Speakers Info
All information for our speakers on one page. For any additional questions or concerns, please mail: speakers@tedxzuriberg.com
Key dates and tasks leading up to our event.
Saturday, April 7
  • Read our TEDxZuriberg Speaker Info on this page and ask us any questions you may have.
  • Complete or updated biography and a high resolution headshot.
  • Deadline for the first draft of the Talk. (Unless you've already submitted it as your abstract.) Sooner is better.
  • Our team will be there to support you in any way to help you prepare. We are available for feedback and support at speakers@tedxzuriberg.com.
Tuesday, April 24 -
Thursday, May 31
  • First rehearsal either online or offline.
  • You will be contacted by a member of our speakers team to schedule the rehearsal well in advance.
  • Upon request/need: Further coaching sessions with TEDxZüriberg Team.
  • If you are using slides, please present them during the rehearsal.
Monday, June 25
  • Strict deadline for final presentations
  • Send final presentation materials and slides to the tech team.
  • No more changes to the final presentation.
  • Relax
Monday, July 2
  • Stage, Audio and Video rehearsal at the Rigiblick Theatre.
  • The speakers run-through will be scheduled after lunch, starting around 13:30.
  • Opportunity to meet the other speakers and our team.
Tuesday, July 3
  • TEDxZüriberg 2018 (10:00 – 17:00)
  • Speakers dinner

Getting ready for your TEDxZuriberg Talk
The TEDx team at TED put together a general TEDx Speaker Guide PDF. On this page we've adapted it for TEDxZuriberg and added specific information for you.
Get familiar with the format
The TEDx Talk format
TEDx Talks are a showcase for speakers presenting well-formed ideas in under 18 minutes.
For inspiration, here are some talks on Design, Education and Technology. What is your favorite TEDTalk?
Why 18 minutes?
Because it works. An audience is good at focusing on one subject at a time in relatively short chunks.
You and the speakers team of TEDxZuriberg will determine the optimal length of your talk. Sometimes a topic needs the full 18 minutes for a proper delivery. Shorter is more effective in other cases.
But, really, can I go over 18 minutes?
No -- it wouldn't be a TEDx Talk. The time limit is part of what makes TEDx Talks work. And remember: Shorter talks are not lesser talks. It may only take 6 minutes to make your point unforgettably. Like this one: 1000 TEDTalks in six words
You and the speakers team of TEDxZuriberg will determine the optimal length of your talk.
Develop the idea
What makes a good idea for a talk?
Like a good magazine article, your idea can be new or surprising, or challenge a belief your audience already has. Or it can be a great basic idea with a compelling new argument behind it.
An idea isn't just a story or a list of facts. A good idea takes evidence or observations and draws a larger conclusion.
Do I need to be an expert on my topic?
You do not need to be the world's foremost expert on the topic, but you do have to be an expert. Please remember that the audience relies on you to give accurate information, so whatever you say in your talk, please fact-check — especially facts you may take for granted: statistics, historical anecdotes, scientific stats. If you're drawing an example from a discipline that is not your main area of knowledge, use research from widely accepted and peer-reviewed sources, and, if at all possible, consult with experts directly.
Is my idea ready?
Write your idea down in one or two sentences. Ask yourself three questions:

  1. Is my idea new?
    Are you telling people something you're pretty sure they have not heard before?
  2. Is it interesting?
    Think about how your idea might apply to a room full of varied kinds of people. Who might be interested in it?
  3. Is it factual and realistic?
    If you are presenting new research, make sure your idea is backed by data and peer- reviewed. If you are presenting a call to action, make sure it can be executed by members of your audience.

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, refine your idea. Ask someone you respect who doesn't work in your field, and if they answer "no" to any of these questions, refine your idea. If your TEDx event organizing team answers "no" to any of these questions, refine your idea.
Make an outline and script
What is the best structure for a talk?
There are many theories on the best structure for a great presentation. (Nancy Duarte presents one here.) There is no one way to give a TED Talk, and there is no single way to structure a successful TED Talk. One of our challenges as speaker team is to help you find a structure that best conveys your idea, while still feeling authentic to who you are.

You might also be interested in reading TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson, curator of TED.

There's no single trick to it, but here is at least one structure that we've found to work particularly well:
  1. Start by making your audience care, using a relatable example or an intriguing idea.
  2. Explain your idea clearly and with conviction.
  3. Describe your evidence and how and why your idea could be implemented.
  4. End by addressing how your idea could affect your audience if they were to accept it.
Whatever structure you decide on, remember:
  1. The primary goal of your talk is to communicate an idea effectively, not to tell a story or to evoke emotions. These are tools, not an end in themselves.
  2. Your structure should be invisible to the audience. In other words, don't talk about how you're going to talk about your topic – just talk about it!

Structure Ingredients
A strong introduction is crucial.
  • Draw in your audience members with something they care about.
    • If it's a topic the general TED audience thinks about a lot, start with a clear statement of what the idea is.
    • If it's a field they never think about, start off by invoking something they do think about a lot and relate that concept to your idea.
    • If the idea is something fun, but not something the audience would ever think about, open with a surprising and cool fact, or a declaration of relevance (not a statistic!).
    • If it's a heavy topic, find an understated and frank way to get off the ground; don't force people to feel emotional.
  • Get your idea out as quickly as possible.
  • Don't focus too much on yourself.
  • Don't open with a string of stats.
  • Never start with "Today I'd like to talk about" or any variations on this theme.
In presenting your topic and evidence:

  • Make a list of all the evidence you want to use: Think about items that your audience already knows about and the things you'll need to convince them of.
    • The following is an absolutely essential step in preparing a great TEDx Talk. Order all of the items in your list based on what a person needs to know before they can understand the next point, and from least to most exciting. Now cut out everything you possibly can without losing the integrity of your argument. You will most likely need to cut things that you think are important. Remember many things that are appropriate for keynote addresses or general public speaking can be the enemy of a great TEDx Talk.
    • We, the TEDxZuriberg speaker team and speaker coaches, will help you cut the things that are standing in the way of making your good TEDx Talk great.
  • Spend more time on new information: If your audience needs to be reminded of old or common information, be brief.
  • Use empirical evidence, and limit anecdotal evidence.
  • Don't use too much jargon, or where it must be used, explain new terminology.
  • Don't ever sell from the stage. You cannot, under any circumstances pitch your products or services or asking for funding from the stage. If your talk appears to include aspects that sell from the stage we will not submit your video for approval on the TEDx platform, and your talk will not be available online.
  • (Respectfully) address any controversies in your claims, including legitimate counterarguments, reasons you might be wrong or doubts your audience might have about your idea. Failing to acknowledge and address a controversial issue or counterpoint can lead to your talk being dismissed by people who might significantly benefit from embracing your idea, simply because you didn't acknowledge that issue. It does not need to be lengthy, but it does need to be included.
  • In accordance with TEDx Rules, all facts need to have evidence to support them. But don't let citations interrupt the flow of your explanation: Save them for after you've made your point, or place them in the fine print of your slides.
  • Slides: Note anything in your outline that is best expressed visually and plan accordingly, in your script. We find with slides that less is always more (refer once more to Nancy Duarte). Given enough notice, we can help you with your slides. See more on slides below.
  • Find a landing point in your conclusion that will leave your audience feeling positive toward you and your idea's chances for success.
  • Don't use your conclusion to simply summarize what you've already said – never do this; tell your audience how your idea might affect their lives and the lives of others if it's implemented.
  • Avoid ending with a pitch. Never use the TEDxZuriberg stage to solicit funds or donations, show a book cover, or present logos.
  • Ensure you include a practical challenge (call to action) that the audience can implement if you have convinced them of the merits of your idea.
  • One of the most common mistakes in TEDx Talks occurs when speakers don't stop at the high impact statement and go one or two sentences too far. Your curators will help you nail your final sentences for maximum impact as part of the scriptwriting stage.
Once you're settled on your outline, you can start writing a script.

You should think of your script as a story you are telling the audience to take them from their starting point (the things you speculate they believe at point A) to point you would like them to land at, having being convinced of the merits of your idea and embraced it into their own beliefs (point B). As an expert you have likely spent years working in the field that has led you to form your beliefs and to develop your idea. You are asking the audience to make that journey in 18 minutes or less.

So when writing the script be concise, but write in a way that feels natural to you. Use present tense and strong, interesting verbs.

The story you tell with your script shouldn't be 'about you', but using some of your personal story ensures a sense of human connection with the audience, it evokes empathy, and it makes potentially abstract theoretical ideas approachable and relatable.
Delivery format
As part of finalising your script we'll also be talking to you about experimenting with different presentation formats, such as including powerful images on slides, presenting some video, a demonstration, live performance or stripping it all back and letting the words and your delivery speak for themselves – which, if you can nail it, can be incredibly powerful.
Presentation slides
Should I use slides?
Slides can be helpful for the audience, but they are by no means necessary or relevant to every talk. Ask yourself: Would my slides help and clarify information for the audience, or would they distract and confuse them? Some great examples of slides can be found:
here, here, and here. The most important rule for slides: Keep it simple.
I've never made slides before. Where do I start?
Assess your own skill level. You can make great simple slides if you stick to photographic images, running edge-to-edge. If your slide ideas are more complex and involve type, consider working with a designer. Your event organizer should be able to help.
What goes in my slides?
  • Images and photos: To help the audience remember a person, place or thing you mention, you might use images or photos.
    • People will understand that the images represent what you're saying, so there is no need to verbally describe the images onscreen.
  • Graphs and infographics
    • Keep graphs visually clear, even if the content is complex. Each graph should make only one point.
  • No slide should support more than one point.
What should the slides look like?
  • Use as little text as possible -- if your audience is reading, they are not listening.
  • Avoid using bullet points. Consider putting different points on different slides.
How should the slides be formatted?
  • 1920x1080 pixels at a 16:9 aspect ratio.
  • Use the broadcast-safe zones in PowerPoint or Keynote. Don't put any information or visuals in the far corners of your slides.
  • Do not put slide numbers on your slides
  • Do not put logos, footers, headers or similar elements on the slide. Exception: small credits for materials used.
  • Use font size 42 points or larger.
  • Choose a common sans serif font (like Helvetica or Verdana) over a serif font (like Times).
    • If you use a custom font, make sure to send it to us ahead of time so we can install it and test it in our production environment.
  • We will help you with your slides to make sure that they work best on stage and in our production environment.
Copyright of images, video and other intellectual property
Don't. This is important: Only use images that you own or have permission to use. If you use an image under a Creative Commons license, cite the source at the bottom of your slide. Talk to us if you need assistance.
We will have a look at your slides starting with the first rehearsal session. It is important to us that you present your idea in the best way possible so we will help you make your slides come out best on stage.
I've said my talk once in my head. Is that enough?
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! We can't stress this enough. Rehearse until you're completely comfortable in front of other people: different groups of people, people you love, people you fear, small groups, large groups, peers, people who aren't experts in your field. Listen to the criticisms and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. If someone says you sound "over-rehearsed," this actually means you sound stilted and unnatural. Keep rehearsing, and focus on talking like you're speaking to just one person in a spontaneous one-way conversation.
TEDxZuriberg rehearsals
We will hold rehearsal sessions with you where you realistically present your talk (in development) to members of our speakers team and a speaker coach. This can be done in person or through a video link, where we see you presenting through your video camera and we see your slides at the same time. More details to follow.
Time yourself. Practice with the clock winding down in front of you. Do it until you get the timing right every time.
Practice standing still, planted firmly in one spot on stage. Have a friend watch you and stop you from pacing back and forth or shifting your weight from leg to leg.
Stage time
You will get a chance for a dress-rehearsal, on stage, with the clicker and the confidence monitor, the day before the event.
Give your talk
Inhale. Exhale. Do it like you practiced.

Enjoy :-)
Savor the glory
Congrats, you're done! Bask in the praise you get over how you seemed so relaxed and spontaneous.
Our stage
These are the main parts of our stage setup. (Also see the image of the stage below.)
Red circle carpet
This is the area where you will deliver your talk. The theater lighting will be configured to provide optimal lighting in the red circle, not outside of it.
Confidence monitor
In front of the red circle we will put a monitor where we will display, by your personal choice, either:
  1. The presentation exactly as it appears on the big screen behind you. (Or other content that appears on the big screen.)
  2. The presenter view of Keynote or PowerPoint with: Current slide, Next slide and your presenter notes if you have them.
  3. Just your presenter notes
Countdown timer
On, or next to the confidence monitor you will see a countdown timer. This shows you how much time you still have.
The numbers will turn red when you are running out of time.
TEDxZuriberg logo
3D letters depicting our logo.
Stage direction desk
The production team will be sitting next to the stage, out of view from the audience. This is where we control what is shown on the big screen and the confidence monitor.
Presentation clicker
Remote control for clicking through your slides.
TEDxZuriberg stage at the Rigiblick theater
General questions and information
We will keep adding to this page and include answers to questions that come up. We will inform you by email about important updates.
Please address any question, concern or comment you may have to: speakers@tedxzuriberg.com