What is a TEDx Talk?

Before you start the search for speakers for your event, it’s important to know exactly what a TEDx Talk is. It also helps to understand the different types of talks worth spreading. That way, you know what you’re looking for.

A TEDx Talk is a showcase for speakers presenting great, well-formed ideas in under 18 minutes.

Why under 18 minutes? 

This short talk model works, since it only demands the audience's attention for a short period of time, decreasing the chance of minds wandering or daydreaming about lunch. In fact, some of our greatest TED Talks have been as short as 5 minutes long!

What is a great, well-formed idea?

It can actually be one of two things:

  • Something that’s new and surprising; an idea or invention that your audience has never heard about.
  • A great basic idea (that your audience has maybe already heard) with a compelling new argument behind it that challenges beliefs and perspectives.

In other words, an idea isn’t just a story or a list of facts. A good idea takes certain evidence or observations and draws a larger conclusion.

Types of talks 

When searching for speakers, you can keep in mind these seven different types of talks — not every speaker’s talk has to be exactly the same.

The big idea

The talks that make one or two very strong points, and it’s important. Examples: Bryan Stevenson, Onora O'Neill, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The tech demo 

An onstage look at some clever new invention that the speaker was a part of creating. Examples: Tan Le, Markus Fischer, Raffaello D'Andrea

The performance

Music, dance, magic, puppetry, or some other performance to captivate your audience. Examples: Usman Riaz + Preston Reed, Arthur Benjamin, Pilobolus

The artist’s statement

In these talks, artists showcase their art and explain the meaning and process behind what they create. Examples: Raghava KK, Liu Bolin, Aparna Rao

The “dazzle with wonder” 

These talks are mainly about the amazement of science and discovery. Examples: Yoav Medan, Marcus Byrne, Janna Levin

The small idea

These talks are not about one big, world-changing idea, but instead a very engaging take on an interesting topic. Examples: Mary Roach, Joe Smith, Charlie Todd

The “issue” talk

These talks expose your audience to an issue that they may not otherwise know much about. Examples: Rodrigo Canales, Lawrence Lessig, Rose George

Rules to Remember 

Our Content Guidelines give you a set of standards to follow when it comes to TEDx Talks, so use this as a guide. This includes:

  • No selling from the stage.
  • No political agendas.
  • No religious proselytizing (including new age beliefs).
  • Only good science.

Make sure to know these guidelines well.

Watch Chris Anderson at TEDGlobal 2013 tell us what makes a great talk, great.