Speaker Guidance Notes

What is TEDx Event?

A TEDx event is a local gathering where live TED-like talks and performances are shared with the community. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.

The TEDxNorthwich team is a team of professional volunteers. This is the third year we have put on such an event in this community. The content and design of each TEDx event is unique and developed independently, but all of them have features in common.

TED's format

A suite of short, carefully prepared talks, demonstrations and performances that are idea-focused, and cover a wide range of subjects to foster learning, inspiration and wonder – and provoke conversations that matter.

Diversity of topics

All TEDx events present multiple issues and a diversity of voices from many disciplines. After all, what’s the fun without a little variety? We are looking for a wide variety of ideas – the more unique your idea (or take on an idea) the more it will stand out to the Selection committee

Community-driven and bias-free content

A TEDx event does not have any commercial, religious or political agenda. Its goal is to spark conversation, connection and community. Please ensure that your application supports this principle.


What is TEDx talk?

A TEDx Talk is a showcase for speakers presenting great, well-formed ideas in under 18 minutes.

Why under 18 minutes?

This short talk model works, since it only demands the audience's attention for a short period of time, decreasing the chance of minds wandering or daydreaming about lunch. In fact, some of our greatest TED Talks have been as short as 5 minutes long!

This year, we are encouraging talks of different lengths.  Short talks especially (3 – 7 minutes) are of interest to us as well as longer talks. You may not know just yet how long your talk will be but give us a rough estimation as best you can.

What can a TEDx talk be about?

It can actually be one of two things:

  • Something that’s new and surprising; an idea or invention that your audience has never heard about.
  • A great basic idea (that your audience has maybe already heard) with a compelling new argument behind it that challenges beliefs and perspectives.

In other words, an idea isn’t just a story or a list of facts. A good idea takes certain evidence or observations and draws a larger conclusion.

Here are some ideas of types of talks

The big idea
The talks that make one or two very strong points, and it’s important. 

The tech demo
An onstage look at some clever new invention that the speaker was a part of creating. 

The performance
Music, dance, magic, puppetry, or some other performance to captivate your audience. 

The artist’s statement
In these talks, artists showcase their art and explain the meaning and process behind what they create. 

The “dazzle with wonder”
These talks are mainly about the amazement of science and discovery. 

The small idea
These talks are not about one big, world-changing idea, but instead a very engaging take on an interesting topic. 

The “issue” talk
These talks expose your audience to an issue that they may not otherwise know much about. 

What a TEDx Talk should NOT be about (there are VERY strict rules about this issued from TED)

  • No selling from the stage.
  • No political agendas.
  • No religious proselytizing (including new age beliefs).
  • Only good science.

Any talk that breaks these rules cannot be accepted. 


Section TWO: Video Submission

We require you to submit a short video clip. Any application submitted without the video cannot be considered.

The video clip should be between two and five minutes long.  If your video is longer than 5 minutes, we will only listen to the first five minutes.  It can be taken on your phone and we will not be judging it on video crafting skills so please don’t spend an age on getting the technical elements of recording perfect.  What we are really interested in is your reasons for wanting to speak at TEDx and why your Big Idea is a good choice for us to showcase.  Specifically, we want you to answer these three questions:

Why this topic should be talked about?

Why it should be talked about now?

And why it should be you that talks about it?

Please note, we are NOT expecting you to deliver your talk in this clip – more the reasoning behind it.  You will get the opportunity to explain what the Big Idea is in written form in the application.

There is a 300MB file size upload limit. Please ensure your video submission is below 300MB before you begin your application.


Section THREE: What’s your Big Idea?

This part of the application form is where you can tell us what your Big Idea is and why it is worth sharing.  There are three parts to this:

  1. Tell us what type of talk you think your topic falls into
  2. What we really want to hear about is your idea that is worth sharing.  We are using the word idea quite broadly here.  It doesn’t have to be a scientific breakthrough, a genius invention or a complex legal theory.  It can be a simple how to. Or a human insight illustrated with the power of story. Or a beautiful image that has meaning. Or an event you wish might happen in the future. Or perhaps just a reminder of what matters most in life.   An idea is anything that can change how people see the world If you can conjure up a compelling idea in the people’s mins. 
  3. Remember to tell us what’s special about your idea – after all this is your perspective, your invention, your experience, your research. So we want to know what your take is.
  4. And finally, tell us what the on takeaway message is for your audience.  If they had to sum up the ‘gist’ of what you’re saying, what’s the gist?

Section FOUR: What’s your Story?

This will help us get an idea of you, as a person, and as a speaker. A brief description of what’s got you to where you are now and an insight into you as a person


Section FIVE: Who else is speaking on your topic right now?

This will help us establish the context for your Big Idea.  Are there others in your field of experience who are sharing this idea (or the alternative to your idea). Is this a ‘hot’ topic right now? Are there books written, YouTube videos, other TED talks, conferences or news items?


Section SIX: What’s your favourite TED talk and why?

If you can link to this, that would be great.. and remember to tell us why you like it –is it the person? The content? The style? The impact it had on you?


Section SEVEN: references, data, evidence that supports your Big Idea

Any references, evidence or data used in your talk will be subject to due diligence and there is an expectation that you will be able to corroborate this.  Where you know already some of this information, please list and link if possible to relevant papers or websites.


Section EIGHT: other helpful additions

(note, these are not essential if you do not have any such evidence)

Please attach:

any recordings of talk you have given which will be helpful in demonstrating your speaking style

Any testimonials you have been given for speaking

Links to relevant websites, academic papers, blogs


Section NINE: Commitments and mandatory requirements for ALL speakers

Throughout the whole preparation period, there will be a combination of rehearsals plus support from a Speaker coach.  From previous experience, we recommend that you are rehearsing your talk on a regular basis as well as the formal rehearsal process.


Start your application now

(v 08012022)