If you have asked the question "how to get a TEDx speaking slot" then this episode is for you.
Elaine Powell coaches passionate innovators, entrepreneurs and experts grow their authority, credibility and thought leadership, without wasting time and money on marketing and PR, (I can't believe I let her say that - ed), so they can enhance the human race and transform the world. Elaine explains the franchise model of TED, which was originally founded by Richard Wurman in 1984.
You can contact Elaine for me insights and advice at MindSpeakAcademy.
Welcome to this episode of the UnNoticed Entrepreneur show. Today, I'm delighted to have Elaine Powell who runs a company called the mind speak academy, and apart from anything else she helps people to get onto Ted welcome Elaine.Elaine Powell:
Well, thank you for having me, I'm really happy to be here to talk all thingsJim James:
TED. Yeah. Well, look, let's dive straight in because everyone loves Ted, but no one knows how to get onto Ted. Take us, take us through how it works and can anybody be on Ted let's let's start with that. Is it impossible to be on Ted?Elaine Powell:
No, it's not impossible, but I would say it's one of those stages that are, it's a prestigious stage to get on. as such, it's like the, funnel there's many, many people who come into the funnel, but only a few who will come out the other end, because you know, it ultimately is about an idea worth spreading. Whoever has an interest to speak on the TEDx. They really need to spend that time thinking about their idea. And is it unique? Is it innovative? Is it something that they've been living for a long time? So usually you'll find people who speak on the Ted or TEDx stage are experts. They're, scientists, they're authors predominantly been living this idea for a while. So it's not just a new idea that hasn't had done, you know, it doesn't have much layers to it. So can anyone get on the TEDx stage? I'd say to some degree. Yes, but it really does depend on the idea that you've come up with. So I feel everyone has an idea inside of them to some of them aren't meant to be birthed. Right.Jim James:
Okay. Take us through then what's the between Ted and TEDx.Elaine Powell:
Yeah. So Ted was born out in 1984, Richard Wurman, and another gentlemen started it and it was a predominantly a conference. That thought leaders, especially people around Silicon valley at that time, because it was based in California. they, they just brought together thought leaders who were sharing, you know, new technology. Cause it's, you know, Ted technology, entertainment and design and. It was, I think it was around 5,000 us dollars to attend for a week and the thought leaders would speak up to 18 minutes and it was a lot around networking. As we know some of these events, it's not just the talk, it's the networking, it's the people, you know, and then as time progressed, people said, look, I, we want that Ted experience, but we'd like it in our local city because we can't come all the way to California. We don't have that money. So they set up TEDx, which is licensed, Ted TEDx events. So a way to think about it is Ted is like, McDonald's. And TEDx is a franchise. TEDx are independent organizers who they're not really affiliate, they're not affiliated to Ted. They don't oversee them too much, but we have to follow the blueprint, you know, as a TEDx curator for three years. So I kind of went through that process of being the license holder. So that's the difference. You're, you're more likely to get onto a Ted X then you actually will on the Ted stage, unless you really have the most outstanding innovation ideas, science that, you know, you can back up with research science, Ted gets 25,000 applications a year, yeah. it's it's credibility. I would love to be on the big stage, the great thing about it though, is that, uh, very few will get invited on the big Ted stage. But if you are invited or you get to speak at a TEDx event, If they deem if Ted as cause they they've watch all the TEDx talks before they put it up on YouTube, just to fact check everything. deem your talk good enough, they'll put it on the big Ted platform. You know, ted.com, which only, I think currently has 3,500 talks. And who knows, maybe there's like a hundred, 150,000 TEDx talks, but only a very few get on that platform.Jim James:
Wow really. So you've got to have gone through some significant filters. Now, how does that work though? Just take us through the process. If someone feels that they've lived a big idea and it's worth sharing, what do they do, Elaine? Because is it a web form? Do you get approached? Is it a nomination?Elaine Powell:
I tell you, Jim, it's not easy. It really isn't. I think the Ted organization hasn't made it easy. They think they've made it easy for people who want to get on a TEDx stage. Cause you go to the Ted platform, ted.com. You go to the menu bar at the top, and then you can have a look at all the TEDx events that are happening throughout the world. That's where you start. They have a date, but when you go and find the event on Google sometimes event organizers haven't, haven't got a website. Sometimes they, they haven't gotten the application open. So a lot of research you have to do to actually find the event that actually is opened for speakers. Cause not all of them are opened for. People too. it's not always it, some have a year round rolling application. Others. They it's our events say for instance, the event next year is in September. They'll start promoting for speakers, eight months out from when the event is. So you kind of have to keep an eye out to when they're going to start opening up applications.Jim James:
Or people come to you, I guess that's the whole point, right? With, with what you're doing at the Mind Speak Academy, you help them to filter out and get to the. To the TEDx they might want to apply for what do they have to fill in? Do they have to send a video of what they're going to present or a concept? Take us through what people have to have ready.Elaine Powell:
Yeah. So because every application forms are all different, but there are some key things that people will always ask for help. Tell me your idea either in a sentence or 15 words or less, and then the general next thing is can you give us some, give a word count in 250 words or in 500 words. Tell us more about your idea. And then some may ask about your credibility. Others will then ask about, your favorite Ted talk. And then lastly, some of them will ask for a video, a one or two minute video of you talking about your TEDx idea.Jim James:
so it sounds as though, although you say it's a franchise, you know, McDonald's, wouldn't let its own local restaurants make their menus and their burgers. Quite their own ways. It sounds like TEDx does. So how do you prepare somebody then? Elaine? let's say they they've filled in the forms and they get an acknowledgement do they some stage later and then they had to prepare if they're chosen, how do they prepare for the.Elaine Powell:
Yeah. So, I mean, Ted is very good. They will give you all the ingredients. A curator needs to run their event. They give guidelines about how to pick speakers, how to work with the speakers. So they are good in that way. And they do keep an eye out because if you'll jure like McDonald's, if you start selling Curry, they're going to say, hold on. Your license is revoked, so that you know that there is a, there is a process to go through. so once you submit your application, because every event is different, say for, in, in, in England, we might have about 60 TEDx events that they're, following the guidelines, but they're all asking different questions when you apply some. We'll put it in their writing, but if you're successful, they'll get back to you. So you may never hear, and then you go, oh, well, some will come back to you and say, sorry, you haven't been successful this year. And then others will do either a long list. They may pick 30 of the best ideas and then go through a short list. Then they may get people in to interview. The thing is all 60 events will do it all differently. There's not one. They're not following all the same process. That makes it really hard.Jim James:
That does seem bit, a bit strange or make it easier to get into one rather than the other? And do you then need to apply to all 60, for example, because it sounds like you might get rejected from one, but you might get accepted by another, a bit like university clearing.Elaine Powell:
Yeah. You know, I would always suggest, if you're not on a program to help you sort of, you know, through this process apply to first of all your local one, because it is it's meant to be about community. It's meant to make a difference to people who are living in that area. So look at the ones that are nearest to you, location wide and yeah. Apply to two or three with the same idea, or maybe you have, you might apply with different ideas to different, TEDx events. I know friend, applied to two events and I think three events, two came back and said, yes, but it was on the same idea. So she had to go back to the second one, they say, oh, my first idea has been accepted, but I also have this other idea which they accepted.Jim James:
So you can be on two TEDx talks. It's not as though you can only do one TEDx and then you're done.Elaine Powell:
Yeah, you can do as many as you want. They just got to be all different ideas.Jim James:
Wow. How interesting. So what do you do then? Let's say I've got my idea, approved. And, then the work presumably has to start in terms of preparing, because you've got the red circle carpet, you've got 18 minutes, Elaine. How do you help people to prepare? Because it's quite a stressful moment to be on that.Elaine Powell:
It is, you know, there are some people who will do a lot of the heavy lifting even before they've been accepted. So, you know, people I work with they'll have their idea, they'll have their synopsis, they'll start writing their talk. So that helps them even be a lot clearer about their idea and what people can do afterwards. But when you've also been accepted by a TEDx event, Majority of them, but not always. They'll give you a speaker coach and that speaker coach will work with you for either three months or six months ahead of the event. Now, the thing you have to be aware of though, Jim, is that. Each TEDx event. Some people, it may be the first time they're doing it. And so they're very new. They don't, you know, they're just, they're in that learning curve. And therefore, sometimes they, they either don't have a speaker coach, or they have people coach who aren't that experienced in the world of speaking. and then you've got the bigger event. Who then have a speaker curation team who have a lot of experience in helping you shift and mold your idea.Jim James:
Well, and do you pay to present because if you're getting a coach, presumably there's a fee for that. How does that work?Elaine Powell:
Yeah. So everything about TEDx is voluntary. It's a, it's a nonprofit organization. So you do not get paid to speak on TEDx. You don't pay to speak on TEDx, but, all of that process is it is free. It's just. And time is the most precious commodity. we do say that you must really have to put in 50 to 60 hours to craft a TEDx. So don't just think you could just write it and mend it a few times and then that's It is a masterpiece. So give it that time and respect that it deserves. Now the reason people hire coaches like myself is that a lot of people who are thinking of it, business-wise they see it as a business investment that this is a. Piece of intellectual property. This is a product that once up there, so then you need to make sure it is the best product ever. It's going to sit on YouTube and opportunities are gonna come your way. you'll be able to leverage it for, you know, maybe it will help you with a book. Clients will come to you. So sometimes people will pay to make sure. It is the best possible because they see it as a business investment, but you do not need to do that in order to get on the TEDx stage. It just makes your chances a lot easier.Jim James:
I say, and then in your own experience, what are some of the sort of key. You feel like learnings that Mind speak academy you have to give to your, to your clients. be sort of like two or three aspects of the coaching that are recurring to you?Elaine Powell:
So, yeah, I'd say first and foremost, always mindset. Mindset is a big thing. People think, oh, can I do this is my idea. Good enough. And she want to have, you know, you want to sort of internally be confident that you are a thought leader. have something credible to say. I mean, I only work with people who. I've spoken to, and then I can see that there's, w I, I can help them win if I don't, if I don't see the, they can win with this idea, or then they're not that confident, then I I'll suggest they come back to me in a few years time. So mindset, first of all, you, and you've also really got to be in touch with your why.. Why you doing this? You know, whether it's, a passion, it's from the heart, because you want to make a huge difference. because you know, I am a business as well. I want to encourage to, you want to make a difference in the world, but how are you going to make this legacy level? Is there a strategy afterwards you can use to leverage this talk. That's going have you grow your business so you can employ more people and we can make, you know, one of my taglines is that I help people deliver presentations and TEDx talks so that we can advance the human race and transform the world, because it's ideas and the application of these ideas that transforms people and it transforms the world. So, you know, I feel like I'm up to a big game. And when I'm working with these people or anyone who wants to deliver a TEDx, talk your idea, you need to be really solid in why you're doing it so that when it gets tough, you won't get going.Jim James:
Right. Yeah. That's wonderful. Elaine. That's wonderful. Yeah. And you've given yourself a big mission there as well to help transform the planet. And many of those Ted talks of course, do include ideas that are transformative. Aren't they? How do you, as a business person yourself get noticed, have you done your own Ted talk? And is that how you got into this?Elaine Powell:
Remember in 2011 here in the UK, we have the UK riots. And it affected a lot of the big cities and I was doing public speaking workshops in schools. And I kept on hearing the young people say, oh, well, we weren't given a voice. That's why we had to express ourselves that way. And I thought, okay, I have a huge history of working with young offenders and young people in public speaking. Obviously I do public speaking TEDx, let me, let me run a TEDx event for them to give them a platform to share their voice. So that's what I did along with the Brit school. And I ran that for three years and then stepped away for a little while. the past couple of years, I've been a TEDx coach for one of the London events here. And now I help people along with public speaking, which is my, my area of expertise, to help people now get on the Ted stage or TEDx, should I some have aspirations for the Ted? Not that many because they never it's like.Jim James:
That's a big ambition,Elaine Powell:
I know.Jim James:
elaine Powell, if people want to find out more about you and the mind speak academy and maybe to get onto TEDx, if they've been living an idea for long enough where can they find you?Elaine Powell:
Yeah, so they can definitely go to MindSpeakAcademy.com and they can find me there. Or you can come on to clubhouse and you may actually hear me speak I'm in lots of the rooms around TEDx and public speaking, or just find me on Instagram, look, Google my name and you'll find me.Jim James:
Elaine Powell thank you so much for joining me on the unnoticed. I'd say you're working with my sister, Dr. Shelley, James, so full disclosure. That's how we met. And I'm happy that she's got your guidance. Thank you for helping her to share her ideas about lights. So thank you so much the show today.Elaine Powell:
Thank you for having me, Jim. Thank you.