Get the practical tips on how to find the idea worth of TEDx talk, how to prepare the speech and get a better chance to become a TEDx speaker from Tamsen Webster who was involved in organizing TEDx events for four years and knows this industry upside down. Via @MarinaBarayeva. #TEDtalk #TEDx #creativeeducation #business #smallbusiness #smallbiz #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #businesstips #marketing #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss #bossbabe #creative

You probably saw the inspirational videos on YouTube how people present their ideas that become popular. Have you thought about delivering your message there? What is that one thing that you really passionate about, that you want to share with others?

If you decide to become a TEDx speaker, you need to get prepared, and I invited a special guest for you today who was involved in organizing TEDx events for four years and knows this industry upside down.

In this episode, Tamsen Webster shares how to become a TEDx speaker as a creative entrepreneur.

Tamsen is an acclaimed keynote speaker, “idea whisperer,” and message strategist.

'We need people, who are that passionate about their idea' ~ Tamsen WebsterClick To Tweet

She combined 20 years in marketing, 13 years as a Weight Watchers leader, and four years as Executive Producer of one of the oldest and one of the largest locally organized TED talk events in the world into a simple structure for understanding, talking about, and creating lasting change.

As a result, she is an in-demand consultant on finding the ideas that move people to action.

In this episode, we will cover:

  • [00:22] About the episode and Tamsen Webster
  • [01:55] Tamsen shares her story of starting as a marketer and turning to the entrepreneur, helping people to build their ideas. That lead her to be the executive producer of TEDx Cambridge
  • [03:20] Who can become a TEDx speaker and three things you need to keep in mind for that
  • [05:14] You need to have an idea that anybody can adapt
  • [07:17] How to find the exciting idea for a TEDx talk
  • [11:07] What qualifications should you have to become a TEDx speaker
  • [12:49] How to craft and deliver a TEDx talk
  • [14:02] How to prepare for the TEDx speech
  • [16:39] Your speech should motivate people to action, but it’s not necessary should be motivational or inspirational
  • [17:51] How to make an impact on people when you deliver a TEDx talk
  • [24:44] How to find a TEDx event that will be a good fit for your idea
  • [28:36] How to get a better chance to get accepted for a TEDx talk
  • [31:00] The essential things to remember when you structure the talk
  • [33:28] Why you should try to become a TEDx speaker even if it’s not that easy
  • [36:34] Where to find Tamsen online
  • [36:38] For the show notes go to and subscribe to the Marketing for Creatives show

6 Things to Look at a TEDx Event Page When You’re Getting Ready to Become a TEDx Speaker

  • What kinds of speakers do they choose?
  • How often do they have events?
  • Do they have themes?
  • And if they have themes what’s the next one?
  • Does your talk fit into that theme?
  • Is there a natural way to make it fit into your theme?

Pin the quotes on your Pinterest:

How to become a TEDx speaker as a creative entrepreneur. Get the ideas from Tamsen Webster who was involved in organizing TEDx events for four years and knows this industry upside down. #TEDtalk #TEDx #creativeeducation #smallbusiness #entrepreneur #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss #quotes #quotesoftheday #inspiration #Inspirationalquotes #businessquotes
How to become a TEDx speaker as a creative entrepreneur. Get the ideas from Tamsen Webster who was involved in organizing TEDx events for four years and knows this industry upside down. #TEDtalk #TEDx #creativeeducation #smallbusiness #entrepreneur #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss #quotes #quotesoftheday #inspiration #Inspirationalquotes #businessquotes

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Resources from this interview:

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How to Become a TEDx Speaker as a Creative Entrepreneur – Interview Transcription

Get the practical tips on how to find the idea worth of TEDx talk, how to prepare the speech and get a better chance to become a TEDx speaker from Tamsen Webster who was involved in organizing TEDx events for four years and knows this industry upside down. Via @MarinaBarayeva. #TEDtalk #TEDx #creativeeducation #business #smallbusiness #smallbiz #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #businesstips #marketing #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss #bossbabe #creativeMarina Barayeva:

Please tell us more about yourself. We’re so excited to have you.

Tamsen Webster:

Well, let’s see. I’m a recovering brand marketer, both in agencies and organizations. I spent a number of years trying to help people figure out where is the energy behind their ideas and how to turn those into power. It’s taken me a bunch of different places, but currently, I’m an entrepreneur working with people and organizations on how to build the ideas that move people’s minds.

Marina Barayeva:

And you work with a lot of TEDx speakers and TEDx organizations.

Tamsen Webster:

I do. I spent the last… just recently retired from it, but I spent the last four years as the executive producer of TEDx Cambridge. TEDx Cambridge actually is the oldest locally organized TED talk events in the world. I did 10 events for them, and we got five of our speakers promoted to So you can see five of those talks right on

Marina Barayeva:

Wow. And for a lot of people to become a TEDx speaker is something out of their mind. It shouldn’t be something meaningful, and I guess many people don’t even believe in themselves, how they can get there and what should they do. And as we just talked to you, it’s not about business and marketing, but more about the ideas. So could you share with us who can become a TEDx speaker and what do we need to get there?

Tamsen Webster:

I think at its heart anybody can be a TEDx speaker. I think everyone has within them a TEDx idea. The challenge, of course, is that not everybody is willing to do the work. I think everyone’s able to do the work, but the try off in certain ways can be tough. At the minimum, it’s 50 to 70 hours worth of work to for what’s probably going to be a 10 or 12-minute talk. That’s a lot of work.

If you’re a small business owner or an entrepreneur, there’s probably a limit to how much time you can spend away from the main core of your business. So that’s one thing.

The second thing is that doing the work to really find that idea sometimes means going to places where you need to be a bit more vulnerable about the idea or do the work to kind of uncover some baseline assumptions about how you see the world that maybe you haven’t been willing to see before.

And then there’s a third way. The third way is that, OK, maybe you have that idea. Maybe you’re willing to take the time away from your regular business to do this. But then sometimes in order to really make an idea TEDx worthy, you have to show that it works for multiple people beyond yourself.

Sometimes there’s time besides just getting into the talk ready. There’s time involved in getting that I like to call the burden of proof for the idea and play showing that it works for people. Doing the research, collecting example after example, that shows that it’s not just something that applies only to you, but it’s something that applies more broadly to other people. It has a result that you’re looking for.

Marina Barayeva:

What do you mean by the idea should be for multiple people?

Tamsen Webster:

A lot of people I think because the experience that we have when we watch a TEDx talk is often one that feels very personal to us. Oftentimes because they’re not always the speaker is sharing sometimes a personal story, but I think we’ve come to think that TED talks about these interesting personal stories that people have and that’s really not true.

The vast majority of TED talks don’t involve a lot of deep anguish, personal stories. In fact, if it’s just about your story, unless you’re very famous, which I’m sad to say most of us aren’t, that unless, you’re famous, your story isn’t enough to get you on to a TEDx stage.

And here I’ll quote a fellow TEDx organizer, Ajit George from TEDx Wilmington, Delaware, in the mid-coast of the United States. He says that “An interesting story does not equal an interesting idea.”

I couldn’t agree more. You may have an interesting story. It might be motivational, inspirational, and might be what got you to start the business or set you on the path that you’re on. But unless you could extract from that story, a wider idea, a wider message, a wider set of changes of behavior that anybody could adopt then it isn’t enough to be TEDx.

It could be a talk that gets your attention. It could be a talk somewhere else that people would pay you to give a keynote or something.

But TEDx and TED, in general, are really about the quality, the distinctiveness, the newness, and the broad applicability of ideas and unless you can find that in your idea, then you’re going to be limited in your ability to get a TEDx, which I know is one of your questions as well.

Marina Barayeva:

It sounds a little bit complicated. How to find this exciting idea for the speech that worth to be presented on TEDx?

Tamsen Webster:

I think a lot of times it starts with thinking to yourself, what is it that I’m really passionate about? What is something that you really care about? Something that you spend many of your waking hours thinking about working towards trying to achieve. It really starts with something that you have a passion to share.

The second place to look is where that passion to share overlaps with what I call your domain of authority, and what I mean by your domain authority is:

  • Where is your education?
  • Where’s your experience?
  • Where is your expertise?
  • Does it make sense that you are someone who could talk about that idea?

And it’s not just your opinion about whether or not you’ve got the experience; it has to be what other people agree that your background makes you ideally and perhaps uniquely suited to talk about this idea that you’re passionate about.

And the third thing that’s really important, and I believe all three have to be present for you to have to be in the neighborhood of your idea. The third thing is that it really needs to meet an unmet need in the world:

  • It needs to solve a problem for other people.
  • It needs to help people achieve a goal that they’re having trouble achieving.
  • It needs to help us see an opportunity that perhaps we hadn’t seen before.

There has to be a whole that it’s filling somewhere and this is where with all those three things together, that’s kind of where do you start.

From there you have to figure out if I have a topic at least or at least a general idea that meets all of those that I’m qualified to talk about, I’m really passionate about telling other people about it and it really actually can and has helped other people than the work to figure out and really refine the very nature of that idea begins.

That’s necessary in order to get one because when people and organizers are looking for speakers or if you decide to use one of the application forms that some of the events have to apply, one of the first questions that are going to ask you is what is the idea?

What they’re looking for is one sentence, think of it as like a tweet-length or a Twitter status update length sentence that actually explains what the idea is. It’s not mysterious, it’s not a title, but it explains what the idea is all about.

As an example, I like to use Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on How Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are. That’s the title Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are. But if she were to write a one-sentence description of it or I were to write it for her, I would say the talk is about how we can use body language to overcome impostor syndrome.

That one sentence description you see both tells me something that I will get from it, what’s that unmet need, and in this case, it’s overcoming imposter syndrome, but it also tells me an unexpected way to get there, which is what she brings to it based on her domain of authority. And that is that body language may be a way to overcome impostor syndrome.

Finding the idea really is this intersection of things that you’re passionate about, you’re qualified to speak about and that the world needs. And then it’s about getting the clarity about that idea that you can express to other people quickly and clearly what that idea of actually is.

How to become a TEDx speaker as a creative entrepreneur. Get the ideas from Tamsen Webster who was involved in organizing TEDx events for four years and knows this industry upside down. #TEDtalk #TEDx #creativeeducation #smallbusiness #entrepreneur #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss #quotes #quotesoftheday #inspiration #Inspirationalquotes #businessquotesMarina Barayeva:

When you talk about the background and qualifications what do people need?

Tamsen Webster:

That depends on the nature of the talk. The reason why you see so many academics on is because that’s their job. Their job is to do the research on the idea, and so they automatically have that qualification to speak about it.

But years of working on a concept even if you don’t have a Ph.D. or a doctoral degree or something, if you can show that this is the work that you’ve done consistently for a long time, that can count.

There’s even Jia Jiang. He did a talk on rejection, and he spent, I think it was like 100… He did a hundred different things that he was probably gonna get rejected for doing it and recorded it on YouTube.

He doesn’t have a degree in that, and that’s not his job. But he went through the effort and the time of the work of doing something 100 different times, filming it, posting it, and that’s that kind of thing is enough to get you that domain of authority. It gets you that burden of proof that you are qualified to talk about something.

So it really depends on the idea, but it has to be something, like I said before, where somebody else looking at it and goes, ‘Yeah, this person is qualified to talk about this.’

Marina Barayeva:

When people pick the idea to talk about they think that they can deliver that, do you have any recommendations for them? For those who want to become a TEDx speaker on how to craft and actually deliver the TEDx talk? You said that there’s a lot of time of perforation.

Tamsen Webster:

Yes. When I worked with the speakers for TEDx Cambridge and now when I work with private clients, it’s at minimum a 12-week process. At a minimum of 12-week process from, you think you had the idea to actually finding it, to putting it together, to delivering it on stage.

Of that 12 weeks that I worked with the TEDx Cambridge speakers, roughly half of that was getting to a script of some sort and the other half was rehearsing it. You can say, ‘OK, I can get to a crafted idea and what I’m going to say in about six to eight weeks,’ but it still needs a lot of rehearsal in order to get to a point where it feels natural, and even if it is scripted, you rehearse it to a point where it doesn’t feel scripted to the audience.

At a high level, that’s how it’s split like half time figuring out what you’re going to say and then the other half how you’re going to say it, but the process itself is quite in depth.

Marina Barayeva:

Would you recommend to write a script for of what you’re going to say and practice that after? Or how would you recommend to nail down all the speech?

Tamsen Webster:

It depends on the kind of speaker you are. I think a lot of people think that they are better speakers than they actually are. They think that they’re better when they’re not rehearsed. They think that they’re better when they’re not scripted. And I flat out don’t agree. I’ve been doing this work now for five years, and people are better when they know ahead of time exactly what they’re going to say.

That said, there’s more than one way to get there. One is sometimes people are… Think about it this way. There’s kind of two classify or two classes of people or two groups of people. There’re the writers and the talkers. Either way, both of them need to get to a point where there is something ingrained in their mind about what they’re going to say.

The writers are the folks that really start from the concepts up, and they write it out, and they write out initially what they’re going to say, and then they start to get it up on its feet. They start to rehearse it. They started to speak it out loud so that they can refine it. So that all that stuff that sounds written starts to get removed from it and it starts to sound spoken.

The writers kind of start writing and then they speak it so that eventually, even though they know exactly what they’re going to say, it starts to sound not written. It starts to sound as if they had just come up with it.

For the speakers, the talkers, the talkers often where my experience has been is that once they know generally the concepts that they’re going to talk about and in what order and the stories they’re going to tell you how they’re going to get from one place to another, they talk it out.

They take kind of section by section and talk it out until they find the best way to say that particular thing.

At some point, they do need to record that either as an audio recording or I recommend getting, capturing the best version of things written so that they can reproduce the best versions that they’ve come up with.

It’s kind of funny that the talkers talk then write to capture it and then kind of go back to talking. And then the writers get to write than talk and ideally just kind of capture, you go back and again capture the last version of it, just so that they have that and they’ve got a really precise version they can continue to practice.

Marina Barayeva:

Sounds like a lot of work the to deliver that message. And we still need to some how… You say it should not be the motivated speech; it should be more probably inspirational speech.

Tamsen Webster:

No, I would actually start right there. I wouldn’t say that your aim for a TEDx speech should be inspirational or motivational. It should be to achieve a change in thinking or behavior. And motivation and inspiration may be a part of that.

How to become a TEDx speaker as a creative entrepreneur. Get the ideas from Tamsen Webster who was involved in organizing TEDx events for four years and knows this industry upside down. #TEDtalk #TEDx #creativeeducation #smallbusiness #entrepreneur #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss #quotes #quotesoftheday #inspiration #Inspirationalquotes #businessquotesBut where I see people go really wrong in both the ideas that they try to come up with and in the talks they tried to create as if they try to be motivational, they try to be inspirational. You almost always will miss the mark.

So it’s much, much better to say what is the specific thing that I want people to do differently afterward? I understand is not a do. It’s a step towards the thing:

  • What’s the thing that you want people to actually do differently?
  • How do you want them to approach things differently?
  • How do you want them to think about things differently?
  • Are there specific behaviors that you want them to put in place?

Start there, and you’re already going to be much more successful overall.

The inspiration, the motivation can come later, but if you try for that in the first place, you’re probably going to go wrong, and it’s probably going to be one of the things that keep you from getting your idea accepted by an organizer when you apply.

Marina Barayeva:

I like the slogan on your website. It says, ‘Don’t just WOW the crowd. Change them.’ That’s how it is. But how to actually do that?

How to become a TEDx speaker as a creative entrepreneur. Get the ideas from Tamsen Webster who was involved in organizing TEDx events for four years and knows this industry upside down. #TEDtalk #TEDx #creativeeducation #smallbusiness #entrepreneur #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss #quotes #quotesoftheday #inspiration #Inspirationalquotes #businessquotes

It sounds impressive, but what do you think are the key factors of the speech that will motivate people to actions to change something?

Tamsen Webster:

The first, I mean the real first key is to know exactly what it is that you want to have happened. The first step is what is that thing that I want people to do. Know that. What is that thing that I want people to do?

And actually, the secret there is you actually have to figure out kind of at the same time you’re figuring that out ‘Well, who am I asking to do that?’ Because not everybody in the audience is willing to take that action.

So, you kind of have to back up and say, all right, if this is what I want to have happened, who in the audience am I speaking to… Is it really most likely that will do that? Like who is this talk really for?

Because it isn’t going to be for everybody in the audience or everybody that’s viewing online. It is going to be for a specific group of people, that are the people who you want to make that change. You need to know that.

There are two pieces of information you need to know before you do anything else and it’s who is it really for and what do you want them to do?

Beyond that, there are some universal things that do lead people to actions. And it’s a place where I’ve spent a lot of time in my career trying to figure out what is that. There are certain elements that have to be in place.

The first element that has to be in place is for those people that you’re talking to, doing the thing that you want them to do, has to get them something. There has to be what I call a goal or an irresistible outcome for the audience.

You have to identify next once you know who you’re talking to and what you want them to do, what change you want them to make, you need to say to yourself, ‘What is the thing that they are trying to get? That they know they’re trying to get? That doing this will help them get.’ That’s the goal.

What is this? What can I present to them as an era of the irresistible outcome? Back to Amy Cuddy’s talk: is it a way to overcome impostor syndrome?

Or some other talks that I’ve worked on: is it a way to reduce business decision maker risk and business decisions? Is it to allay my fears about what automation will mean for the future of my job?

These are specific questions, specific things that the audience wants that you need to identify.

There, so far, now we have three things you need to know:

  1. Who are you talking to?
  2. What do you want them to do?
  3. What is something that they want, but they know they want, but this will help them get that? I’m going to call that the goal.

The next piece you have to figure out is why aren’t getting there? And what’s your opinion on why they’re not getting there?

Because they’re going to have plenty of thoughts for themselves about why they’re not getting there. But the place that you as a speaker or as a creative has a perspective on, about why is it the way people are typically going about it? Why isn’t that going to work or why isn’t it going to work as well?

The second thing, after the goal that you need to find, is what I call the problem.

And it isn’t going to be a problem that everybody already sees. It needs to be a problem of what I call incomplete perspective. It needs to be something that they’re focusing on that you identify what they’re focusing on, what this audience that you’re talking to is focusing on so much that they’re missing where the actual path to success may lay.

For instance, they’re focusing so much on a big data. That they are missing the fact that big data actually creates a not just more knowledge, it creates more unknowns. It creates more things that you don’t know. Because there’s all this information creates more questions and more questions and more questions.

So what you’re trying to find is kind of both sides where you’re identifying for yourself and eventually for the audience. The really reason why you’re not getting to that goal is that you think it’s about X. This one thing. When it’s really about this other thing.

Or you think it’s about X and it’s really about the X plus Y. It’s about the thing that you think it’s about pluses another thing.

Or the third option is you think it’s about X, but it’s actually about X acts as a path to Y. It’s just this other thing.

I know that that’s probably fairly confusing at this point, but what it really is about understanding:

  • How are people looking at it now?
  • How do you look at it?
  • Where’s that gap and perspective that you need to close?

Then there’s a third piece which is what is what is a kind of truth about the world or about themselves or the thing that they want that once they hear it, they can’t unhear it. And it makes keeping their prior perspective impossible.

For instance, if I am using this big data talk is an example, if I want to reduce the risk and business decision making and now I’ve made it clear… the speakers made it clear to me that big data doesn’t just create more knowledge, creates more unknowns, that incomplete perspective.

Then if I hear from the speaker something like, ‘The greatest risk lies in the unknown,’ like ‘The greatest risk comes from what you don’t know,’ now it’s impossible for me to look at big data the same way. And now I’m ready to hear what that answer is.

When we’re trying to figure out how do we actually motivate somebody to change, how do we actually change that thinking, and not just in the moment but permanently, which is what I’m interested in. It’s about creating that tension about between something that they want, something they believe, or the tension between those two is so strong that they are forced to change their perspective on how they see the world.

Because if you change how people see something, then you’ll change what they do with what they see.

Marina Barayeva:

You mentioned the big data topics, and there are a lot of talks about artificial intelligence. What about the creative entrepreneurs who want to become a TEDx speaker? Are the TEDx events the same? Or how they can find the right one for their message?

Tamsen Webster:

Every TEDx is different. I wish there was an easy way to say, ‘Oh, this is how you find them’ and there’s this magical database somewhere that says, ‘This is the right one for you.’

But this is also part of the work I was talking about. Part of the work of getting a TEDx talk is doing the work of figuring out which one is a good match. I would recommend generally that you start with the local area because by and large, most TEDx is pulled from the region that they’re in.

So you’re going to have a higher probability of being accepted if you’re in the region that they’re pulling from, where they’re looking for speakers.

You’re much more likely to get a TEDx based in your own city than one that’s based halfway around the world.

That’s not a hundred percent true all the time, but it’s like I said, it’s more likely. So the first place I had is to research your local and regional TEDx events.

There’s a page on the site where you can do that. You can just google TEDx events, and you’ll see that the first result is that search page on

You can put in a region, and you can see all upcoming events in that region. You can also change the filter so that you can see past events. And so once you have a list of events that are in a region that applies to you, then the work begins of starting to research each of those events. Start to see:

  • What kinds of speakers do they choose?
  • How often do they have events?
  • Do they have themes?
  • And if they have themes what’s the next one?
  • Does your talk fit into that theme?
  • Is there a natural way to make it fit into your theme?

I, by the way, don’t love themes, but because it does make people contort their idea in order to fit. I don’t like that I’d rather people give their idea of the way it is, but knowing that can help you whether you know whether or not they a particular event is good for you.

Because if your talk just does not easily fit into the theme, then that’s probably not the event for you that time around.

So look to see if there’s a theme. Look to see what their application processes.

  • Sometimes there is no application because the organizers are finding the speakers themselves and they’re curating theirs on their own. They’re inviting people to speak.
  • Sometimes there is an application, and the organizers don’t really use it.
  • Sometimes there is an application, and that’s the only thing they use.

So these are the types of things to try to find out. The best sources of that information are going to be previous speakers. Look at people who have spoken at that event, sorry…

The best source of that information is going to be previous speakers. Talk to and find. Go look on the TEDx events website or Facebook page. Find speakers from that event.

You can go to the TEDx YouTube channel. See who those speakers are. See if you know any of those people. See if you know anyone who knows anyone.

And really find out what the experience is like:

  • How that particular TEDx works.
  • What it’s like for the speakers.
  • What kind of preparation and process do they use?
  • How do they find the speakers?
  • What is it like?

There’s really nobody better than a previous speaker that event to tell you what the event is really like, how they find speakers, what the process is, and what those organizers are looking for.

Marina Barayeva:

When people will apply for TEDx, do you have any recommendations how to have a better chance to get accepted if nobody can introduce, but they just fill the application to be a speaker on TEDx event?

Tamsen Webster:

It really is the strength of the idea. That has a huge amount to do with it. And as I mentioned before, you really need to be able to articulate your idea in one concise, clear sentence.

The rule of thumb that I use for that is that that sentence should include something that people want with something they don’t expect. So I go back to the Amy Cuddy’s example. This talk is about the idea how we can use body language to overcome impostor syndrome.

Or another one would be the idea is that more choice actually makes us less happy. Or the idea is, is that without human insights, big data creates more risk.

Those are the kinds of things that you need a really clear sentence that actually answers for someone who doesn’t know anything about your idea it gives them a good sense of what the talk is about. That’s the most important thing to have clarity on.

After that, yes, have a working title for it, but the working title is… spend some time on and understand that titles for TED talks and TEDx talks are very different.

They’re not, they’re not titled LookBooks. They’re not titled like keynote presentations. They’re not titled like marketing collateral. They have a very specific kind of title where they much like that sentence, they tell you what it is without giving you the answer.

‘The power of introverts,’ ‘your body language may shape who you are,’ ‘will automation take away all our jobs’ – these are titles that tell me what the, what the talk is going to be about. So think like a potential viewer online when you title your talk.

It needs to be titled in a way that you would click on it. And if the title doesn’t give enough information about what the talk is actually about, you need to be realistic and say you would skip that if it didn’t. If you didn’t actually see how it would benefit you or answer a question that you’re curious about, you wouldn’t click on it.

How to become a TEDx speaker as a creative entrepreneur. Get the ideas from Tamsen Webster who was involved in organizing TEDx events for four years and knows this industry upside down. #TEDtalk #TEDx #creativeeducation #smallbusiness #entrepreneur #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss #quotes #quotesoftheday #inspiration #Inspirationalquotes #businessquotesHave a clear idea that’s crisply expressed. Have a working title that fits, that already reads like a video because that’s going to help the organizers see you’re talking that way.

And there are a couple of other things I would say you probably need to have and one is a good sense of how you would structure the talk. It doesn’t mean you have to have the talk ready, but you do need to have a sense of:

  • How would you express this idea?
  • How are you going to get this idea across?
  • Are you going to tell stories?
  • Are you going to do a demonstration?
  • Are you going to cite other people’s research?
  • Are you going to show something?
  • Are you going to have a performance?

I mean, all of these things are things you need to think through and so that you could explain it to the organizers.

And then the last thing to be prepared for it. Because I see this more and more is they’re asking for a one or two-minute video where you talk about the talk. Where you give a little bit more information, or you tell them a little bit about why you want to do it or something like that. So be thinking about what you might want to do for that video.

The other thing I would tell you about that video is I don’t think the large organizers want to see that as a scripted video. They don’t want to see something where it feels like you prepared it really carefully. They want to see that you’re crisp and clean and concise. That’s why they only give you one or two minutes. But I think they also don’t want to feel like it’s totally memorized, but they just want to see a sense of who you are and how you can talk about your idea.

Marina Barayeva:

It feels like it’s not an easy process.

Tamsen Webster:

No, it’s not. And then the chances of getting that talk promoted is very, very low, which is why I think trying to do it for business reasons is not a good reason to do it.

The chances of getting at a TEDx talk that you do at a local TEDx event, promoted to is one in 18,000. It’s not good.

Those are not good odds. Because there are about 250 videos a year put up on and only about 40 of them are given to TEDx events, and yet there are 25,000 videos produced from TEDx events every year.

So you’ve got 25,000 videos going into four slots and our 40 slots. And the math doesn’t work well if you think that’s going to be your magic ticket to business success and an awareness at the market.

It’s just, that’s really not the reason to do it.

Marina Barayeva:

Why would you recommend then people to try to become a TEDx speaker?

Tamsen Webster:

There are basically two reasons. One is because you can’t imagine not doing something for your idea. You are in fact, so passionate about the idea that you’re willing to do all that work, take all the time away from your main business, rehearse it, and learn a new way of constructing your thoughts and performing on stage, that even if only a couple hundred people see it, that night of the event, that’s worth it to you. If that’s worth it, then do it. Because we need people, who are that passionate about their ideas.

The second reason to do it is because I think are having to be concise in your thinking, having to do that work, provides lessons about how to talk about your ideas overall, not just this idea that you want to put up on stage, but your ideas as a creative, as a businessperson, as a salesperson, as a marketer, the exercise of having to learn how to get clarity on your concepts with such rigidity, with making it fit into a short amount of time.

Those are benefits that, that will benefit you as a businessperson, far beyond the stage. And I think if you’re looking at, as a business person, really that’s the only place where you can see where the return on investment would pay off.

Because you want to look at it more, not as business development, not as a marketing development, not as advertising or a sales opportunity. Look at it as a professional development opportunity. Look at it as an opportunity to really understand the core of your thinking and your ideas and how your worldview works in a way that you can apply to all other forms of communication going forward.

That to me is the reason to do it as a business person because the chance of getting it into the public eye is so low that you have to do it for some other reason. And I think developing yourself as a communicator does do that for you. I think TEDx is a great way to do that.

Marina Barayeva:

Good luck to our listeners who want to become a TEDx speaker. Thank you, Tamsen, so much for all of these tips and a lot of useful information.

Please share with us how can we connect with you and know more about you and your projects.

Tamsen Webster:

Everything I do is over at I do weekly blog videos on there, and you can get more information about all sorts of stuff over

Marina Barayeva:

Fantastic. Thank you so much, Tamsen.

Tamsen Webster:

Thank you.