How do I speak at TEDx?

It’s a common question — those TEDx speakers look so qualified, smart, accomplished and interesting. How do you become one of them? We’re not only looking for people that have written books or have fancy degrees or are only business owners. We’re looking for anyone that has an idea that our audience would love to hear about. That means anyone, no matter how old or young or educated or not can be a TEDx speaker.

But how did our team find potential speakers? We talked to people we knew to find interesting ideas, we advertised on social media, we talked to people with influence, and spread the news to places where people with great ideas congregate (e.g.: universities). In return, lots of people applied through our website to speak. Every TEDx event is independently run, but many follow a similar approach as we did.

If you want to speak at a TEDx event (or at a future TEDxLeamingtonSpa), here are some things to think about first:

  1. Make sure your idea benefits others or others will want to hear about it. You’re not allowed to sell from the TEDx stage, but you can share an idea you’ve come up with that you also happen to monetise (e.g.: if you have a book you wrote on ants, you can definitely tell us how amazing ants are).
  2. The more uniquely “you” your idea is, the better. Don’t be afraid to be different or new, in fact, this is exactly what we want. TEDx is all about spreading ideas that may not have been heard before or a fresh take on an existing idea.
  3. Investigate your idea — what do other people think about it? What’s the history here? Where do you hope this idea goes? How can it benefit society? The TEDx audience is very intelligent and they appreciate well-developed ideas. TEDx organisers look for the same.

Now that you’ve got a great idea in mind, there are a few things you’ll have to remember as a TEDx speaker. These are rules for all TEDx events, and are there to make sure the talks are as high-quality as possible. Here are a few of them:

  1. You can’t sell or pitch anything from the stage
  2. Speaker’s don’t get paid (sorry)
  3. Your talk can’t contain “pseudoscience”. If you claim certain scientific-sounding things, we’ll check references closely
  4. Your talk can’t be defamatory (so your idea can’t be how much you don’t like a group of people)

Ultimately for us, the decision comes down to, “is someone going to sit in the audience and think..’wow, that idea opened my eyes!’”? If so, they’re a strong candidate for a spot on stage at TEDxLeamingtonSpa. We want ideas our audience will find informative, enlightening, inspiring, and memorable. All TEDx events are different, but you really can’t go wrong if you have a great idea that the audience would love to hear!

  1. Decide on your “idea worth spreading”. Develop it, hone it, ask for feedback, and figure out why it matters.
  2. Check out the TED website for a list of TEDx events near you (
  3. Contact the event team to find out what the application process is and the event theme
  4. Apply away! You never know what will happen

Preparing a TEDx talk is a lot of work, but if you have an idea that you’d love more people to hear about and take action on, the TEDx stage can be a great one to spread your message on.