Become a Speaker

Do you have a TEDx talk in you?

We like to think that everyone has a TEDx talk in them, at some point in their lives. If you know someone who's at that point, we'd like to hear about them and consider them for our stage.

The process is simple: Start by filling out this nomination form (yes... you can nominate yourself)

From there, we review submissions and make contact. We can't interview everyone, but if we're interested in the talk concept you're proposing, we start with scheduling a short conversation with one of our curators, and we match speakers to our event themes.

We also have a limited number of speaker placements each year, and our curators work hard to select talks that best fit our theme and maximize the impact of the ideas being shared with our in-person and online participants. Although your proposal may have merit, it's not possible for us to feature every talk that is nominated for our stage. The decisions of our curatorial team are final.

Because we're an entirely volunteer team, please note that we may not be able to contact you for several weeks (or even longer, at peak periods) after your nomination is submitted.



Can I suggest someone I don't know personally? You ask for their email address, but 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 TEDxCalgary.

Can I suggest someone I work for, or a client of mine?

Yes. It's their ideas that matter!

Can I suggest myself as a speaker?

Yes. Again, we want to hear about ideas that you think are worth spreading, including your own!

What is the submission deadline for speaker nominations?

There isn't a deadline. We accept speaker nominations throughout the year, and review them continually as part of scouting for great ideas. Our decision to contact a potential speaker is based on their perceived fit with a particular event theme (which may be in the future), rather than a given event timeline.

What do you pay speakers?

TEDxCalgary does not pay speakers. This is a matter of TEDx policy, and the same applies to speakers at TED. Where we select a speaker who must travel from outside of Calgary, we do pay for flights, hotels, and reasonable meal expenses.

What is your application process?

We don't use a formal application process, but recognize that some other TEDx organizing teams may have chosen to do so. Instead, we use our nominations form to identify potential speakers of interest, and then initiate a direct conversation if we're interested to explore the idea and potential speaker in question.

Do my chances of being a speaker increase if I have taken a speaker coaching program?

No! We and other TEDx organizers are fully aware that there are a number of commercial programs that promise to increase your chances of being a speaker by going through their paid program. Be wary of these programs! Even if offered by a past speaker who claims to have insider knowledge, know that each TEDx organizing team is unique in its approach to curating its local TEDx stage and that there is no "one size fits all" approach. Some programs are offered by professional speaker coaches who charge signifcant amounts for speaker coaching that most TEDx teams actually provide for free.

We don't stand in the way of your choice as a consumer, but programs which require you to produce a paid video for your application, or charge you a significant amount to help you make applications to TEDx organizers, are usually in the category of snake oil salesmen. TEDxCalgary does not use video interviews, and most of the more long-standing TEDx organizers also don't rely on this type of application in their speaker curation process.

As well, paying someone to flood TEDx organizers with applications or nominations is usually a good way to get noticed in the entirely WRONG way, as it feels like commercial spamming to us at TEDxCalgary and many other organizer teams that we know. If you've recently published a book or are on the speaker circuit about your story, that's great and please accept our genuine congratulations — but TEDxCalgary (and TEDx in general) is not just another notch on your publicity tour or marketing campaign.

Getting good outside advice on how to speak well is never wasted, but doing so does NOT increase your chances of being on the TEDxCalgary stage.

If you want to focus anywhere, spend time on honing your idea for its own sake. If you have a good idea, and are doing great things to improve it through your profession or community, you'll more than likely come to our attention through the genuine nature of your work. Authenticity in your idea is what we're looking for at TEDxCalgary, not the polish of your delivery (we'll help you with that as part of our coaching process).

What types of talks are NOT accepted?

Our curation team has an open mind, and we consider all types of talks.

That said, talks that are inherently commercial in nature (including based on personal coaching services, counselling, or products) are not considered, nor are talks that are based on a single religious faith, inherently divisive social viewpoints and opinions, or pseudo-scientific principles. It is a cardinal rule of TEDx talks that they should be evidence-based, which means that such evidence should be accessible to others (including our curator team) and not based on New Age frameworks, personal visions or conspiracy theories that can't be tested. Such concepts might some day be proven, but we're comfortable taking the stance that we won't promote them from our stage in the interim.

Only in rare circumstances do we invite people to speak about a very personal experience or a personal philosophy. We don't discount that the experience in question profoundly impacted you, or that it might resonate with others, but there are different (and better) forums for sharing those types of talks. Here are some examples from TEDx and other organizers of ideas that we would likely NOT consider:

  • How I learned to speak my truth and be my authentic self.
  • How to conquer your fears and achieve your dreams.
  • Find your passion through unleashing your creativity.
  • I had a rare experience and it taught me to face my fear.
  • Find happiness using the L.U.V. method: Light, Universe, Vulnerability.
  • I traveled to India and it changed my perspective on the stock market, even though I’m not a banker.