SUMMARY: We always get asked “How do you select the speakers?”. In this post, our Co-Chair Daniella Lopez talks about how the process has evolved.
After receiving over 100s of applications, we decided to mix up our speaker process to an Open Mic audition. It’s still a mix of process and intuition. This time we’re able to hear more ideas in a shorter amount of time, relieving a lot of pressure from our Curation committee and speeding up the whole process.
Fundamentally, we are looking for ideas from our speakers that can showcase women in Hong Kong who are leading scientific breakthroughs and social movements, who can inspire the audience to think in new ways, and who will challenge and educate us through their talk. TEDx gives us an opportunity to showcase our ideas to the world and from the first year we have made it our responsibility to make sure that our program reflects diversity in the line up, both in terms of ideas as well as representation of Hong Kong communities. We look for credible speakers who need a platform and have an inspiring story to share.
For our TEDxTinHauWomen events we source speakers in three ways…
- Nominations: we have a large and well connected committee of women with networks throughout HK – business, society, charity, education, parent groups, etc – we ask them to identify who should apply.
- We have an Open Mic audition process: we advertise to encourage people to apply to be a speaker. The first year of TEDxTinHauWomen we received around 18 applications. In the second year, we received nearly 60.
- We actively seek people who fit a certain profile: sometimes when planning our program we can’t find the right person fit to fill a space in the program, so we deliberately go out to find someone that meets some specific criteria.
During the Open Mic process we invite potential speakers to share their idea in a 3-minute slot where a small representation of the committee partake in voting based on three main factors:
- Link to current theme: this year’s theme is What Now?
- Relevance of the topic to HK and Global Women: to ensure our talks are locally grounded, with international relevance
- Wow factor: this is quite subjective and gives the Curation Committee a chance to debate the ‘wow’ factors of each idea. Credibility of the speaker also plays a role. We ask ourselves – is it a trending topic (vs overdone and passes), is it groundbreaking, does it bring a new perspective?
Throughout this assessment process we also keep an eye and close liaison with TEDGlobal so all talks keep to the TED Content Guidelines:
- No selling from the stage
- No political agendas
- No religious proselytizing (including new age beliefs)
- Only good science
Speaking at TEDx is more than a simple talk – it’s people from our community sharing a big idea and it’s a big time commitment from the speakers, including professional coaching to make sure the talk is a success. We advise all potential speakers to consider the time commitment.
To hear 2018 talks, click here: https://tedxtinhauwomen.com/watch/
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Originally written in 2018 by Stefanie Myers, former Co-Chair and Head of Curation and Community.
Updated in July 2019 by Co-Chair and Head of Marketing and Communications, Daniella Lopez, on behalf of TEDxTinHauWomen