How to get a look in for a TEDx?

Theo Kapodistrias
4 min readJun 1, 2022
Photo by Alexandre Pellaes on Unsplash

People seem to have a pre-conceived ideas of the whole TED and TEDx thing.

I mentioned it in my first episode but I’m the executive director, licensee and co-curator of TEDxHobart. I receive hundreds of messages from professional speakers thinking that because they can speak well that they deserve a place on the TEDx stage.

The reality is the majority of people who land a TEDx are not people who regularly speak to audiences.

You will get the occasional TEDx speaker who has presented countless times and is incredibly confident on stage, but most speakers get coaching. I know we have a coaching program which our speakers work their way through as well as support with myself and our coaching team.

So, the real question is what does it take to make it to a TEDx stage?

The answer is having an ‘idea worth spreading’. TEDx organisers and curators are tasked with searching for people locally who have an interesting and unique idea and innovation.

The audience should walk away from listening to the person who spoke about their new idea and are filled with that knowledge, rather than the identity of the person and their profession.

When you apply to present at a TEDx event, there are four key things that the TEDx team will be looking for:

Community ideas with wide appeal

Number one is that a new idea that originates in the community but is widely relatable.

Is the idea something that could effect the local community but something that the rest of the world can get around and understand?

TEDx talks are filmed and often shared online. If the topic resonates and can be enjoyed by the wider world, it may find its place on YouTube and the TED global platform.

Organsiers will look for people locally — its required that the speakers are from or have some connection to the city that is hosting the event. TEDx events are licenced with a particular name of a city, location or university. It’ll be important to consider that when applying.

An idea to defend

The second thing organisers will look our for is ideas that need to be defended — it shouldn’t be something self-evident, but something where there are interesting perspectives and arguments.

I’m sure we can all agree that ‘love’ is important and ‘being nice’ is great. But listening to someone talk about that for 18 minutes doesn’t inform anyone of anything new, inspiring or different.

What is an idea that could have a few different points of view?

Have we heard this before?

The third thing organisers will look for is an idea that the TED world may not have heard before.

If you have an idea and you Google it and see that there is a TED talk on this topic, or TEDx talks that are similar, perhaps that’s not the idea to submit for your TEDx talk.

Organsiers will go to an effort to hear something unique and will search if there is similar ideas out there.

Change perceptions

The final thing that organisers will look for are ideas that will change perceptions.

Is there a concept that we already had an opinion about that a TEDx talk could change?

Ideas don’t have to be brand new, but flipping the idea about what we already think of an idea, a new take, an innovative perspective, could be what sets your idea apart from others.

Final thoughts

TEDx is a special platform that provides the world with new ideas worth spreading. Organisers generally look for ideas that align to the theme, have a connection to the community and is something new and innovative.

Can I help you?

  1. I coach people one-on-one to assist them with their communications and speaking needs with single sessions available and 3, 6 or 9 month packages.
  2. Want a speaker for your event or to have a training session in your workplace? Let’s discuss!
  3. Book a virtual coffee with me and we can chat further!
  4. You can download FREE resources here
  5. Listen to the Craft Messages That Matter Podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts

About the author:

Theo Kapodistrias is a multi-national award-winning lawyer and keynote speaker, trainer, and public speaking coach. He is passionate about getting involved in the community and holds several voluntary positions including as the Executive Director of TEDxHobart. His keynote speaking, training, and advising business is designed to help professionals and business owners to be seen, be heard, and make an impact through their voice and through their words



Theo Kapodistrias

Award-winning Lawyer | Speaker, MC, Trainer, Coach — assisting individuals to speak up, show up, and make an impact —