Things to Know Before Applying

Before proceeding with the 2018 TEDxPasadena speaker application, please read the following FAQ’s, then click the link at the bottom of this page.

TED isn’t a who, but a what… The acronym stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design.” TEDx is a locally organized TED Talk, an event licensed and sanctioned by the TED organization.  Giving a TEDx Talk, especially one produced at the caliber of TEDxPasadena, carries with it the possibility of catapulting a speaker’s idea at light speed.

Our TEDxPasadena speakers demonstrate a range, breadth and depth of talent and idea. We believe what makes TEDxPasadena unique, however, is the soulful delivery behind each presentation.

Not much! They all work in support of the same goal: to achieve parity for those with muted voices. The difference lies only in the definition of the license (rules around how we structure our event or when we can film), but the advocacy and purpose of our organization remains the same.

To apply as a TEDxPasadena speaker, read all of these FAQ’s, then click the red button at the bottom of this page.

We strictly enforce the clock for all speakers. TEDx is the place to condense your ideas into a compelling 18-minute (or less) talk that communicates your best ideas. We’ve found that a carefully prepared presentation of this length can have astonishing impact. This short-talk model works since it demands the audience’s attention for only a short time, decreasing the chance of minds wandering or daydreaming about lunch. In fact, some of the greatest TED Talks have been as short as five minutes long, and sometimes with very little words! Here is one of our favorite examples.

TEDxPasadena does not pay speakers, provide an honorarium or compensate for travel expenses. We do, however, cover all their food for the duration of our weekend together, and the entrance costs associated with attending our conference. (Most speakers stay for the whole conference, soaking up the talks and connecting with other attendees.) Other benefits include pre-Talk coaching and training, special events for networking, a gift bag, and a beautifully produced, broadcast-quality video that will live in perpetuity on the TEDx YouTube Channel (gaining notoriety through connection with the TED brand). We are committed to creating an experience that’s tremendously fulfilling and beneficial on all sides.

Unfortunately, no. Please see our comments about paying speakers.

(Our official filming date has not yet been approved by TED, so the following timeline is our best, tentative guess as to what speakers should expect this year…)

Feb. 15th – Application goes live online

March 31 – Application window for 2018 closes (though applications are rolling)

April 15th – Speaker finalists notified

May 1st – Outline of Talk due

May 15th – Rough Draft due

June 1st – Initial Video due

July 1st – Final Script due

Aug 1st – Final Video due

Aug 15th – PowerPoint Slides due

July, Aug, Sept. – Memorization (Only after final script is approved)

Thursday, September 20 – Speaker Dinner

Friday, September 21 – Tech Rehearsal

Saturday, September 22 – TEDxPasadena

An “idea worth spreading” is something that’s new and surprising; an idea or invention that our audience has never heard about. It could also be a compelling new rendering of a great idea that our audience may already have heard—but it’s something that challenges their beliefs and perspectives.  Also, an idea worth spreading isn’t “just” a story or a list of facts. It is not a lecture and it is not a keynote address. A good idea takes certain evidence or observations and draws a larger conclusion. It uses ONE idea and forms this argument within a strict timeframe.

There’s no single formula for a great talk, but there is a secret ingredient that all the best ones have in common. You might find this video produced by Chris Anderson, the TED Curator, informative as you put together your application.

We are looking for ideas on any themes or topics that relate to our mission of supporting those with muted voice. At TEDxPasadena, we identify with speakers who have deep, profound ideas and who care deeply about promoting equity and access for underrepresented populations across all barriers. Our goal is to identify bright minds who will give idea-focused talks on a wide range of subjects, that will foster learning, inspiration and wonder, and will provoke conversations that matter.

TED has very specific standards when it comes to speaking on their stage:

  1. Speakers are not allowed to self-promote (no selling your book, wearing your company t-shirt, or mentioning how to contact you).
  2. Speakers may not mention politics or religion (including any new-age beliefs).
  3. Any science that is mentioned must be sound, empirically researched, and replicable.
  1. Talks MUST be memorized. No use of teleprompters or notes may be used. This ensures an authentic connection with your audience. TED Talks are never extemporaneous.
  2. Speakers may not be paid or given an honorarium. Travel expenses and accommodations are also the responsibility of the speaker.
  3. Speakers are required to sign a waiver, which essentially explains that TED owns their video. More can be learned here.
  4. Speakers can use no more than a total of 30-seconds of excerpts from their TEDx Talk for other videos, including documentaries and promos. More details here.
  1. This year’s talks will relate to our tentative 2018 theme: “Transform.” (This is awaiting TED approval). We are not looking for the retelling of a life story or any pat answers that we could not otherwise discover without significant soul-searching. We are looking for a story that can serve as an anchor for an opportunity to learn something new, see ourselves or someone else in a new way, or provoke conversation that might otherwise be overlooked. We can work with you to come up with some ideas, but to get you thinking about what we might be looking for, here are some examples of these sorts of essential questions that might apply:
    • What do you feel is the purpose of a transformation?
    • Has transformation shown up for you in your life in a way that is unique? If so how?
    • How can your experiences in life teach others about transformation in a way they may not have previously considered?
    • What current events speak to you the most and relate directly to your personal transformation?
    • Whose voice is not heard in the mainstream conversations that you can advocate for through your talk?
    • What occurs in your community that can hinder the ability to transform?

Diversity. We want a rich tapestry of ideas, gender, age, and identity to weave together as an eclectic whole.

Last year, public television station KCET filmed our event and we are sure you will find our videos to be of the highest quality. We plan to have KCET return this year as our production team. Each talk is filmed in front a live audience of about 500 people, and live-streamed globally from the Huntington. A professionally edited version of the live talk will be hosted in perpetuity on the TEDx YouTube channel.

Though our applications are essentially “rolling” (which means speakers may apply anytime throughout the year…we keep all applications on file for future consideration if there isn’t a perfect fight “right now”) we will be accepting applications in consideration of our September 2018 event through March 31st, 2018.  To apply as a TEDxPasadena speaker, read all of these FAQ’s, then click the red button at the bottom of this page.

The application deadline for our Fall 2018 event is March 31st. We accept applications on a rolling basis, however. We keep all applications on file to keep in mind for future speaking opportunities, so if you are not selected this year, trust that we will consider you again in years to come.

Speakers who apply by the March 31 application deadline will be notified via email on or before April 15th, 2018.

Ultimately, your success is our success, so you can trust that we will make you shine. We guarantee to make all the TED rules and guidelines very clear and understandable, and if you would like us to provide you with a speaking coach, we are happy to do so. Our team is extremely familiar with the TED Talk format and intimate with how to cultivate success as a public speaker. Our speakers all have access to closely mentored and hand-held preparation, if they so desire. We provide this service free of charge.

Whether a speaker is nominated, invited, or comes to us via application – we strive to make our selection process as fair as possible. Therefore, a portion of every application is read “blind” by a team of 7 members of our community, each selected to represent the eclectic diversity of TEDxPasadena.  The purpose of this is to diminish as much unconscious bias as possible.  Names, profession, and other personal information are withheld at the initial stage of curation to allow for the committee to focus on the idea, rather than focus on the identity of the applicant.   Applicants who are “nominated” or “invited” generally go through this process as well.

Each application is rated on a 5-point Likert Scale by using the following rubric:

  • Compelling: Is the idea engaging? Does the concept draw you in?
  • Timeliness: Is the idea timely? Does it reflect the current climate of our culture?
  • Diversity: Does the idea represent a rarely seen or heard concept?
  • Relevance: Does the proposed idea tie into our theme of “Transform?”
  • Fit: Is the idea a good fit for the overall TEDxPasadena community?
  • Gut Score: My desire to hear this talk is……

Following the blind read, the applicants are ranked according to the score received for their idea.  The applicants then move on to the second stage of curation in which the full application and identity of potential speakers are considered.

Email and provide as much information as you can. The more you can give us, the better (including contact information). This email will be sent directly to our speaker selection team.

Please do! Just let us know how you’ve heard about this person, and why you think they should speak at TEDxPasadena.

No. Sponsoring/partnering with TEDx has many benefits, but a guaranteed speaking slot is not one of them.

We accept nominations all the time. It’s best to get your suggestions to us as early as possible, so we can research them carefully and make the best decision for our speaker roster and theme.

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