Lara Stein

TED Licensing Director,


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As a TEDx organizer please share a best practices, an innovation, something incredible or something useful from your TEDx event.

As a TEDx organizer what is the one nugget you would want to share with other TEDx organizers that would be incredibly useful, inspirational or innovative as they execute their TEDx event. Keep it real.

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    Apr 11 2011: A TEDx only happens when there is a real community wanting it to happen. I think that Independent of location, audience, and also the theme, the goal of a team organizing a TEDx, is preparing your speakers. The TEDx can not be just a canned presentations session in 18 minutes.

    We need to bring the best possible experience for all participants, either the viewer, speaker or partner.

    And finally, we need make with emotions and much passion.
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      Apr 11 2011: Hi Felipe!
      Good point, I'm starting to organize a TEDx event at my school and I would like some advices on how to inspire people to be interested and to participate on a TEDx, now that you mentioned that it only happens when there's a real community wanting it to happen.
      Thank you very much for posting!
      Um abraço,
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    Apr 15 2011: After organizing our first annual, being in the middle of planning our second and hosting three streaming events here are my key lessons learned:

    -Assemble a star organizing team.
    -Have clear roles and group agreements.
    -Have a speaker coach (or three) as part of your team.
    -Don't lose sight of your speakers and their talks being the most important part of your event. (There are always a thousand other details to distract you)
    -Feed people really good food, and plenty of it.
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    Apr 13 2011: I always look at events with a 'no stress allowed' planning attitude. Every part of your event can be planned for, it just sometimes takes some experience to know just what to look for. This goes for obvious things like the weather (if it rains we need a tent for the afterparty) to the complex (a speaker starts pitching a startup after they practiced a different talk).

    For first time or new organizers I would
    * list out why you are having your event (school sustainability is being overlooked / is in a direction the community doesn't like!)
    * list out what a 'perfect' event would be (venue, feeling, speakers, excitement)
    * create a team that has time to work on the project that you can trust to follow through (each has their specialty ~ a host, curator, event production manager, stage manager, design, website and volunteer organizer)
    * discuss and start planning with the team on just how you would merge the first two items

    With a stress free approach, you are open to really seeing the opportunities for innovation.
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    Apr 8 2011: Aim for the moon, and get as close as possible with the means you've got!

    get the necessary ingredients (some people in a room watching TED),
    and add what you feel like adding (speakers, food, decorations,...)

    As long as you keep the "Ideas worth spreading" and authenticity, not much can go wrong.

    But beware: you might end up having a 30-people crew organizing a 600+ event within 18 months of your first event
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      Apr 13 2011: Hey Cristophe, what did you mean by beware? I am interested in starting an event at my school and would love your advice.
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        Apr 15 2011: I mean that things might start rolling... meeting enthusiastic people who help you, giving you opportunities, but you start to put more of your own time into it...

        concerning advise: Look around for the people who want to help or are interested...

        In a School: talk to others about it, and if only 2 people show up during the first session when watching a TED talk... It can grow.
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    May 20 2011: The key to a successful TEDx event is passion. This may sound like an over simplification, but it really is the key. Find truly passionate presenters (not just subject matter experts or friends who want stage time to self-promote) who can deliver a TED-style talk and are willing to commit to giving the talk of their lives. Next, carefully curate a diverse audience of engaged people who are already contributing to big ideas in the community. The result will be a buzz of energy you're not likely to encounter anywhere else. Finally, don't let the buzz die. Continue to engage attendees and the community through social media and through monthly community conversations, if possible.
    • May 24 2011: The key to a successful TEDx event is an afterthought, or maybe a hunch..They must commit to ..nothing in particular, or maybe..the talk of their, take a random audience of anyone (or no one in particular) who are doing whatever they fancy that day..The result will be, whatever... In fact "whatever will be will be".. Then Let it Die..After all, Why harp on about it?
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        May 25 2011: i like the way you put it across
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    May 20 2011: A week before an event, host a "speakers dinner"... inviting the speakers and core team members to have a friendly chat over great food.

    Helps bond speakers and team. Aside from being a good break from all the (busy) prep work (both on the speakers' side, and on the team's side), it also results in better chemistry and flow between speakers/talks during the event
    This is something our co-founders at TEDxJakarta ( originated in the early days. Hope it works out nicely for your TEDx too!

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      Jun 7 2011: Yes, we in TEDxBandung do similar thing in our 2nd event (March 27). The night before the event, we invited some of our speakers for rehearsal, and after that some of them nicely stay together with the team throughout the night, sharing (and singing together), forming our bonds even deeper!

      We realized that in TEDx, the regular attendees, speakers, and the organizing team basically are the ones that form the TEDx community, the differentiating points are that TEDx speakers are members who have the privilege to speak, and the organizing committee are the ones who have the privilege to organize the event.
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        Jul 6 2011: We at TEDxDirigo organize a rehearsal dinner as well and ask that all presenters and organizers be there. It's one of the only chances for everyone to be together for an opportunity to connect in a more relaxed setting. And there's just something timeless about breaking bread together to forge bonds and community.
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    Apr 13 2011: One of the great lessons I would like to share with TEDx Organizers is the involvement of true TED-sters in TEDx organizing committee. Last Year I had group of TED translators helping me and this year I involved most active and committed ones in TEDx Support Group. These are people who do TED talks translations, despite their busy life and they are ready to help with finding great speakers, volunteering during the event, spreading the word and enthusiasm about TEDx events….
    I deeply believe that One should engage people with positive energy and right attitudes in TEDx event organization process, so you have people who really work for the “Ideas Worth Spreading” , This ensures strong image for the event and everybody wants to become part of it as an attendee or as a volunteer.
    It is really important to build an environment and create an open space for great ideas and great people to work together, to want to suggest their ideas and support….
    For our TEDx event, I had enough support form high shoot professionals who were volunteering for us, also I had a lot of in kind contributions which made TEDxYeravan happen…
    Our event was not a paid one and this year also is free as well. Last Year we had 200 people who stayed for 10 hours, until the very last moment of the event.
    It is crucial to have a successful event and great speakers for the first TEDx event, cause this ensures demand for next events. We already have a lot of people applying us for this year event as attendees .
    Finding great local speakers and preparing them is really key to success. We did auditions for speakers last year, and will be doing this year. We invited our TED-sters (people who are familiar with TED) and asked the potential Speakers to do presentation of their talks in front of this audience. The talks and speakers who were liked by our TED-sters most of all, were selected to work with ….
    I could continue, but I guess this is enough for now. Hope this is useful ….
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    Apr 24 2011: After organizing 5 TEDx events I think the most incredible thing is how easy it is to make an impact world wide or at least in a totally different part of the world and how quick you can connect with high-class professionals in various countries through other TEDx organizers. We also had some great TEDx organizers attending our event and we had a great time together creating new ideas worth spreading.
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    Apr 12 2011: I have found that "selling" the TED concept is difficult if people are not familiar with it, so you have to start by focusing on the existing fan base and build from there. That means you need a realistic assessment of the market for tickets at whatever price you're charging, and the size/sophistication of your event should be appropriate for that market and budget.

    We've aimed for the moon twice, and had two OK events, but we're planning to focus on salon-style community events for a while from now on. Trying to put on a great show for 100 people is only appropriate if you can be certain of finding 100 people willing to pay for a great show. Better to have 30-50 people paying pennies for a basic event than a great show in a half-empty room and unpaid bills.

    30 people can become hundreds in a year or two, as your fans do the selling for you. Build it as a community, a tribe, rather than go out hunting for customers.
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    Apr 7 2011: Adding a clock that our speakers could see (the audience could not), kept everyone from running long and helped the even run smoothly.
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    Jul 6 2011: I would say that from the nuggets we discovered in our 1st TEDxBilbao (Sharing and inspiring the PASSION to ideas worth spreading; This shouldn´t be a standard event. Show the difference;...) revealing INVISIBLE LEADERS from our community and beyond may be the golden one.
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    Jun 10 2011: In my experience, the TEDx brand will draws volunteers that are aspirational in their desire to help, but who may not have developed the expertise to manifest those aspirations. Discernment is required to balance evolving creativity and within the constraints of delivering a quality product on time and at budget. Servant leadership by experienced professionals is very helpful in making it all come together.
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    Jun 3 2011: Some great things mentioned here already. I'd just like to stress the importance of preparing your speakers for the talk of their lives. TED talks have a very particular format, and being able to engage with your speakers early on in the process, being able to interact with them and coach them towards delivering the best talk they can give will truly make a massive difference. It's a great learning experience for the speaker as well as the organizer.
  • May 26 2011: I would like to share my website, where I tell people how to isolate Wardforce from the North and South Poles. Wardforce is part of the Magnetic Field that has been isolated from the Poles and show that we can use Magnets for producing clean energy. . Build one, or come see for yourself! Everything is verifiable!
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    Apr 16 2011: Waterbrick. I would like to see the TED Community help raise awareness of this incredible bulk-water storage solution that has helped the people of Haiti and can truly help the people of Japan. Have a look: