9 tips from organiser of TEDxYouth@HKIS for hosting your own TEDx event

9 tips from organiser of TEDxYouth@HKIS for hosting your own TEDx event

Charmaine Chan, a student at Princeton University with experience as organiser of TEDxYouth@HKIS, offers tips on slaying your own TED talk

We’ve all seen TED talks on the internet, but did you know you can host your own TEDx event? It doesn’t cost any money, but you do need a licence to use the name. If it sounds like something you would like to have at your school, then read on for some great tips to help make it happen.

Leave enough time for licensing

The licence for a TEDx event is free, but it takes a long time to get. The application form is quite long, and after you submit it, it can take two months to hear back from TED. It will then take another few weeks to schedule an interview with them, where you will present the vision for your event. Expect to wait a total of three months from submitting your application to getting the licence.

Prepare for the interview

Just because you applied doesn’t mean TED will say yes. First you’ll have to do an in-depth interview. Your team has to be very clear about the theme and vision of the event to persuade TED to give you a licence.

Choose your name wisely

A lot of people want to name their event after the theme of the talks, but TEDx requires all events to be named after locations. This can be your school name, district, or streets in the neighbourhood. The name should also reflect which community will benefit from the event.


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Form a management committee

TED will give you guidelines on how to form a TEDx committee. They say you should have a self-motivated, creative team with a clear vision, so they can come up with cool ideas. You’ll need to promote your event on social media, so your team will need someone who has experience managing Instagram and Facebook accounts. And you’ll also need experienced videographers and photographers to film and record your event.

Save the date

A TEDx event may involve many speakers, and it can be hard to find a time and date that will work for all of them. So before you even invite anyone to be involved, your committee should set the date. That way, potential speakers will know for sure if they can be involved.

Take a listen to their talk

Your committee should interview potential speakers to see if their stories fit your theme. You can help the speakers work on their talk, making some parts shorter or adding more detail to other parts. If a speaker doesn’t seem right for your event, then send them a nice email thanking for their time. Try to gently explain why they could not be included this time.


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Practice makes perfect

Each talk at your event can be no longer than 18 minutes. To make sure the time is used well, it is a good idea to hold formal rehearsals. This will help the speakers deliver their key messages within the time. It will also give the speakers and the committee a chance to see what it will be like to work together at the event.

Who can help you pay for this?

Some schools have funding for events like TEDx, but you may need other sponsors as well. Some sponsors are banned by TED, though, so you need to check the list before you ask for sponsorship. TED also has strict guidelines as to how sponsors can help: for example, they cannot go on the stage and speak, and they cannot be mentioned in social media promotions. There are also limits to the amount of sponsorship depending on the size of your audience. For details, check out the TED website.

Enjoy the process

Your team has to keep track of a lot of things, such as the schedule, speakers, ticketing, sponsors, and more. There are a lot of challenges ahead. But it is very important to enjoy the process of holding a large-scale event and meeting new people. When you look back, you will find it was worth your time.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
How to host a TED talk

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