13 tips on organizing a TEDx event

how to organize tedxTEDxGurgaon is done and over now. It brought together interesting people from all walks of life.

Just reflecting on what makes an event like TEDx successful. The idea is to help people across the world, working on their TEDx events.

1. Time: Give yourself 90 days to put together a show after you have got a license from TED. This means when you are applying to TED and want to share date of event – then – share a date 100 days from your date of applying for a license.

On the day of the event: Event timing 9:30 am – 5:30 pm, with registration staring at 8:30 am.

2. Speakers: A passionate and eager audience; and engaging speakers with ideas worth sharing contribute immensely to a successful TEDx event. Make sure that speakers know about the 18 minutes timeline. Request them to share, what they will be presenting at least 2 weeks before the day of the event. Shoot for at least 4 more confirmed speakers that your TEDx event will need. Why? Because chances are 1 or more of your speakers will cancel – for some unavoidable reason. Luckily, if all of them turn up, you can schedule a live speaker in place of a video. You see mostly more is merrier.

On the day of the event: One team member should keep time and alert speaker 3 minutes before their time is going to be up for an 18 minutes talk. For talks less than 10 minutes, you need not worry much. A talk should not be less than 5 minutes; because in such a situation it mostly finishes before it has made the desired connection with the audience.

3. TED Videos & Live Speakers: If you can, try for a mix of 70:30 (live speakers/ TED videos)

4. Test Run: Tie-up with venue to do a test run with all speaker presentations and TED videos that are part of schedule. Better if one or two local speakers can join you. This is to ensure that light, sound and projection system works fine at the venue. If the projection is being controlled from an audio-visual (AV) control room then make sure to check means for communication between backstage crew and person at AV room. It also helps you assess which are your best videos (quality-wise).

5. Community: It helps if you have experience organizing such events. If not then bring somebody on board who has done it before. You can also ask enthusiastic members of your community to volunteer. In most cases you’ll not be disappointed and will find some really talented people working with you for a worthwhile cause.

6. Website: Having a website as a placeholder of important information and also as a gateway to social network helps.

7. Social: Facebook because of its sheer reach will take your message to a wider audience fast and twitter because of its less than 140 characters nature helps communicate effectively.  Twitter’s search feature also makes it easy to track and respond to community suggestions.

8. Be a guest: Request the venue officials, to let you and one of your fellow organizers, attend a live event – to experience the facilities first hand. You can also talk to the host of this event for feedback; before you book the venue.

9. Video: Chances are that you’ll be working with various service providers (video, creative agency etc.). Good if you have worked with them earlier; otherwise be sure to check out their earlier work.

10. Free or Fee: If you are doing in a large city than better keep it fee-based; because most of the people who register will be busy people. When you keep it free people may register without being sure about attending. Keeping it fee-based makes sure that only people who are serious about attending will register. This will also ensure that your arrangement will be in line with expected attendance and not overshoot or fall short of requirement. Further, speakers will not have to talk to a half-filled hall.

11. Entertainment: If you are planning a day-long event; plan to bring in 2 entertainment acts – one during 1st half of the day and 2nd during the last part of the day. 1sts sets the tone for the day and 2nd to pep them up during the fag end of a long day.

12. Breaks: Generous breaks as advised by TED. The reason people come to these events – apart from listening to great ideas – is to make connections with fellow attendees and with the speakers. It is not possible in 15 minute tea breaks and 30 minute lunchtime. Tea breaks at 30-40 minutes and lunchtime at 60-70 minutes should work fine.

13. Food: A day long conference will have 2 usual tea breaks and a lunch. Better if you can offer morning tea with light snacks; because many of your attendees will start their day early if they are travelling some distance to reach the venue.

If you have organized a TEDx event earlier please help make this article better by sharing unique ideas that helped you in putting together your event successfully.

If you want to discuss more about TEDx or need help in planning your TEDx feel free to write to me at – mohit @ mohitpawar.com (without spaces).

You get Good Karma when you comment on this post 🙂 so take a moment to write about your TEDx event – are you still planning, organized one already or just exploring.

If you liked this post, you should me.

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Comments

  1. Rosie Bernardo

    Hi Mohit! Great article. I’m getting ready to apply for a license to host a TEDx event and would love to ask you a few questions down the road. Would you please send me an email? Thank you!!!! Couldn’t find you on twitter…??

  2. Dhruv

    Hi Mohit! Thanks for the insight – Planning to apply for a license to host a TEDx event in Pune and have a couple of questions to ask – still a little unclear on some basics. Would appreciate if I could have your mail id so as to connect with you. Appreciate your help!

    Cheers!

  3. stephanie

    Very useful, I’m exploring planning my own TEDx event and this has great tips and points to consider. Thank you. I have a feeling I’ll be back!

  4. Anna Crawley

    I am also planning on organizing a TEDx event in Oakland, California. I would love to keep in touch for more great advice in the future!

  5. Rishabh

    Wonderful article Mohit !!! Really appreciate your tips and you going out of your way to help people out !! I am planning to apply for a license and would love to use your insight and experience !!
    Thank you !!

  6. Bobbie Cohen

    Thanks for posting the information. I have a question. Is there a fee for holding a TEDx event? I could not find that on the website and I don’t know whether that’s because there is none or because I have my blinders on.

    Thank you.

    1. Mohit Pawar

      Hi Bobbie,
      Thanks for checking.
      No, there is no fee.
      You can apply and once the license is approved, get into action.
      Please feel free to ask, if you need any more info.
      – Mohit

  7. Sulekha Rawat

    Hi Mohit,

    Great tips and very helpful for those organizing the events. I am not planning to host one in the near future but just wanted to know if there is going to be one in Delhi or Gurgaon, soon.

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  9. Mary

    Hi Mohit, I’m trying to organize a TEDx corporate event, and i’m having some doubts through the process, would you help me?

  10. Zohaib

    Hey, I was just wondering. How long did it take you to get your TEDx license and is it easy to get one? I’m just 16 and I’ve applied for one so I really wanted to know whether there’s a possibility that it’ll get through.

    1. Mohit Pawar Author comment

      Hi Zohaib,

      It took me less than a month.

      It was easier earlier not so much now.
      Last event I hosted was my third and I have noticed that,
      TED is now more selective in who they will give it.

      I guess age doesn’t play a big role, and it is more how your work so far and your vision for your event is in sync with TED’s vision for TEDx.

      Good luck with your efforts 🙂

      – mohit

  11. Sravya

    Can you please tell me what are the requirements that ted looks to give a license to organise tedx event ? what are the kind of questions i vil have to face in the skype call ?

  12. Agata

    Hi Mohit,
    Thanks for your sharing – some great insights. We are considering a TEDx event in partnership with a school in Australia and a social organisation in India (Inspire India) as part of a intercultural-exchange program with students. Would love to ask you a few questions should we need to – what is the best way to stay in touch with you?

  13. Shriya Kumar

    Hi mohit! This post was exceptionally insightful. I plan to organize a TEDx event in my college with a standard license.

    How long would it take for approval and what is the criterion they look for, considering they are becoming selective in approving license applications?

    Thank you very much

  14. Shreyas Manjunath

    Hey Mohit,

    Thank You, for that informative post.

    I plan to organize a TEDx in my college with a University license, my doubt is similar to the comment preceding this, regarding the criterion for issuing a license. Since they are as aforementioned becoming selective in issuing the license.

    What must one keep in mind while applying for the same.

    Thank You.

    Best Regards,

    Shreyas M

    1. Mohit Pawar Author comment

      Hey Shreyas,

      The application is made up of questions to help understand your motivation and readiness to host a TEDx conference.

      I suggest – set aside 20-30 minutes to organize your reply to questions in the application. Go to the application page – in your case – http://www.ted.com/tedx/licenses/new?tags=university and add your replies to a doc . Make sure that your application answers are coherent. If you are suggesting that you plan to host a “full day” event – you should not saying that you plan on inviting “1-4” speakers.

      Keep in mind the TEDx naming conventions – http://www.ted.com/participate/organize-a-local-tedx-event/before-you-start/the-basics/naming-your-event – while proposing the name of your event.

      Good if you can brainstorm and think of a theme and then align proposed speakers to that theme. This will show that you are committed and have already done your homework.

      Hope this helps.

      – Mohit

  15. Ayushi Kalyan

    This is of great help, Mohit! Thanks. Planning to organize a TEDx at the university level and have some apprehensions coming in the way. Shall it be alright if i drop you a mail regarding the same?!

    Thanks
    Ayushi

  16. Kalpana

    Hi Mohit,

    Many thanks for your tips – they were very helpful. We are organising a tedx event in our local area. I would like to ask if you found it important to have your website ready before you started reaching out for volunteers/and creating publicity etc. We are in a kinda chicken and egg situation. Our event is end of October.

    Thanks

    Kalpana

    1. Mohit Pawar Author comment

      Hi Kalpana,

      Yes. It helps to have a website ready. I think you are referring to the challenge with having the website ready before you have confirmed speakers. Create a basic website with starter info on homepage and two prominent links – Volunteer Application and Call for Speakers. Hustle to connect with a lot of speakers quickly and you will soon have your initial set of speakers. Put more focus on speakers than volunteers or publicity. Good speakers drive everything else.

      It is impossible to start with a perfect website. Start with a basic website and then improve on the go by continue to add new pages and info. For website there are many ready made themes available (from event manager themes) that you can use.

      Hope this helps.

      If you have more queries please feel free to ask.

      Good luck.

      Mohit

  17. Anand

    I applied for the tedx licence (standard) to have it in my university. It got declined without mentioning what wrong they found. What should i do ?…
    Can i apply again using same credentials and same email ?

    And how i will get ti know the reason for declining the application?

      1. Anand

        No i didn’t mention anywhere in that form that I am willing to merge it with another event. I want it to be done separately and that’s what I wrote to them

  18. ashwin mathur

    Hi mohit.
    Your post on preparing a tedx helped a lot, thank you.
    But after going through tedx website and other blogs , there are still some queries, which are as follows.
    1. The crowd is limited to 100 but we want to host it on a larger scale.
    2. Every penny will go to tedx, but will the organizer (that’s us) get the benefits of it?? For organizing the event.
    3. How to easily and neatly get the licence, because frankly speaking we are kind of chickens right now…not usually just for this event.
    Anyways thanking you, for sharing your views with us and helping others to overcome problem (in short destruction).

    1. Mohit Pawar Author comment

      My pleasure, Ashwin.

      1. To host on a larger scale – the curator (licensee) should have attended a TED conference.
      In case you want to reach out to a bigger audience – you can host live streaming / webcast and promote. Outside the venue you can also showcase live video of the conference.

      2. TEDx is a not for profit event. Event organizer gets the satisfaction of bringing amazing ideas to the community and joy of connections. Several new doors are opened that can be experienced once you host your first conference. We have connected because I hosted TEDx conferences and you are planning to host one 🙂

      3. Apply to get the license and make the case – why you are the best person to host it – prepare as if you have already got the license and then go for the interview.

      Good luck 🙂

  19. Asfia Aleem

    Hey Mohit! I appreciate the efforts you have made to be helpful. I would like to know how long did it take for your license to be approved after attending the skype interview?
    Also during the interview I gave her a brief overview of the speakers I would like to invite but she did not ask me anything regarding the theme of the event! Is that a bad sign?
    Thanks again

    1. Mohit Pawar Author comment

      Hey Asfia,

      There was no Skype interview for me; because TEDx Gurgaon was an early TEDx conference.

      No worries if you were not asked a particular question.
      Hope it will work out well for you 🙂

    1. Mohit Pawar Author comment

      Thanks Kunal.

      Yes there are costs.

      Expense heads are – venue, marketing and promotion, food, speaker (travel and stay if they are from out of city – go for local speakers to avoid this), sound and video.

      Venue and videos are two biggies.
      Because of your background, video should not be a challenge for you.
      You can get a large educational institution to offer their auditorium, in return of the exposure.

      You can also get sponsors and sell tickets to cover it. (Infact, never do a free event – always have a price for entry).

      Do it with 2-3 years horizon. Year after year buzz and community builds and it becomes easier to host a bigger event with better quality.

      At the end of it – it is a not for profit event so what ever funds you gather you invest.

      Good luck with your event 🙂 feel free to discuss further.

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  21. shrenik jain

    Hi Sir, that was a great insight to be partially prepared for the first time I organize one.
    I have already applied for the license; needed guidelines….Help !!

    Also could you be a speaker at my TED??

  22. Ryaane Fadel

    Hi Mohit!
    I really appreciate the guidelines and tips, and I’ll be sure to apply them. Speaking of applying, I am currently in the process of finishing the application. Two question. Should the responses be long, like say a paragraph or two, or just straight forward, concise answers? And is it okay for me to be applying for a license now when the event will be in March of 2017? Thanks!

    1. Mohit Pawar Author comment

      Hi Ryaane!
      1) Concise answers. Team at TED must be looking at a lot of applications every day. You need to give them best RoI for their time as they read your application. You can do it by making it easy and interesting to read. Even when you write concise answers – focus on writing as if you are writing a story. Because stories are less boring than regular prose. Use active voice over passive, and action verbs.
      2) Yes. In fact you need 5-6 months to pull off a good event. So, March 2017 will be good.
      Hope this helps!

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