How to Organise a TEDx

I am a Y12 IB student who's had the privilege to organise a TEDxYouth at my school. It's been a long journey, but with the right amount of dedication and people who help you along the way, it is completely achievable. Please keep in mind that the time needed to organise a TEDx event is long - plan for about 1 year to bring the whole event to completion.

Step #1: Create an Organiser Group

Due to the nature and size of the event, it is simply impossible to organise it alone. Instead, get a group of friends (from your school or another) to help you in this project. They have to be ready for a long term commitment and a sizeable amount of work. I recommend a group of 5 to 6 people, as too little will result in a larger amount of work and too many will damage the efficiency and organisation of your project.

Step #2: Find your Inspiration

The second step is for you to think about the rationale and aim of your TEDx -- why are you hosting it? What type of ideas do you want communicated to your audience? You will have to pick a theme that fits within the TEDx guidelines (so quite large, philosophical, and can be applied to different subjects). This theme should ideally be catchy and interesting. As an example, the theme of my TEDxYouth was "Questioning the Unknown", and it revolved around questions and the stigma surrounding them.

Step #3: Get your School On Board

Next, you will have come to the stage where you need the school to accept your idea. First, present it to your CAS supervisor and then try to get approval from the directors of your school / section. With them, you will need to outline when your event will be, where you want to host it, and discuss logistics. Here, you should also try to ask for an adult supervisor (within the school, perhaps in the realm of marketing or business) that will help you with the event and in communication with the board of directors in the school.

Step #4: Select Speakers

Once your school is on board, it is time for you to start thinking about speakers. Use your contacts within the school to promote your event (specifically looking to attract speakers) and create a google form or a type of sign up sheet where potential speakers can hand in their application. I suggest also asking speakers for a short video of them describing their speech, to get a feel of their idea and their speaking style. After you have received all your applications, it is time for you to select speakers - make sure you have a correct balance of people (male to female, age range, etc) and that the speeches fit to your theme.

Step #5: Train Speakers

It is not enough to simply select speakers with potentially good speeches - it is then up to you to train those speakers. Make sure that their speech is captivating, and that it makes you think. The best way to help speakers train (from my experience) is to have them all together to create a group spirit. Choose three full "training days" where all of the speakers come together and rehearse their speeches with you, giving them feedback and then watching them apply it immediately after. By the time the training is over, the speakers will have (ideally) memorised their speeches and be very excited for the real event.

Step #6: Promote, Promote, Promote

At this point, your event is almost here. The last thing left for you is to sort out the logistics and attract people to come see the event. Work with your school team to get students and parents on board, and be creative in order to try to reach a larger audience outside of school. Remember that the TEDx imposed limit is 100 people. You might also want to discuss with your school wether you charge people for admission or not. One piece of advice that I can give is to use the speakers themselves - ask them to promote your event at their company, workplace, or within their social circle to reach an audience away from your school

Step #7: Congratulations!

Congrats! Your event is finally here. If possible, get a couple of CAS volunteers from your year to help the event run as smoothly as possible on the day. Then, give yourself a pat on the back - all your hard work has paid off!

Although organising an event like this one requires a lot of effort, it will be worth it in the end. If you are planning to take it on, feel free to send us a message under the Contact Us section and we'll try to help you the best we can!

The letters we used for our TEDx