Create a selection committee

Choosing speakers and performers shouldn’t be the job of just one person. Having more people at the table will make for a more diverse and interesting group of speakers.

Your selection committee

Your event will have the best outcome if you develop a selection committee or curation team – a group of people you admire and trust and with whom you can collaborate to select your speakers.

Choose your committee

Your selection committee might be your executive staff, or a different set of smart people you know; the decision is up to you.

The size of your group is also important. Too small, and your thinking may be too narrow – too large, and you may end up always choosing the most agreeable options, not the most interesting.

Create a process for making decisions

From the beginning, you should develop clear guidelines for how you will choose your theme and speakers. The process you choose depends on the dynamics of your team. Here are a few possibilities:

Full democracy

Every speaker requires a reasonable consensus. (Again, this can be dangerous in large groups.)

Divided territory

Sections of the team are given full responsibility for different sessions or portions of the event. This can work well if you have a large group of people with a variety of different interests and specialties.

Absolute power

One member or a small group within the team takes full command of the speaker lineup and the rest of the team offers suggestions. While it seems dictatorial, it’s a great way to make sure your event has a clear editorial vision. Sometimes, the people in charge know best.

Notes from TEDx curators

“I found curating a TEDx event to be among the most educational and rewarding processes that college students could pursue.” - Porter Nenon, TEDxUVA

“Our speakers come from such a diverse background: some have lots of stage experience, but others are brilliant minds who haven’t shared much of their ideas worth spreading previously.” - Dania Gerhardt, TEDxZurich