Most people are probably aware of what a TED talk is by now. Although they are commonly known for being slightly cringy motivational speeches, all the talks must fit under one of the subsections of either Technology, Entertainment or Design (hence where the acronym TED comes from) and should have an aim of spreading ideas. Harnessing the power of words to spark change, this non-profit organisation has reached phenomenal heights beyond just an annual conference in California with its sister branch TEDx.
TEDx is essentially a mini version of TED. It has the exact same goals, rules and principles, but on a smaller scale. One of the best things about TEDx is that it can be hyperlocalised. Smaller cities and towns are able to celebrate the achievements of local members of their communities on larger scales by utilising the reach of the TED platform. A lot of universities join the TEDx program – such as TEDxUniversityOfBirmingham or TEDxStanford – and put on their own independently organised events that feature talks from distinguished speakers around their area. This is how I joined the TEDx team, as a university student. But I would highly recommend that anyone and everyone becomes a member if possible for a number of reasons.
Pick your passions
Firstly, being a TEDx member means you have the ability to push forward an agenda. Collectively, you and the rest of your team get to decide your own theme that all of the talks for the event must centre around. This means that you can really cater things to what you are passionate about. Themes can be as broad or as specific as you like. I have seen everything done from ‘The Big Questions’ to ‘Indigenous Peoples’.
As well as having freedom of choice with the theme, you also get a say with speakers, too. Whether you want to highlight the work of already successful people, or those on the rise, as a TEDx team member you can decide what stories should be told. Although one thing I would suggest is ensuring you opt for a diverse panel that is reflective of an entire society, rather than just a singular viewpoint.
Joining TEDx presents a great way to enhance the skills you already have. Obviously, you never want to solely approach an opportunity from the angle of enhancing your CV. It just so happens to be an added bonus! There are different sections within the wider TEDx team that you can join dependent on where you best fit. For example, if you are interested in social media, then perhaps you could join the Marketing group. If you are more into liaising with speakers, then Curation is the place for you. Whichever mini team you end up on, you will have to learn how to work collaboratively in order to produce a unified result. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing everyone’s individual work pay off collectively.
It is important to remember that this work you are doing does have an immense impact. Although TEDx focuses on smaller places, its position in the grand scheme of things means that it provides the building blocks for TED. The various connections between TEDx programs across the world creates a global exchange that spreads ideas further than any singular TED conference could. Therefore, as a TEDx member, you are making a difference on an almost universal scale, which is an incredible thing to behold.
For all of the above reasons, and many more, I cannot help but recommend that you join your nearest TEDx team. Not only will you learn new things and help build a better world. You will also gain a new group of friends by working with like-minded people. So, what are you waiting for? Get involved with the TEDx program in any way you can as soon as possible.
Read next: The best TED talks to motivate students