Always wanted to do a TED Talk? 3 Steps to take today

By Admin

Woman standing on TED stage, face blurredWoman standing on TED stage, face blurred

You’ve heard of TED Talks right? Those things on the internet where famous people like Brene Brown and Jamie Oliver share articulate and inspiring ideas, gain millions of views, and open doors to higher speaking fees, book deals, and fame + fortune?

If standing up on that stage has always been a dream of yours but you assumed it was years away (once you’re “qualified”, a published book, have some magic number of speaking gigs under your belt, and happen to live in California), I’ve got some disappointing news. Or not. Appointing news? (Yes, I made up a word just then.)

Here it is: there are TED Talks events all around you. Just over 1000 per year, in fact. That dream you have that’s “far off?” It’s a lot easier to get than you’d think.

Even if you’ve heard of an event near you, you’ll want to read on. I’d bet I can show you at least 5 more.

Here’s how you can find each and every one of these TED Talks speaking opportunities:

Step 1: What not to do

Don’t rely on Google, word of mouth, or chance to find out about TED Talks events. This is what most people do. The problem here is you’re likely to find out about the event after they’ve already selected speakers (since speaker selection is done months in advance, and marketing efforts only ramp up a few months before the event). That’d be a bummer.

I’ll show you a better way.

Step 2: Find Events in the Future

Find TEDx event around the worldOk, now we’re getting actionable. First, go here:  

Now you’ve got a list of every single TEDx event in the world in the next 12 months. Neat huh? You can use filters to search for location, but I recommend you zoom in using the buttons on the corner.

Here’s where I recommend you look:

  • where you live now
  • where you come from (your home town, where you’ve lived in the past, where you went to university etc.)
  • where you visit often (because your family lives there, you go there for business etc.)

If you live in a rural area and there are few events in your area, don’t be afraid to record events that are a few hours away (or even further) if you’re willing to travel.

If we use the example of Atlanta, here’s what I see:

Map showing TEDx events around Atlanta, GANote that there are several in Atlanta, one near East Cobb, and one near Kennesaw (if we had used the “location” filter, we would have only seen those in Atlanta and missed the ones nearby…not good). Clicking on one of these little dots brings up more details as well (like the date, which is important).

Close up map showing TEDxPeachTree event

That little box that just showed up? If you click on the event title (“TEDxPeachtree), it’ll bring up even more info. Notice below, I can see the theme (“Together”), the website, and a nice little description.

Excerpt of TEDxPeachtree website

Now you know the event title, date, website, theme, and organizer info. Wow. Now all you’ve got to do is apply to speak (check out the full guide I put together on that too).

Step 3: (for even more) Find past events that’ll likely happen again

If step 1 found you events in the next 12 months…what about events in the next 13 months? So glad you asked.

Sometimes event organisers run an event and they plan to do another one, but it hasn’t been licensed by TED just yet (because they just finished the last one, or they took a break for a year). The event is still happening, and the audience for that event knows it, but they just haven’t gotten around to applying for a license renewal just yet. For example, many university events get their license in September when the new cohort of students arrives, whereas many standard TEDx events get the license soon after the previous event is done.

You can find these past events by clicking on “Past” at the bottom of the page, or by visiting

If you further add an event date filter for the current year (eg: if it’s currently 2016, you can add a filter for past events in 2016) this will give you an idea of what events are likely to occur again the following year, while keeping you from seeing every event since the beginning of time.

Continuing with our Atlanta example:

TEDx 6Not bad huh? Looks like we’ve found a few more events. Some of these are captured in our step 1 analysis, but you can click around and see if there’s anything new (eg: I found TEDxGeorgiaTech, which I’m guessing is a pretty big event!).

Your fame boosting assignment:

Use the strategies above to find future TEDx events and events in the past that may happen again (sneaky!), and record all you can about them. You can even use this handy spreadsheet to track everything.

If you’re ready to pursue your dream of doing a TED Talk, head on over to for specific strategies on how to put togeter a compelling pitch, find your TED-worthy topic, build relationships with the right people, and more.

Ryan Hildebrandt is a TEDx event founder with an engineering background (P.Eng). helping speakers, authors, coaches, and entrepreneurs with an important idea spread it by landing a TED Talk. He created the website in order to spread little-known secrets about how to successfully land a TED Talk.

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