7 things TEDx-organizing taught me so far

So … I have been part of the organizing team of 3 tedx-events in the Netherlands now:
- TEDxDelft 2013 held on October 4th,
- TEDxDelft 2015 in February of 2015 and
- TEDxDelftWomen event on May 29nd of this year.
Working on these events, I have learned so much about life and people in general. I have seen my own weaknesses and my strengths. I have seen how beautiful people can be. About the roles we play. How great audiences can be. How people can have different outlooks on things.

I have 7 recommendations for people who organize a TEDx:
1) Make sure you have nothing planned the day after
So you think you know what being tired is all about? You don’t ☺ Take the day off. You know you want to.
2) Shrug. A lot.
You might want to do everything your way but you cannot be everywhere. So, you have to let go and respect the way someone else handles things. Just shrug and smile.
3) Be clear.
Even though you might think some things go without saying … to others they might not. Be clear. Chrystal clear. There should be no room for vagueness. Make clear agreements. Speak your mind. Tell people what you expect of them. I’m convinced that clear communication can prevent almost all of the problems between people.
4) Ask
If something is not clear to you, don’t sit and complain … but ask for explanations. If you don’t know something or you doubt something: ask. Speak your mind. It’s better to ask a stupid question than to do something stupid because you acted upon assumption. (At least, that’s what I told myself after I asked a dancer if he needed a microphone ;-)
5) Smile
With all the stress, the crises, the debris and the long preparations it’s easy to loose your smile from to time. Keep seeing the silver lining, the funny things that happen, the silly things you might do. Joke.
6) Coach the speakers
Some of your speakers might be professional speakers who have spoken for large groups 10000 times. That’s nice and helpful. But they have not been to TEDx. Make sure you work with good, professional coaches to bring the best out of the speakers and the event. Also, having a make up artist and a stylist back stage is wonderful. Makes people feel confident. And, don’t forget the host!
7) Add these two powerful questions to your vocabulary:
- Can I help you?
Organizing a TEDx-event is not all about money and sponsoring. Sometimes it’s also about knowledge, PR, skills or just an extra pair of hands to serve dinner to guests. Just ask. It makes you seem nice and might be good for your “TEDx karma” And, if your help is not needed you can sit and relax knowing that there are no should haves.
- Can you help me?
Asking for help is one of the most difficult things in life. It makes you feel vulnerable because you show your incompetence. But: you’ll have to. You can’t do everything by yourself. And people won’t know you need help if you don’t ask.
You might find that people love to help. We’re wired to help others. And what if the other person says no? Well: nothing ventured nothing gained. And who knows, they might know someone else who can help out. You never can tell….

Do other organizers agree with me on this? Do you have recommendations to add? Please, tell!

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