Last year, I was given the opportunity to give the talk of a lifetime. Along with nine other speakers and performers, I took the stage at Macky Auditorium in front of an audience of roughly 2,000 people and became a part of TEDxBoulder’s fabric in the Front Range. If you’d like to be a part of one of the largest TED-branded events in the world, TEDxBoulder has officially opened speaker submissions for TEDxBoulder 2013.
This year, several of the speakers from last year’s event are joining the curation committee in charge of reviewing speaker applications for the next TEDxBoulder. I thought it might help to put together some ideas that will help you frame your speaker submission — ideas from myself and several previous TEDx speakers. You can take them to heart or kick them to the curb, but here’s what we know to be true.
- This is hard work. Most speakers spend over two months preparing their talks. TEDxBoulder has several required speaker meetings, public-facing events, and speaking isn’t just about getting on stage the day-of.
- Humility — grab a bag full. No one’s talk is the same on stage as it was the day they submitted it to TEDxBoulder for consideration. You’ll be assigned a speaking coach and given feedback on your talk throughout the process. If you’re not open to getting better, this isn’t the right event for you.
- This experience lives on. A crappy talk is an immortalized crappy talk and will forever be crappy. A great talk speaks for itself and grows wings. Yes, that’s a lot of pressure, but if you’re not ready to give the talk of a lifetime, don’t apply.
- There is no selling at TEDxBoulder. There’s also no pseudoscience and unsubstantiated hippy dippyness. TEDx made their stance clear on the subject last year. Don’t try it.
- Ask yourself: how will my talk make the world better? TED is all about ideas worth spreading. If your talk idea is niche — bombtastic. Let it fly. But in 7 to 16 minutes, you have time to talk about one thing and one thing only. Great talks address one thing — and that’s why they can make the world a better place. They’re easy to digest.
- Watch other talks. Here’s a link to TEDxBoulder talks on YouTube. Spend some time on TED.com. Yes, it really does help.
This year’s TEDxBoulder is on September 21 and will once again be held at Macky Auditorium on the CU campus. We look forward to seeing everyone — and if you’re not up for being in the spotlight but would like to make that spotlight shine, TEDxBoulder is also seeking volunteers. You can submit a volunteer application here.