Organizing TEDx is Adventurous
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Here are 7 guiding steps to our own TEDx event
STEP 1 - NAME YOUR EVENT
Your event should be named after the community, city, or neighborhood in which the event is residing.
First rule to remember while proposing your TEDx event name: it has to refer to the community that the event will serve. Besides, the name should be relevant and meaningful to your audience. For instance, TEDxMustaqillikSquare name was selected for two reasons. Number one, Mustaqillik Square meant to highlight the independence and bright minds of Uzbekistan; two – you need to link venue location with the name. Since TEDxMustaqillikSquare took place at Ilkhom Theater, Mustaqillik Square was the closest and the most symbolic public place.
But, you shouldn’t limit yourself with squares. When thinking of your event’s name, you can also consider a neighborhood, street, river or lake name that represents the audience of the event. For example, in London there are more than ten local TEDx events for specific communities, including TEDxLondon, TEDxRegentSt, TEDxEaling, TEDxEastEnd, TEDxSquareMile, TEDxTeddington, TEDxKensington, TEDxBow, TEDxEuston and TEDxMarylebone.
Remember, you can’t grow to a city level event such as TEDxTashkent, TEDxBukhara, TEDxSamarkand or TEDxAndijan unless you organized a community level conference like TEDxMustaqillikSquare, TEDxShakhrisabzStreet or TEDxAlisherNavoiAvenue.
Lastly, please bear in mind that city level events host 100+ people, while community level is strictly limited to 100 people.
STEP 2 - DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE
TEDx conferences are meant to serve your local community; you should wisely consider selecting a diverse audience.
Choose participants from a wide variety of backgrounds who can contribute meaningfully to the conversation.
Use the following checklist when thinking about potential attendees:
Create an application form to simplify the selection process. At some point, you have to test your audiences’ commitment to participating in your event. Ask clear questions:
Finally, although we wish you could accommodate everyone, sending rejections, however is inevitable. While addressing, please be polite.
STEP 3 - SIZE
TED sets simple and clear rule in regards to the size of the event.
If you are organizing community level event such as TEDxMustaqillikSquare, TEDxShakhrisabzStreet or TEDxAlisherNavoiAvenue, then your audience shouldn’t exceed 100 people.
But, if you are aiming to grow to a city level event like TEDxTashkent, TEDxAndijan, TEDxSamarkand, TEDxBukhara or TEDxNavoi, then you can accommodate 100+ audience.
Please remember, you can’t grow to a city level event unless you organized a community level event and traveled to an official TED conference or TEDFest.
STEP 4 - THEME
Consider your event theme. It should be multidisciplinary, broad and addressing a variety of topics.
Event theme is the direction; it sets the tone of your event with one overarching question or statement.
Don’t go with a topic or a single subject like, “sustainability,” “medicine,” or “happiness”. Your theme should be abstract, and open to interpretation – it should be broad enough to leave room for a wide range of topics and speakers. Think of it like a title or tagline for your event. Here are some examples of different themes that were used by other TED and TEDx events:
Past TED themes: The Great Unveiling; The Big Questions; The Substance of Things Not Seen; The Age of Amazement; The Future You
Past TEDx themes: Ideas Empowered; Breakthrough!; Thriving on Turmoil; The Essence of a Changing World; Fast Forward Future.
How do you develop a theme? Follow this checklist:
STEP 5 - TALKS
Talks are at the heart of your conference, ultimately the final product of your event.
So selecting, inviting, and preparing them for the big day will be one of the most important and the most exciting tasks you’ll have. Here are some guiding principles to follow in your search for speakers:
First things first: don’t search for the person; go after idea. Ask yourself: what will the audience walk away knowing – that this person exists, or a new idea?
But, how do you find great idea at all?
Use your topics list
Remember that big list of topics we talked about earlier? This is the time to use it as a guide to find speakers. Are there individuals in your community with new ideas about these subjects?
Research local businesses and charities
Find the innovative, important work that is uniquely being done in your local community.
Read a local paper
Local papers can be a great source for discovering individuals with accomplishments that truly represent your region.
Read big publications
Flip through headlines in different science magazines, political affairs journals, and newspapers. Look at the people who the writers quote, and find out if they live nearby.
Search your social networks
Look to your most impressive friends, their friends, and their friends’ friends for surprising talks.
So, what ideas are you looking for?
• Look for new ideas that originate in your community but are widely relatable;
• Look for ideas that need to be defended – not something self-evident, but an interesting argument, perhaps with an antagonist;
• Look for an idea the TED world hasn't heard before. (In other words, not a copy of a TED Talk you like!);
• Look for ideas that change perceptions. (e.g., a scientific discovery that changes how you think about frogs, a philosophical argument that reshapes your notions of friendship.)
Lastly, try this checklist:
Is this speaker...
• a local voice that few people have heard before?
• someone who can present their field in a new light?
• someone with a perspective to which the global TED community may not have access?
• diverse by demographic, ethnicity, background, and/or topic?
STEP 6 - BIG PICTURE
There are few important things left to discuss in order to see the bigger picture.
Team. You can’t organize a true TEDx event unless you have people who share values and vision of the project. Organizing TEDx event is an adventurous journey filled with passion, dedication and hard work. Assembled, your TEDx team will gift a project to your community worth working whose ideas are worth spreading.
Budget. Come up with creative ways in attracting partners who also share TED values. TEDx is a non-profit conference; you neither can raise money for event nor make money out of it. Before approaching your potential partners, make sure you allocate sufficient amount of time and effort in calculating your numbers correctly.
Communication strategy. Ideas are communicated. Do you know how will you introduce your speakers to the public? What your visuals will look like? Do you have the person in the team who can write eloquently? Did you set the time for all your publications? What are the main communication channels?
Venue. We have talked about it earlier, right? Your venue should reflect your TEDx name. Moreover, venue as piece of architectural art has the power to create a chemistry of ideas worth spreading. If you are accommodating 100 people, then your venue should have enough seats. Since you will be recording talks live, then your stage should have sufficient lighting equipment. If you selected a particular theme, think about how your stage can speak about your theme. Lastly, don’t forget about the lovely red rounded rug.