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
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
Next: Create a theme
Watch Chris Anderson at TEDGlobal 2013 tell us what makes a great talk, great.
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 commercial agendas
- No political agendas or inflammatory rhetoric
- No religious agendas
- No bad science
Make sure to know these guidelines well.