Apr 13, 2021
There’s no doubt you know the impact a TEDx booking can have on your brand, your business, your revenue, your life and legacy, and much more. But, it can be a daunting aspiration, especially if you’re dealing with imposter syndrome. Our guest on She Sells Radio this week is Dr. Elena Pawęta, a coach and TEDx organizer who works with women. She’s here to tell us everything we need to know to get booked at a TEDx speaker. You won’t want to miss this one!
Dr. Elena Pawęta found her passion as a communication coach, working with people to improve their presentations, impactful speaking, and confidence. Education is at the core of that, and Dr. Elena Pawęta worked as an Assistant Professor at a university prior to becoming a coach. She noticed that there was no TEDx event in her city, and so she applied for a license to host events, which grew over time, now hitting big stages and theaters in her area. With her experience, she now helps others land there.
Elena herself struggled with imposter syndrome, having thoughts on inadequacy and “why me”. In fact, when she applied to work with TEDx and was granted a license, she felt like it would be an impossible task, as she has never done something like this. Then, she remembered that she posted the TEDx logo, asking who would like to join her, and the response was huge. In the end, she had a team of experts working behind her. She wasn’t alone and the people she leads believed in her. The key is having faith that you’ll be supported when you take the first step.
Elena’s first tip is this: if you decide to do a talk, do it well. Work with a coach and take your time to prepare this speech. Apply for good, relevant events, because this video will stay visible forever. Identifying a ‘good’ event depends on what your goal is. If your goal is to spread your idea in a local community, then a smaller event is perfect. There are more experienced and less experienced events. Usually, events with the city name have more years of experience. Production quality is set apart in bigger stages. Go to the event’s YouTube channel to look at the quality of production and speakers. Make sure you’ll be supported as a speaker and choose one that is good for you.
As an organizer, Elena has certain things she looks for in speakers she selects. First and foremost, they aren’t actually looking for speakers--they’re looking for ideas. They are considering what would fit their local audiences. In 2021, what would resonate with a specific group of individuals in the community. From there, they list those ideas and search for good fits. Many people have the misconception that these presentations are meant to be inspirational and share stories that inspire, but that just isn’t the case. Just because someone is a professional speaker, it doesn’t mean they’ll get on stage. To navigate that, Elena suggests crafting your pitch in a completely different way. Instead of trying to push your credibility as a speaker, demonstrate your ideas and why it’s relevant. Is it new? Is it innovative? Is it appropriate for the audience right now? Consider if you’ve shared this idea before.
Elena shares a story of someone who wasn’t accepted to a TEDx event. She approached them and asked what their idea was, which was met with “I can speak about anything. What’s the topic of your event.” This person was confident and wanted to speak at any cost. She was not asked to be on stage. This isn’t about promotion or marketing--that’s not what these events are for.
On the other hand, there was a woman who was invited to speak on stage at only 18 years old. She came up with an idea during the pandemic, selling cosmetics online--but not really cosmetics. When someone made a purchase, they were truly reporting a case of domestic violence in secret and safely. She wasn’t a speaker, didn’t have a professional CV, but her idea was fresh, new, and relevant for the audience of the time.
Finally, the first step to getting booked for a TEDx event is getting clear on the idea you have. Very often, people who want to get on stage don’t have a good fit. It can be based on your story, your experiences, or other sources, but make sure it’s innovative. It isn’t a motivational speech, it’s an informative, new, relevant idea. Then, look for events in your area on ted.com.
TEDx booking can skyrocket your career, but it can be intimidating to start the process and secure a spot on a stage. For many of us, it just seems REALLY hard, but not impossible. Take the leap and share your ideas.