amount of applications and spend a lot of time looking for volunteers. "

Step 5: Choose an event location and branding

According to TED, the best locations for TEDx events with 100 or fewer guests are simple and cozy. How about an old cinema or theater or an art gallery?

Event location

You should be able to set the following ticks for your location:

  • The ability to project and view videos
  • A stage for the moderator and the live speaker
  • One where you can place your catering or a bar
  • Conveniently located toilets
  • A free space that you can use as an exhibition area for sponsorship materials and a blogger lounge, if available
  • A "backstage" area for speakers and your team
  • Party room for sponsored lunches and other events

Event branding

Each stage must have your official TEDx logo with your full event name on it. Use creative "props" and visual elements to showcase your region, city or local culture. TED also stipulates that the event should be as environmentally friendly as possible.

Shaena also reveals an important point: “We had TED guidelines on how the stage had to be set up, for example the red carpet on the stage and the TEDxStockholm letters in the background. We also have guidelines for high quality video documentation of the speaking sessions - and that's a big part of our budget! "

Step 6: Confirm your speakers

Your actual program can be a maximum of 18 times 18 minutes. This means that you can bring a maximum of 18 speakers onto the stage with an 18-minute presentation each. The lectures can focus on one big, world-shattering idea; a small but fascinating idea; a question that nobody dares to answer or is about fascinating topics from the sciences. Or an artistic performance or an 18-minute lecture by an artist about his work.

TEDx speakers do not receive a fee and are not allowed to advertise themselves or their products on stage (unless they have been specifically asked to talk about it, e.g. introduce their robot or ideas from their book). Sponsors cannot be speakers and neither can you as the organizer.

Shaena's tip on this: “The great thing about TED is that the speakers, the volunteers and the entire team are all alike: TEDx is about giving something back to the community, your municipality or your city. So it shouldn't be a problem to find people for the stage who share TED's mission ”.

Step 7: create a budget plan

A TEDx event cannot be held to generate profit, not even to raise money for a charity. While you can charge tickets (up to the equivalent of $ 100 per person for most types of events), this can only be used to cover your expenses and any excess funds should go back to organizing follow-up events.

You can of course seek sponsorship to support the financing of certain cost items, such as the event location, catering and technology. TEDx suggests looking for in-kind sponsors and can establish existing relationships with specific companies that offer products or services for TEDx organizers free of charge.

Sponsors should be viewed as partners who want to enter into an authentic dialogue with the TEDx community. These partners should be encouraged to be as creative as possible in order to join the event organically.

Shaena reports from her experiences: “We are allowed to take money for the tickets to cover our costs. Our goal is to break even and offer our guests an extraordinary experience. All TEDx events rely heavily on sponsorship and ticket sales to bring these concepts to life. We have to make the events affordable and accessible to many people, but at the same time cover our costs. "

Step 8: Promote your TEDx event

To promote your TEDx event, you can have a page on TED.com and manage your ticket sales through Eventbrite. TEDx Berlin already does it like this:

You should also set up an official website for your event and your own social media pages. For more information on using social media, see our Social Media for Events guide.

In the run-up to your event, TED recommends keeping a blog in which you introduce the content of your event and teaser the speakers. Get your guests excited about your event by email on a regular basis. Use these email templates for events from MailChimp. The aim is to build a community around your event even before it takes place.

Shaena recommends: “In my opinion, what makes a good TEDx event is the variety of speakers and participants. The aim is to get people to interact and build a community and relationships ”.

Step 9: Organize photo and video documentation of your event

An important element of any TEDx event is the availability of the content after the event, so it is important to capture and share the action on the day. Live streaming is a great way to increase the reach of your event. Use Facebook Live, YouTube Live or TED's own live stream channel.

As soon as the videos of the lectures of your speakers have been edited, you should upload your lectures to the TEDx YouTube channel. You should also develop a post-event marketing plan for promoting your videos.

>> Speaking of live streaming - here are our tips!

Step 10: Send out a post-event survey

TED stipulates that you must send the TEDx participant survey within 48 hours of the end of your event; the results will be sent to you in PDF format four weeks after your survey has been sent. The results are based on the Net Promoter Score Systemso that you can easily compare the success of your TEDx event with others.

When it's all over, you can request an extension of the event. TED will review your performance and decide whether to grant you a second license.

Conclusion on the TEDx event in 10 steps

By organizing a TEDx event, you can benefit from using a highly regarded brand to help you attract exciting speakers, an engaged audience, and enthusiastic sponsors. Get inspiration from other TEDx event organizers on Eventbrite: Search for "TEDx" in the event search on www.eventbrite.de and enlarge the area on the map, then click on "Search in this area" and find many other TEDx events show the world:

It is important that you are aware that TEDx events are not held to generate sales, but to make knowledge freely accessible and ... to have fun - an important component that should always be retained in the organization.

Cover picture: Spiros Vathis

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Josephine Wick

Josephine Wick is Head of Content Marketing at Eventbrite. She has made it her goal to make the life of event managers and organizers a little easier with practical tips and tricks. After all, she speaks from experience: Among other things, Josephine organizes the successful roadshow "Event Academy powered by Facebook & Eventbrite".