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to be a TEDxMemphis speaker
Speaking at TEDx Memphis

We're always looking for new voices and new ideas. From a top executive of an NBA team, to a national security analyst on CNN, high school teacher, GRAMMY Award winner, medical doctor, ordained minister and more, past TEDxMemphis speakers run the gamut and we look for presenters who will inspire, surprise, and delight. 

If you know someone who belongs on the TEDx stage, or if you belong there yourself, below you'll find support to help craft a compelling submission for TEDxMemphis!

Please review all materials before making your final submission.

Share your idea

TEDxMemphis strives to program a conference each year with talks that represent the most innovative ideas coming out of Memphis. We want our conferences to be full of engaging, dynamic, thought-provoking talks. Whether a simple idea or a complex issue, great TEDx talks start conversations.

When people describe TED Talks you’ll hear words like “surprising,” “inspirational,” “provocative,” or “illuminating.” TED Talks are required to be shorter than 18 minutes, and we hope to have talks of varying lengths, tones, and topics. Some of the most compelling are just a few minutes long while driving interest and engagement from the audience. 

Framing your idea.

TEDx Talks are not presentations about your work or organization -- they are idea-driven talks with broad application (beyond a local audience). When telling us about your talk, start with what your exciting idea is, then explain how you will share that idea from the stage. 

An easy way to think about framing your idea is to simply start with "What if?" or "What happens when?" Whatever your idea, make it simple and clear. Avoid technical terms and jargon. Your idea needs to be understood by anyone and should be the driving force behind your talk.

What are we looking for?
  1. A new, crystal-clear, and singular idea

  2. An engaging focus that addresses a topic of acute interest

  3. A delivery-style that shifts perspectives for the audience and gives them an "aha!" moment

  4. An idea that has a broader application than just to the speaker's life or situation

Envision your Talk.

During each TEDxMemphis conference, it's important to get a good mix of ideas, topic areas, tones, and lengths of Talks. 

Dynamic TED Talks start with COMMON FRAMEWORKS. What speaking framework do you think you'll use?

  • The Biography: How did you get from point A to point B? Did you meet anyone along the way? This talk style explores what others should know from your personal experience

  • The Crystal Ball: Can you see into the future with full clarity? This talk style explores how you connected the dots others can't see while inspiring curiosity and inquisitiveness from the audience

  • The Discovery: What was your "aha" moment? You've got an innovative solution to a problem or a journey similar to the hero next door. Either way, this talk will challenge the audience to think about something differently

  • The Explanation: You've got the knowledge ready to share with listening ears. This talk style informs or explains a new idea, concept, or way of doing things to the audience 

  • The History Lesson: Can you draw lines from the past to the present and even the future? This talk style looks between the lines of the history books to glean new insights we can apply to the future

What best describes the TONE you hope to use throughout your talk? 

  • Authoritative - decisive, authentic, confident, demanding

  • Cheerful - jovial, happy, in good spirits

  • Critical - disapproving

  • Earnest - sincere, showing deep feeling

  • Formal - accepting rules, textbook style

  • Gentle - considerate, kind, mild, soft

  • Humorous - funny, amusing, entertaining

  • Impassioned - emotional, heartfelt, intense

  • Ironic - wry, an unexpected opposite meaning of events

  • Nostalgic - yearning for the past, wistful

  • Objective - factual, definitive

  • Outspoken - frank, candid, spoken without reserve

  • Satirical - mocking, cynical, sarcastic

  • Sympathetic - understanding

  • Whimsical - playful, mischievous, eccentric

What's the estimated LENGTH of your talk? 

  • 3-5 minutes - short, sweet, and to the point!

  • 6-9 minutes - a simple idea with a bit more explanation

  • 10-14 minutes - a more complex idea that requires a bit more context

  • 15-18 minutes - a grand idea that I simply need more time to explain

Starting with a TITLE is a great way to clarify the core idea within your talk.

  • Think of up to three options.

  • It doesn't have to be perfect, it's merely a way to summarize your talk.

  • If you end up getting selected, this title can absolutely be changed down the road.

Before public speaking

To better understand how we think about ideas, please watch Chris Anderson’s video (below). Getting ready to speak at TED or a TEDx event? Check out the full playlist to help get you prepared.

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