Five strategies for landing a TEDx talk or similar speaking engagement

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Liana Zavo is a global keynote speaker, PR executive, personal branding expert and founder of ZavoMedia PR Group, a global PR agency.

As business leaders and entrepreneurs strive to spark inspiration and initiate change to make the world a better place, we often want to talk to others and amplify our groundbreaking ideas to make an impact.

Events like TEDx Talks can be great places for aspiring speakers to share their innovative ideas and take their careers to the next level. But being on a podium and having the honor of speaking in front of thousands is daunting for many aspirants. I was one of many determined speakers who sought this opportunity and realized it required tedious preparation, brainstorming, sharpening public speaking skills and more.

However, these challenges did not stop me from achieving this transformative experience. After getting over that stage, I became wiser and more confident, which in turn helped influence the people I work with as a PR strategist.

Let’s discuss five different strategies I recommend to increase your chances of getting a speaking engagement.

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1. Develop a new and unique idea.

To secure a spot on a prestigious and sought-after platform, you must brew an innovative idea that has the potential to impact and change the world. Event organizers are constantly looking for fresh and unique ideas that the mainstream media has not yet explored.

When I help clients brainstorm new and unique ideas suitable for events, I often ask them the following questions: What sets your idea apart? Can your idea help solve a critical problem in today’s society?

Researching similar genres and analyzing the current market can provide clarity and spark more ideas.

2. Create a persuasive pitch.

The next step is to craft a pitch worthy of attention and discussion. It should be a carefully designed composition that convincingly outlines your idea. Make sure you stay relevant and current, as TEDx and other events typically have time limits and may impose strict guidelines.

I often remind my clients to keep their pitch short and sweet, but creative and exciting. Cut to the chase. Don’t use jargon and technical terms that your audience might not understand. Make it easy for them to understand what you offer.

Take the time to research your target audience before making your pitch. Understanding your audience will help you tailor your pitch to their specific needs and make it more engaging. Your pitch should focus on the benefits of your product or service, not just its features. Emphasize how your solution can help solve the problem your audience is facing and how it can make their lives easier.

Also use storytelling techniques to make your pitch more engaging and memorable. I’ve noticed that people remember stories better than facts and figures. Share real-life examples and anecdotes that demonstrate the value of your product, service or idea.

Finally, think outside the box and come up with creative ways to present your pitch. In particular, consider using visual aids such as images, videos, and infographics to make your pitch more visually appealing and engaging.

3. Build your credibility as a speaker.

Your opportunities and network can grow when you continually participate in speaking engagements in your community. These opportunities can sharpen your speaking skills and boost your image as an established speaker.

In addition to community events and conferences, I also encourage my clients to join speaking groups like Toastmasters and online speaking platforms like podcasts and SpeakerHub for more opportunities to improve their skills and gain more visibility.

4. Choose the right stage.

Many events have themes to set the tone. The location, support team, production quality and other information should not be overlooked as these details help you strategize better.

Before deciding on a TEDx Talk with my client, we explore and review upcoming events in other regions to learn specific details, requirements, and restrictions. Preparation is essential, especially for public speaking.

If the purpose of the event isn’t clear or doesn’t align with your interests, it might not be a good fit. If the attendee profile isn’t a good match, you may not be getting the most out of the event. Check out the events calendar to see if the topics and speakers match your interests. If the agenda is unconvincing or doesn’t match your interests, it may not be worth attending.

Also pay attention to the location. How far do you have to travel and is it convenient for you to be there? If the location is too far or difficult to get to, it may not be worth it. My final piece of advice here is to look at the cost and determine the cost of attending the event and if it fits your budget.

5. Network.

Knowing the right people can make all the difference. Don’t hesitate to reach out to previous speakers or organizers and ask for their input and advice on how to effectively pitch your ideas.

I often encourage my clients to attend other TEDx events where they can get leads from other speakers and organizers to meet like-minded people and build relationships that can potentially introduce them to key people.

Landing a speaking engagement requires careful planning and thorough preparation. Remember, this is not only an opportunity to showcase your ideas to the public, but also to inspire and challenge people to think and act differently in relation to the world around them.


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