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How can I get selected to give a TEDxLancaster talk?


What is the application process?

TEDxLancaster speaker applications are currently closed. To be informed as to when speaker applications are open for our next TEDxLancaster event, follow us on social media or sign up for our email updates. Links for this can be found on our home page. When applications are being accepted, those interested in applying will need to complete an online application form that will be on this website.  The application will be processed by our Curation Committee.  Those applications containing a strong idea will move to Round 2 of our application process. In Round 2, applicants will submit a five minute video that will basically be a condensed version of their proposed TEDx talk. It is from these videos that TEDxLancaster speakers are chosen.

The idea worth spreading is THE most important part of a TEDx talk.  If you have an idea worth spreading, but don't feel you're a dynamic speaker, don't worry.  Apply anyway.  We will help coach you on your speaking skills.  Experienced TEDx staff and former TEDx speakers will be available to mentor you after you are chosen.  They will also be on hand during speaker rehearsals. 


Each TEDx event has different criteria, depending on their curation strategy.  At TEDxLancaster, there are MANY factors that go into selecting a speaker.  At the heart of every great TED or TEDx talk is an "idea worth spreading", which is TED's slogan.  Therefore, the main factor that we look for is a dynamic idea worth spreading that is unique and has mass appeal.  We have received hundreds of applications over the past years at TEDxLancaster.  We know what will make for a successful or unsuccessful talk.  To help you in the application process, please review the following information.


What makes for a successful application?

Successful applications have the following:

1) A message that is an “idea worth spreading”, which is TED’s slogan. If you can’t communicate your idea in 25 words or less, you don’t have a focused idea. Most people want to put as much information as possible into a TEDx talk. Less is more. A successful TEDx talk is ONE idea that is expanded upon.

2) An idea that is universal and can apply to most all audience members. The subject of TEDx talk should NOT just apply to the local community ONLY.  All TEDx talks are uploaded to the TEDx YouTube site for global viewing.  That is why the message needs to have universal appeal.

3) An idea that will prompt people into action that will change their perspective, mindset, themselves, their community, or their world. If you have an idea for a talk, think about what you want the audience to take away as a result of your talk.


Unsuccessful applications have the following:

1) A personal story that, although is interesting, won’t prompt an action or foster an idea. So many people think an interesting life story would make for a great TEDx talk. It won’t. This is a MAJOR misconception. If there is a strong “idea worth spreading”, and the life story illustrates that idea, that’s different. However, a life story unto itself, with no strong idea, will not make the TEDxLancaster stage.

2) A message that is promoting a person, business, or cause as this is in violation of TED rules. TED prohibits promoting from the stage. We thoroughly vet all applications. Any application that tries to use a talk as a direct or indirect way to promote something, will be rejected.

3) A message that isn’t unique. There are great ideas that we all need to hear. However, at TEDxLancaster, we are looking for uniqueness. For example, an application can state as the idea “If you persevere, good things can happen.” While that’s true, it certainly isn’t unique. We want to challenge our audience with unique ideas that will change their perspective, their mind, or their life.

4) “Wouldn’t it be great if…” messages. Applications that contain a theoretical idea, where the applicant has no direct experience with the idea, will not be chosen. For example, if we receive an application with the idea, “All cars should be solar powered”, and the applicant has no hands-on experience with this topic, the application will not be selected. While the idea of “Wouldn’t it be great if all cars were solar powered?” has merit, anyone can deliver a talk on a theoretical idea if no experience is involved.


What is on the TEDxLancaster application?

There are two questions that are at the very heart of the application:

1) What is your idea worth spreading (25 words or less)

2) What will the audience take away from your talk (25 words or less)

We purposely process applications blindly. This means that we do NOT consider an applicant based on their age, race, gender, etc. We base our decision almost exclusively on the two questions above. Ideas are at the heart of TEDx talks.


I felt I had a strong application, but I still wasn’t chosen. Why?

Due to time constraints, TEDxLancaster events can only select about 10-15 speakers.  We look for our speaker lineup to have a wide variety of categories (technology, science, art, education, etc.).  This means that we can only select 1 or maybe 2 people in a particular category.  It can be a case where someone can apply, be a dynamic speaker with a great idea, but they don't get chosen to speak.  Why?  It can be that another speaker is chosen instead because their topic applies more to the theme or whose idea resonates to a broader audience.  Just because an applicant isn't chosen for a TEDxLancaster event doesn't mean their idea isn't TEDx worthy.  Keep in mind that your topic may resonate with other TEDx events.  We would encourage you to apply to other TEDx events if you are not chosen to speak at TEDxLancaster.


Tips for Giving a Great TEDx Talk

Want to get a head start?  See our many tips for giving a great TEDx talk by clicking here.  You can view the video by Chris Anderson (the head of TED) entitled "TED's Secret to Great Public Speaking" by clicking here or on the video below.