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My Journey to Become a TEDx Speaker — Tabby Biddle

Becoming a TED Speaker: Your Journey to TED Talks

Downloader Baba
November 8, 2023
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TED Talks have become a global phenomenon, captivating audiences and sparking meaningful conversations. Here’s why they matter:

  1. Inspiration: TED Talks inspire people to think differently and see the world from a fresh perspective. Visionary speakers share their innovative ideas and experiences, motivating individuals to explore new horizons.
  2. Education: TED Talks are an invaluable source of knowledge. They cover a wide range of subjects, from science and technology to art and personal development. The talks distill complex concepts into easily understandable insights.
  3. Connection: TED Talks connect people across the globe. They bridge cultural and linguistic barriers, fostering a sense of unity and shared understanding. The stories shared in these talks resonate with people from all walks of life.
  4. Change: Many TED Talks present solutions to pressing global challenges. They drive change by highlighting issues like climate change, social justice, and healthcare. These talks motivate individuals and organizations to take action.

Moreover, TED Talks matter for speakers as well. If you aspire to become a TED speaker, the platform offers several advantages:

Benefits for Speakers Details
Global Reach Becoming a TED speaker provides an unparalleled opportunity to share your message with a massive global audience.
Credibility Being associated with TED lends instant credibility to your ideas and expertise.
Networking You’ll connect with influential individuals and fellow TED speakers, expanding your professional network.
Personal Growth Preparing and delivering a TED Talk is a transformative experience that enhances your public speaking and communication skills.

In summary, TED Talks matter because they inspire, educate, connect, and drive change. For aspiring speakers, being part of the TED community offers a unique opportunity for personal and professional growth. It’s a world where ideas truly have the power to change lives and the world.

Understanding the TED Selection Process

How to Get a Ted Talk: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Onstage

Being chosen as a TED speaker is a prestigious opportunity, and understanding the selection process is crucial for those aspiring to share their ideas on the TED stage. Let’s delve into the intricacies of how TED selects its speakers:

  1. Nomination and Application: The selection journey often begins with either a nomination or an application. TED accepts both self-nominations and nominations from others who believe in the potential of a particular individual or idea.
  2. Quality of Ideas: TED is known for ideas worth spreading, so the core criterion for selection is the uniqueness and impact of the proposed idea. The idea should be compelling, innovative, and have the potential to create a positive change in the world.
  3. Pitching Your Idea: Once nominated or after applying, you may be asked to pitch your idea to TED. This pitch should be concise, persuasive, and capable of grabbing the attention of the selection committee.
  4. Selection Committee: TED has a team of curators who review nominations and applications. These curators possess a deep understanding of what makes a TED Talk impactful and will evaluate your idea based on its originality and significance.

For a more detailed understanding, let’s take a closer look at the key factors that the selection committee considers:

Selection Criteria Details
Novelty Your idea should be fresh and bring a new perspective to the audience. It should stand out as original and unique.
Relevance The idea must be relevant to contemporary issues and have the potential to make a positive impact on society.
Clarity Your pitch and idea should be presented in a clear and engaging manner. The selection committee looks for effective communication skills.
Credibility Being an expert or having a strong background in your field can enhance your chances. Credibility adds weight to your idea.

It’s important to note that TED is committed to diversity and seeks speakers from various backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. The selection process is highly competitive, and not all applications are accepted. However, if your idea aligns with TED’s mission and meets their criteria, you could be on your way to becoming a TED speaker and sharing your idea with the world.

Next, we’ll explore how to prepare for a TED Talk and maximize your chances of being selected.

Preparing Your TED Talk

Preparing a TED Talk is a meticulous process that demands both creativity and structure. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you craft an exceptional TED Talk that will captivate your audience:

  1. Choose Your Idea: Start by selecting an idea that genuinely excites you and aligns with the essence of “ideas worth spreading.” Your passion for the idea will shine through in your presentation.
  2. Define Your Message: Clearly define the central message you want to convey. Your audience should leave with a clear understanding of the key takeaway from your talk.
  3. Know Your Audience: Consider the demographics and interests of your potential TED Talk audience. Tailor your content to resonate with them.
  4. Create a Compelling Narrative: Craft a compelling story around your idea. Stories are powerful tools for engaging and connecting with the audience.
  5. Keep It Concise: TED Talks are typically under 18 minutes. Be concise and to the point. Every word should add value to your message.
  6. Add Visuals: Visual aids, such as slides or props, can enhance your presentation. Use them judiciously to reinforce your points.

Now, let’s look at how to structure your TED Talk effectively:

Structure Elements Details
Hook the Audience Begin with a strong and attention-grabbing opening. A compelling story, shocking fact, or thought-provoking question can work wonders.
Provide Context Offer a brief introduction to your topic to ensure everyone in the audience understands the subject matter.
Main Points Organize your content into two to three main points or sections. Each should build upon the previous one, creating a logical flow.
Personal Connection Share personal anecdotes or experiences that relate to your idea. This humanizes your talk and makes it relatable.
Call to Action End your talk with a strong call to action. Encourage your audience to take steps or reflect on what they’ve learned.

Rehearse: Practice your TED Talk multiple times. Familiarity with your content will boost your confidence and ensure a smooth delivery.

Feedback: Seek feedback from peers or mentors. They can provide valuable insights and suggestions to improve your talk.

Manage Nervousness: It’s normal to feel nervous. Practice relaxation techniques and mindfulness to control anxiety on the big day.

Stay Within Time: Stick to the allocated time frame. TED Talks are precise, and respecting the time limit is crucial.

Preparing a TED Talk is an art that combines your passion, expertise, and storytelling skills. Keep refining your talk until it truly embodies the spirit of “ideas worth spreading.” The next step is to navigate the application process and get your talk on the TED stage.

Navigating the Application Process

So, you’ve prepared your outstanding TED Talk and are ready to share it with the world. The next step is to navigate the TED application process. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you on your journey:

  1. Visit the TED Website: Start by visiting the official TED website at This is your gateway to the TED application process.
  2. Explore TEDx Events: TEDx events are independent, locally organized TED-like conferences. They provide an excellent opportunity to share your ideas. Explore upcoming TEDx events in your area on the TEDx website.
  3. Review the Application Guidelines: TED has specific guidelines for speaker applications. Carefully read and understand the application requirements, including video submissions and any application fees.
  4. Create a Speaker Profile: Register and create a speaker profile on the TED website. Provide all the required information, including your professional background and the idea you want to share.
  5. Prepare Your Video: TED often requires a video submission as part of the application process. This video should showcase your speaking ability and provide a glimpse of your idea. Follow the video guidelines provided by TED.
  6. Submit Your Application: Once your speaker profile and video are ready, submit your application through the TED website. Pay attention to submission deadlines and requirements.

After submitting your application, the waiting period begins. TED receives numerous applications, so it may take some time to hear back. Here are some additional tips to enhance your application:

  1. Be Authentic: Be yourself in your application. Authenticity and passion for your idea can make a significant difference.
  2. Practice Patience: The selection process can be competitive, and it may take several months to receive a response. Don’t lose hope and be patient.
  3. Engage on Social Media: Interact with TED and TEDx events on social media. This can help you stay updated on opportunities and connect with the TED community.

Prepare for the Interview: If your application progresses to the next stage, you may be invited for an interview or further evaluation. Be ready to discuss your idea and your potential contribution to the TED community.

Stay Informed: Stay informed about TED and its events. Being knowledgeable about TED’s mission, previous talks, and speakers can help you align your message with the TED brand.

Remember that the application process can be competitive, but it’s an essential step in your journey to becoming a TED speaker. Keep refining your application, stay connected with the TED community, and continue to share your ideas. TED is always on the lookout for fresh and inspiring voices, and your idea might be the next one worth spreading.

Success Stories

It’s always inspiring to learn from those who have successfully made their mark as TED speakers. Here are a few remarkable success stories of individuals who have shared their ideas on the prestigious TED stage:

  1. Ken Robinson: Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk titled “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” is one of the most-watched TED Talks of all time. His insightful discussion on education and creativity has had a profound impact on how we approach learning and nurturing talent.
  2. Brene Brown: Brene Brown’s TED Talk on vulnerability and shame led to a whirlwind of success. Her message of embracing vulnerability resonated with millions, and her subsequent books and speaking engagements have made her a prominent figure in the self-help and personal development arena.
  3. Simon Sinek: Simon Sinek’s TED Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” ignited a discussion on leadership and the importance of starting with ‘why.’ His ideas have influenced businesses, organizations, and leaders around the world.

These speakers not only delivered powerful TED Talks but also leveraged their TED experience to achieve significant success. Their stories teach us valuable lessons:

  1. Persistence Pays Off: All of these speakers faced setbacks and challenges before reaching the TED stage. Their determination and unwavering commitment to their ideas made the difference.
  2. Connection and Impact: Each of these TED speakers used the TED platform to connect with a broader audience and create an enduring impact through their ideas.
  3. Continued Engagement: They didn’t stop at TED Talks; they continued to write books, give talks, and engage with their audience, expanding their influence and reach.

These success stories demonstrate that becoming a TED speaker can be a transformative experience. It not only provides a global stage for your ideas but also opens doors to new opportunities and possibilities.

Your Success Story: While these examples are awe-inspiring, your TED journey can be unique and equally rewarding. The TED stage is waiting for the next exceptional idea and the speaker to bring it to life. Whether you aspire to change the world or a small part of it, TED is a platform that can help you achieve your goals.

So, as you embark on your journey to becoming a TED speaker, let these success stories serve as a source of motivation and a reminder that your idea has the potential to make a significant impact. Don’t be afraid to share your message with the world, and remember that your success story could be the next one inspiring others.


Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) to provide further insights into the process of becoming a TED speaker:

1. What is the primary requirement for a TED Talk?

To be considered for a TED Talk, your idea should be novel, impactful, and aligned with the core TED mission of “ideas worth spreading.”

2. Can anyone apply to become a TED speaker?

Yes, TED welcomes applications from anyone with a unique idea or perspective. They encourage a diverse range of voices and topics.

3. How long is a typical TED Talk?

TED Talks are typically limited to 18 minutes or less. The emphasis is on delivering a concise and impactful message.

4. Do I need prior speaking experience to apply?

No, prior speaking experience is not a strict requirement. TED values authentic, passionate speakers who can effectively communicate their ideas.

5. Can I apply to speak at a specific TED event or location?

Yes, you can specify your interest in speaking at a particular TED event or location in your application. TED and TEDx events are held worldwide.

6. How are TED speakers selected?

TED has a team of curators who evaluate applications and nominations. They consider the novelty, relevance, and potential impact of the proposed ideas.

7. Is there any cost associated with applying to become a TED speaker?

TED may have application fees for some events, and you may need to cover your travel and accommodation expenses if your application is accepted. These costs vary depending on the event.

8. What happens after I submit my application?

After you submit your application, TED’s curators will review it. If your idea aligns with TED’s mission and criteria, you may be contacted for further steps, which may include an interview or additional evaluations.

9. How can I prepare for my TED Talk if I’m selected?

If selected, you’ll receive guidance and support from TED to help you prepare for your talk. This may include coaching and feedback to ensure your talk is polished and impactful.

10. What if my application is not accepted?

If your application is not accepted, don’t be discouraged. Many successful speakers faced rejection before achieving TED success. You can continue to refine your idea and reapply in the future or consider speaking at TEDx events.

These FAQs offer valuable insights for those considering the journey to becoming a TED speaker. While the path may have its challenges, it’s a rewarding experience that can lead to sharing your ideas with a global audience.


Congratulations on completing your journey through the process of becoming a TED speaker. You’ve learned about the significance of TED Talks, the selection process, how to prepare an exceptional TED Talk, and the steps to navigate the application process. You’ve also been inspired by the success stories of renowned TED speakers and had your questions answered through the FAQs.

As you conclude this exploration, remember that becoming a TED speaker is not just about standing on a stage and delivering a talk. It’s a transformative journey that can profoundly impact your life and the lives of those who hear your message. TED Talks have the power to inspire, educate, and spark change.

So, whether you’re an aspiring speaker or someone who simply appreciates the power of ideas, keep in mind that TED is a platform where voices from all corners of the world come together to share their wisdom and insights. Your unique perspective and ideas could be the next ones to make a difference.

As you embark on your own journey, always remember the core principle of TED: “ideas worth spreading.” Your ideas are valuable, and they have the potential to shape the future. With dedication, authenticity, and a commitment to making a positive impact, you can make your mark as a TED speaker.

Thank you for joining us on this journey, and we look forward to seeing your ideas resonate with the world, whether on the TED stage or through your own unique path of sharing.

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