Speaker FAQ

We're sorry, the deadline to apply as a speaker was August 1, 2018.

What is TEDx and who is “TED?”

TED isn’t a who, but a what… The acronym stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design.” TEDx is a locally organized TED Talk, an event licensed and sanctioned by the TED organization.

I’d love to speak! How do I apply?

To apply as a TEDxSoMa speaker, read all of these FAQ’s, then click the red button at the bottom of this page.

Can I nominate someone else to be a speaker?

No. We only accept nominations from the speakers themselves.

Do you pay your speakers?

TEDxSoMa does not pay speakers, provide an honorarium or compensate for travel expenses. We do, however, provide benefits like  pre-talk coaching and training, a gift bag, and a beautifully produced, broadcast-quality video that will live in perpetuity on the TEDx YouTube Channel.

If I speak, what is the commitment timeline to keep in mind?

August 1 – Application window closes (applications are rolling)
September 30 – Speaker finalists notified
October 20 – Rough Draft and Initial Video due
November 15 – Final Script due
December 10 – Final Video due
January 2 – PowerPoint Slides due

[schedule subject to change based on final date chosen]

* We may include rehearsal times in addition to the above dates.

What is an “idea worth spreading?”

An “idea worth spreading” is something that’s new and surprising - an idea or invention that our audience has never heard about - something that challenges their beliefs and perspectives.  An idea worth spreading isn’t “just” a story or a list of facts. It is not a lecture and it is not a keynote address. A good idea takes certain evidence or observations and draws a larger conclusion.

Is there a formula to follow?

There’s no single formula for a great talk, but there is a secret ingredient that all the best ones have in common. You might find this video produced by Chris Anderson, the TED Curator, informative as you put together your application.

What kind of talk is TEDxSoMa looking for?

At TEDxSoMa, we identify with speakers who have deep, profound ideas on a wide range of subjects that will foster learning, inspiration and wonder, and will provoke conversations that matter. TEDxSoMa is looking for speakers with NEW ideas not yet being discussed on a global scale. While stories of adversity are interesting, it is not the kind of talk we seek. For examples of compelling, new ideas, that are changing the world one conversation at a time, please visit www.ted.com. We care deeply about promoting equity and access for underrepresented populations across all barriers.

Are there any unbreakable rules that I should know about? What should I keep in mind when preparing my talk?

TED has very specific standards when it comes to speaking on their stage:
  1. Speakers are not allowed to self-promote (no selling your book, wearing your company t-shirt, or mentioning how to contact you).
  2. Any science that is mentioned must be sound, empirically researched, and replicable.

What guidelines should I be aware of?

  1. Talks MUST be memorized. No use of teleprompters or notes may be used. This ensures an authentic connection with your audience. TED Talks are never extemporaneous.
  2. Speakers are required to sign a waiver, which essentially explains that TED owns their video. More can be learned here.
  3. Speakers can use no more than a total of 30-seconds of excerpts from their TEDx Talk for other videos, including documentaries and promos. More details here.

What should I speak about?

This year’s talks will relate to our theme: “Modern Campfires.”  Modern Campfires asks us to ponder the question “Where did we come from?”  Part of our story begins with our early human ancestors  ability to create fire and control it.  This led to the development of campfires and campsites and was likely the beginning of our civilization evolved into what it is today. The campfire was a place for group bonding, a place to share food, tell stories, and a place to gain a sense of belonging and community. We welcome you to this modern campfire, where we all choose to participate, to create new ideas that will shape our shared future.

What idea have you created that served as the spark that became a flame and a fire that you’d like our community to gather around? What are you doing that impacts our shared future?

We are looking for a story that can serve as an anchor for an opportunity to learn something new, see ourselves or someone else in a new way, or provoke conversation that might otherwise be overlooked.

When may I submit my application and how?

We are be accepting applications in consideration of our January 2019 event through August 1st, 2018.  To apply as a TEDxSoMa speaker, read all of these FAQ’s, then click the button at the bottom of this page.

When will I know if my talk has been selected?

Speakers who apply by the application deadline will be notified via email on or before September 20th, 2018.

We're sorry, the deadline to apply as a speaker was August 1, 2018.