Here's What You Need to Know Before Contacting Me to Give You TEDx Coaching
(Brace yourself, it's tough love time):
As the former co-organizer of TEDxAtlanta and a speaker coach, I've worked extensively on both speaker curation and coaching the speakers towards the stage for their Talk. There are many misconceptions about what it takes to get on stage, so before you decide to work with me, here are a few things you should know.
1. I cannot and will NOT make any guarantees about your success of getting selected to give a Talk. Every TEDx organization has their own selection process and their objectives for what speakers they are going to put on stage. Additionally, TED lays out fairly strict guidelines for what kind of speakers we should be looking for. TED and TEDx Talks are not for motivational speeches, political stump speeches, promotion of books or the like.
2. It's all about the IDEA. If you come to me and say "I want to give a TEDx Talk to further my career," I will refuse to work with you. Skilled curators can spot a self-serving opportunist from a mile away, and we won't put them on stage because it doesn't add value to the audience. We're specifically looking for people doing world-changing work in their communities that could use the TEDx platform to help bring positive change into the world.
3. Your credentials matter. You could have the most brilliant idea in the world, but if you haven't been doing the work to foster to the idea, then you're the wrong person to deliver the Talk. We're looking for the people who have been in the field, doing the research and working with their communities to give life to their idea.
4. I'm tough, honest, and not afraid to give you real feedback. If your idea isn't great, I'll tell you. Which means if you're currently emotionally attached to your idea, and you hire me, then you'll need to do some important inner work to make sure your ego isn't interfering with your learning and growing.
5. Working with me will NOT give you a boost in getting on the TEDxAtlanta stage. In fact, once you officially submit your application, I will recuse myself from your selection process to make sure it's fair and unbiased. That said, I will give you the coaching you need to make sure you're submitting the best possible application.
6. If I don't think you have the idea or the credentials, I won't work with you. This is actually a good thing; I'm not here to string you along for your money. I am interested in finding the diamonds in the rough who might be overlooked or never found because they didn't know how to present their ideas well. I'm looking for the people whose presence on stage will have a positive impact beyond just the Talk.