Do you have an idea worth spreading?
Please read through all the materials below before making your final submission.
TEDxSanAntonio is a community of thinkers, explorers, makers, doers, performers, and artists who believe passionately in the power of ideas as a catalyst for positive change in San Antonio and around the world. In the spirit of TED’s mission, we aim to gather people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world.
Our goal is to produce events that feature stimulating performances, discussions, entertainment, and art that spark new ideas and foster real dialogue on issues that matter to our community.
We are currently only seeking ideas for our 2024 Compassion, Caring and Community salon. There are several idea iterations of compassion, but not limited to:
- understanding and respecting of others backgrounds, cultures and perspectives
- social responsibility for individuals and community
- collective trauma and collective healing
- emotional intelligence
Submission deadline is February 11, 2024.
Speaking at TEDxSanAntonio
Much like TED, TEDxSanAntonio isn’t a typical conference. The TEDxSanAntonio audience has high expectations of the speakers. Presenting speakers need to have credibility in the space and be actively working on the idea. We feature speakers from the city of San Antonio and around the world who want to spread their unique ideas through TEDxSanAntonio.
TEDxSanAntonio speakers are chosen through a highly curated process by a select team that takes into consideration ideas, speaker styles, and the flow of the day. We measure applications by the power of the idea and whether the TEDxSanAntonio platform can help propel the idea forward.
We want you to have a great experience when submitting your idea worth spreading. Below, you’ll find everything you need to help craft a compelling submission.
Suggest a Speaker
If you know someone who belongs on our roster, or if you belong there yourself, we want to hear from you! Please use our speaker nomination form, and tell us why this person would be well matched to the TEDxSanAntonio stage.
Click here to nominate a speaker.
What ideas are we looking for?
- Something that’s new and surprising—an idea or invention that our audience has never heard about.
- Ideas that need to be defended—not something self-evident, but an interesting argument, perhaps with an antagonist.
- A great basic idea (that our audience has maybe already heard) with a compelling new argument behind it that challenges beliefs and perspectives (e.g., a scientific discovery that changes how we think about frogs, a philosophical argument that reshapes our notions of friendship, etc.).
In other words, an idea isn’t just a story or a list of facts. A good idea takes certain evidence or observations and draws a larger conclusion. Watch Chris Anderson’s video to better understand how we think about ideas.
We also seek artistic and musical performances as an integral part of our events. Previous performers have included: spoken word poets, singers and musicians, modern dancers, and comedians.
Tips on Submitting a Standout Application
Create a draft document.
- Give your idea in a clear and compelling way. Don’t tease us. Make sure anyone who reads your submission could easily repeat the central idea in a sentence or two.
- While you are an expert on this subject, submission readers and the TEDxSanAntonio audience probably won’t be. Write to make your idea accessible to the audience and to us. Make the complex plain. Don’t speak in abstractions. Be specific. Give examples. Tell stories and use emotion to help us connect with your idea.
- Keep in mind the TEDxSanAntonio audience is a broad cross-section of the public – everyone from students to world leaders. They all have one thing in common: the desire to expand their minds with new ideas. Help the audience have a great experience by making your idea relevant to them. Help them understand why your idea matters in their lives.
- Please don’t mention any product or company names – not even non-profits. Promotion is not allowed as part of a TEDx Talk.
Include these points in the submission form.
- Tell us why this idea needs to be heard by this audience, at this moment.
- Let us know why you want to deliver this talk. What is it in your background or experience that makes you the best choice to share this idea?
- Remember that you’re one of many submitting talks, so we may receive similar ideas from other applicants. The best way to distinguish your submission is to make the idea clear.
Be aware of the general rules.
- You don’t have to be a professional speaker to be selected. Our curatorial team will work with you to make your talk come alive.
- Watch lots and lots of TED and TEDx videos but, more importantly, before you write your draft read lots of talks. Every TED Talk has a transcription below it. Consider reading it before watching the talk.
- We discourage talks that could be categorized as self-help or motivational.
- We welcome submissions from diverse communities, so please encourage friends and colleagues to apply.
- TEDxSanAntonio does not accept submissions from third parties. (Please, no publicists, or public relations specialists.) Speakers must submit directly.
What will you need to include in your Application?
Here is everything you will need to have prepared to submit your application:
- Your 90 second informal pitch video.
- 200 words or less Idea Statement.
- 2-3 links to relevant articles, papers, videos, etc which will help establish your credibility in this field.
- 2-3 links to information that will help the committee better understand your talk idea.
Submit Your Application or Nomination
Notifications regarding application submissions will be made during the week of February 18, 2024, unless otherwise noted. Though we consider each application carefully, please note that fewer than 20 percent of applicants are selected for any given event.
- For official TEDx speaker guidelines, please see here.
- For more on the types of talks that make a TEDx Talk, please see here.
- For more on TED, please see TED.com
These 10 tips will help you plan and deliver a great TEDTalk.
- Dream big. Strive to create the best talk you have ever given. Reveal something never seen before. Do something the audience will remember forever. Share an idea that could change the world.
- Show us the real you. Share your passions, your dreams … and also your fears. Be vulnerable. Speak of failure as well as success.
- Make the complex plain. Don’t try to dazzle intellectually. Don’t speak in abstractions. Explain! Give examples. Tell stories. Be specific.
- Connect with people’s emotions. Make us laugh! Make us cry!
- Don’t flaunt your ego. Don’t boast. It’s the surest way to switch everyone off.
- No selling from the stage! Unless we have specifically asked you to, do not talk about your company or organization. And don’t even think about pitching your products or services or asking for funding.
- Feel free to comment on other speakers — to praise or to criticize. Controversy energizes! Enthusiastic endorsement is powerful too.
- If possible, don’t read your talk. Notes are fine. But if the choice is between reading or rambling, then read.
- You must end your talk on time. Doing otherwise is to steal time from the people that follow you, and could disqualify your talk from appearing on TEDxTalks YouTube channel. We won’t allow it.
- Rehearse your talk in front of a trusted friend … for timing, for clarity, for impact.
Want to know more about what it means to be a TEDxSanAntonio speaker and why you should consider giving a talk?
Be sure to read the TEDx Speaker Guide document from the “big” TED organization about speaking at a TEDx event.
What makes a TEDxTalk different from any other kind of talk?
A TEDx Talk is intended to refresh the perspective of the audience. The best talks will engage, challenge, and transform the thinking of audience members through powerful storytelling. Rather than coming across as a lecture or pitch, a good TEDx Talk will feel more like a conversation.
How important is the theme?
Our 2024 event theme, COMPASSION, is open to multiple interpretations, and you’re welcome to provide your own, but here are some that resonated the most with us.
Understanding and respecting of others backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives
- Social responsibility for individuals and communities
- Collective trauma and collective healing
- Emotional intelligence
How do I suggest a speaker?
Use our speaker nomination form and fill in as much information as you can. This form goes directly to our speaker selection team.
Can I suggest someone I don’t know personally? You ask for their email address, and I don’t know it.
Please do! Just let us know how you’ve heard about this person, and why you think they should speak at TED.
Can I suggest someone I work for, or a client of mine?
You are welcome to nominate someone you work for or a client. However, they will be required to submit a 200-word summary of their “big idea” as well as a 90s video pitch.
Can I nominate myself as a speaker?
Can I speak at TEDxSanAntonio by becoming a sponsor?
No. Sponsoring TEDxSanAntonio has many benefits, but TED rules stipulate guaranteed speaking slots cannot be one of them. Nor do sponsors garner oversight of the speaker lineup.
Will it help if I submit multiple nominations, or have my friends nominate me several times?
No. It really only takes one suggestion. However, the selection committee may reach out with feedback and request that you resubmit.
Is there a deadline for suggesting a speaker?
Yes. The deadline to submit a nomination is February 11, 2024. It’s best to get your suggestions to us as early as possible, so we can research them carefully and make the best decision on the speaker roster.
When will I find out about my submission?
You will be notified by mid-February/March if the team wishes to pursue your proposal. You may be contacted before then to clarify or expand on your idea. Please be patient and wait to be contacted.
What is the selection process? How do you choose?
Our Programming Committee reviews the submissions received online in addition to developing speakers who we have recruited from the community. Throughout the consideration process, we may ask potential speakers to expand on their initial proposal or resubmit an application that clarifies their talk before making any final decisions. Our goal is to create a lineup of speakers spanning a wide range of disciplines to bring relevant topics to our audience.
How many speakers are selected?
In 2024, we will have 6-8 speakers.
Do I need to include slides?
We do not need to see slides with your initial talk submission.
Will I get coaching?
Absolutely! In fact, it’s a requirement at TEDxSanAntonio. You will be matched with a curator to develop the content of your talk and support one-on-one practice prior to the event.
What is the time commitment?
Prior to accepting a spot in the lineup, we ask that speakers agree to 50+ hours of coaching and content development for their talk. This time is comprised of working through multiple drafts of their talk throughout the two months prior to the event; attending several in-person rehearsals in the fall, and attending a few social events prior to the main event.
Speakers are required to attend the full day of rehearsal, speaker reception, entire speaking event and after-party, soaking up the talks and connecting with other attendees.
Do you accept speakers who do not live in San Antonio?
First preference is given to speakers from the San Antonio area and Central Texas. On the occasions when we do choose speakers from outside the region, the key is for the speaker to talk about ideas relevant to our local audience.
I want to speak at TEDxSanAntonio, but my usual talk runs 50 minutes. Can I get a longer slot?
TEDx Talks are a showcase for speakers presenting well-formed ideas in under 18
Minutes. The time limit is part of what makes TEDx Talks work. And remember: Shorter talks are not lesser talks. It may only take 5 minutes to make your point unforgettable.
We strictly enforce the clock for all speakers. Talk lengths are assigned to those selected upon acceptance. TEDxSanAntonio is the place to condense your ideas into a short, compelling talk that communicates your best ideas.
Do you have keynotes or panels?
At TEDxSanAntonio, everyone hears every presentation. There are no breakout sessions or tracks, no keynotes, and very rarely are there panels (though we have had debates).
Is there a teleprompter?
A teleprompter enables a speaker to read their talk, which does not provide the best audience experience. We work closely with our speakers so they are comfortable delivering the talk without a teleprompter.
What do you pay speakers?
As per TED rules, TEDxSanAntonio does not pay speakers. We do, of course, cover travel costs and provide excellent hotel accommodation for selected speakers who do not live in San Antonio—as well as a covetable pass to the event for the speaker and one guest. Other benefits include pre-conference coaching and training and attendance to special events for networking. We are committed to creating an experience that’s tremendously fulfilling and beneficial on all sides.
An additional benefit of speaking at TEDxSanAntonio is that your presentation may become a TED Talk, part of our beautifully produced, broadcast-quality video series. Not all talks given on the TEDxSanAntonio stage will automatically become online TED Talks, but we hope most do.