Entertainment

12 tips for hosting a TED Live party

A new venue for TED Conferences: your living room. You can watch TED's full sessions live or after the fact. Friends invited.

A new venue for TED Conferences: your living room. You can watch TED2015 sessions live or after. With friends.

Ideas are best when shared in good company. So invite the gang, grab some popcorn and enjoy TED2015 via TED Live, our high-definition webstream that beams the TED Conference, either in the moment or after the fact, into your living room, office or classroom. The on-demand conference, to watch anytime, costs $100, or you can watch it live for $500 (which also gives you access to the on-demand archives). And so: it is party time.

We’ve gathered 12 tips for throwing a TED Live party that your guests won’t stop buzzing about.

  1. If you are bringing together people who might not know each other, take inspiration from our conference and make name badges for your guests. Help break the ice by including a section that reads: “Talk to me about …’ and have each person share three things they love to discuss — whether it’s funk music, ancient Greece, or varieties of dark chocolate.
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  2. Make it a dinner party and ask each guest to bring a dish inspired by a speaker or session in the TED2015: Truth and Dare program.
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  3. Talks aren’t just for the speakers we’ve chosen for the stage. Ask a few of your guests ahead of time if they’d like to give a short talk on an idea they’re passionate about. Or, if you think your guests are up for it, assign a topic on the spot for an improv talk.
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  4. Ideas worth sharing often come in books worth swapping. Ask each guest to bring a book to the party that represents an idea they want to share with others, and plan a book swap.
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  5. For the TED superfan, make TED Talk bingo cards for things you know are bound to come up during the session. (You can cheat and consult the speaker lineup.) Might we suggest a child prodigy? an unbelievable demo? a dramatic hand gesture?
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  6. In between sessions, play a little TED Trivia. (Have a few prizes on hand.)
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  7. Talks spark curiosity. So go around in a circle after a few sessions and ask each person to pose a question to the group about a speaker they found intriguing. If your event is large, break up into smaller circles and encourage folks to strike out on their own instead of clumping with friends. The more varied the expertise of the people talking, the cooler the conversation will be.
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  8. Play charades, TED-style. During sessions, ask your guests to write down interesting, amusing or surprising words and phrases on slips of paper. At the break, put them all in a bag. Break into teams and watch as your guests try to act out phrases like “astrobiologist” and “surf photography.”
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  9. Or play some good old-fashioned Truth and Dare, to honor this year’s conference theme. Ask your guests to write down a truth and a dare on a slip of paper and put them into a bag. During a session break, ask people, one by one, to pull a slip. The catch: no skips — if you’re at the party, you have to pick one!
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  10. The TED Conference is about discovery. So have each guest make a playlist to swap that features artists and bands they think others should know about. Bonus if these songs address an issue they care about, or tie into a theme at the conference.
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  11. Give your guests notepads when they arrive and, during the talks, encourage them to express a speaker’s ideas via doodles. (If you have a whiteboard at your disposal, even better.) Stick figures are highly encouraged. Perhaps a prize for the most moving sketch?
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  12. Or have your guests cook up some cool ideas in the moment. Hit the grocery store for some basic ingredients for a meal, and arrange them into a few different mystery packs. After you watch TED, split your guests into teams and ask them to — with a ticking clock — cook up a snack or dish based on a talk. For example: A talk on artificial intelligence could inspire a dish that a robot might want to eat for dinner. For Stephen Pyne’s talk on fire, perhaps party guests can experiment with extra spice? (Be ready to order pizza.)

You and your guests can join the conversation on social media using the #TED2015 hashtag. Share favorite quotes, ideas and reactions with other TED Live viewers and conference attendees — and read out great things they see others sharing.