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8 smart strategies TEDx organizers use to find great speakers

TEDx speakersTalks on science, space and dung beetles. Talks on philosophy, medicine and folding paper towels. Every day, all over the globe, TEDx organizers are tirelessly working to find inventive, ingenious speakers ready to bring talks to life.

We asked 10 TEDx organizers to share the process behind sourcing great speakers and great talks. Below, 8 pieces of advice that came up again and again:

  1. Look for the ideas your community cares about, and then look for the people who can speak on them. What ideas and questions are starting to percolate where you live? Now, do some research on who has unexpected takes on them.
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  2. Use your theme as a guide. Let it to lead you to the questions and issues that could be tackled in talks.
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  3. Plan (far, far) ahead. Finding speakers takes time. As does communicating with them, navigating their schedules, calling them in for rehearsals and working with them on revisions. Just know: there will be unexpected hiccups. So give yourself time to look, time to invite, time to schedule and time to rehearse.
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  4. Put together a curation team whose members have different interests and expertise. It will help make your line-up well-rounded and well-researched.
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  5. Read, research, watch. Throw a wide net: read magazines, journals and reports, watch online videos and the local news.
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  6. Your secret weapon: local universities. Colleges and universities are full of professors—and graduate students—researching interesting ideas, so make sure to look there. Local museums are great sources, too!
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  7. Ask around. Put out feelers in your community. Let your wider team — including your first batch of prospective speakers — know what you need to make your lineup feel complete.
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  8. Stick with it. It will be hard at times, but on the big day, seeing your speakers light up a room with their passion for great ideas will be worth it.

To read in-depth interviews with these 10 experienced organizers on the ins and outs of finding speakers, head to the TEDx Innovations Blog »