Your TEDx audience is part of your TEDx community, and their engagement is just as important as your speakers, performers, and TEDx team. Organizers should select their audience carefully, choosing participants from a wide variety of backgrounds who can contribute meaningfully to the conversation.
The ideal audience
It’s important to think about who you want your event attendees to be. Use the following checklist when thinking about potential attendees:
- Are they from the community where I’m holding my TEDx event?
- Are they diverse by demographic, ethnicity, and background?
- Do they, or would they, have an interest in the theme, topics or speakers that I'm bringing to the stage?
- Do they support and value community-building and deep conversation?
- Could they be impacted by my TEDx event in a life-changing (or even world-changing) way?
- Will they carry my event’s “ideas worth spreading” out into the world?
To simplify the selection process, ask prospective attendees to fill out an application form. Their effort here will show their commitment to participating in your event. Your attendee application should include a clear description of TED, TEDx and your TEDx event. General information that should be included:
- Let them know what they should expect from your event: the size, location, theme, and whether you'll be featuring live speakers or only pre-recorded TED Talks.
- Inform applicants that due to space constraints and audience limits, not everyone who applies will get a ticket.
Application form questions
Your application form should include fields that capture basic information, such as:
- First name
- Last name
- Job title/role
- Email address
Also include fields for long-form answers to questions such as:
- Tell us about yourself.
- List up to three web links that will help us understand you better.
- What do you hope to get from this TEDx event?
It’s common for TEDx events to open tickets where guests can come on a “first come, first serve” basis. This is only recommended for a community where TED and TEDx aren’t known, or if you’re hosting a smaller event.
Rejecting an application
Chances are, you’ll receive an application from a prospective attendee that you’ll have to reject. You can use this template to send to applicants (customizing as you please):
Thank you so much for applying to attend TEDx[EventName].
We received a high number of applications compared to the number of spaces available for our guests, and unfortunately are unable to accommodate you at this time.
We encourage you to watch the livestream of our event, available here, and to apply to future TEDx[EventName] events.
The TEDx[EventName] Team
If people whose application was rejected express displeasure on social media or other platforms, please address them in a polite, gentle manner, reiterating the sentiments you expressed in your letter.
Next: Pre-event engagement
- Have too many applicants and not enough space? Consider offering a webcast event at a separate location, or ask others to host a viewing party organized around your event.
- Ask your attendees to opt-in or provide their email address specifically for the TEDx Attendee Survey in accordance with local data privacy laws. The TEDx Attendee Survey is a tool that provides incredible insight into the attendee experience and helps organizers identify what’s working and where to make impactful adjustments.
Rules to remember
- Enforce attendance limits. Only allow as many audience members as your license allows. You can do this by choosing “tiers” of prospective attendees you want at your event, and then invite them in batches to make sure you don’t go over.