Audition Application – FAQ

Potential Future Speaker

Hi. So you’re interested in being a future TEDxCharlotte speaker? That’s great. We have developed this page to give you some tips on our criteria, pointers for your application, general logistics of applying and our process.

Please read this page BEFORE applying or reaching out with specific questions! 

TEDxCharlotte is governed by TED event rules. One of their bigger rules for TEDx events is that you cannot plan an event past the one that you currently hold a lease to produce and they only grant leases on a yearly basis for one event. So all of the following is information, tips, and lessons learned from the previous events produced by our core team.

BASIC YEARLY TIMELINE: (this is just an approximation)

  • • AUGUST 30th – Applications close at midnight on that day, no exceptions.
  • • SEPTEMBER: Applications are reviewed
  • • OCTOBER: Auditions are held and Speaker Finalists are notified
  • • NOVEMBER: Kick-off event where Speaker Finalists are announced.
  • • JANUARY: Speaker Finalists Interviews are held.
  • • FEBRUARY-APRIL: Speaker Coaching occurs.
  • • TWO WEEKS BEFORE EVENT: Final Auditions are held.
  • • APRIL: The Event.



  • • Our focus will be on your idea, so yours should be too! Let us say that again so you’re listening. DURING OUR ENTIRE PROCESS, WE ARE FOCUSED ON YOUR IDEA.
  • • The majority of our applications are not advanced to audition because the idea isn’t clear or your audition focuses on the promotion of your work.
  • • A topic is not the same thing as an idea! We want your IDEA WORTH SHARING.



  • • We cannot stress this enough! We are a Charlotte-centric event. What does that mean? All of our speakers live and work in the Charlotte-area. We are committed to this principle and never bring in speakers from around the country to speak. We believe Charlotte has great ideas and talent and there is no need to import it.
    • • If you are from outside of the Charlotte metro area, your application will be rejected without being read. We recommend that you look for a TEDx event near your home. While some TEDx events bring in outside speakers, we have chosen not to do this without exception.
  • • Once again! If you are out of the Charlotte-area, we will not advance your application to audition.



  • • This is a challenging process, which includes a Final Audition two weeks before the event. Selection to Speaker Finalist does not guarantee you a spot on the stage.
  • • All of our speakers go through a speaker coaching process for the two months before the event. These are weekly, in-person coaching sessions with our team. During these sessions we will help you polish your idea and make your talk as impactful as possible; therefore, your coachability and participation are key elements in making it to the TEDxCharlotte stage.



  • • You are NOT on stage to promote your new book, workshop, or business. If your topic is just to talk about your new book, that isn’t an Idea Worth Sharing and won’t make it to an audition.
  • • We are looking for a selection of ideas that fit together like a puzzle to create an interesting day of talks. What this means is that we take into account your audition, presence, idea, and how they will fit together without other potential speakers. Our selection team is looking for your idea but also, how does it fit with the other ideas presented during auditions.
  • • This is not the type of talk that you can recycle an existing talk for.
  • • The “theme” each year is selected by TED and does not affect the ideas we select. It is primarily used as a marketing tool.

ONCE AGAIN: We CANNOT stress this enough, WHAT IS YOUR IDEA? Topics are not ideas.





  • • Once applications close, our selection team will start to review them.
  • • Generally, we audition about 40-50 speakers. This audition is just a 5-minute snapshot of your talk.
    • • We are not looking for a polished 5 minutes.
    • • We are looking for a kernel of the idea that we can then help you polish.
    • • We are looking at how coachable you might be.
    • • If this is a recycled talk and an array of other things.
  • • Again, our selection isn’t just on your audition but balanced against all of the auditions as we use them as puzzle pieces to create one complete day of talks.
  • • Then we notify all auditions if they are advancing or not.
  • • Between notification and announcement, we will give you a survey to fill out so we can queue up a new website and some info on our social media about you.
  • • A kickoff event is planned for usually about a month later, at that time we will announce the Speaker Finalists and release a small batch of discounted early bird tickets.
  • • We will conduct a conversation with each Finalist to help them narrow down their idea and start thinking of the best ways to bring their idea to life. Speaker coaching is 8 weeks, you won’t always have the same coach, this helps you get different points of view and advice.
  • • Two weeks before the event is a final audition. If you do not perform well, you will NOT get on the stage. We mean that. If you do not put in the work with coaching, you will NOT get on the stage. If you do NOT have a final, polished talk, you will NOT get on the stage. No exceptions.
    • • Generally, this is your one shot. It is a disservice to you to send you up on the stage if you haven’t put in the work to be ready. This doesn’t mean that you didn’t care about this or want to do this. Life and schedules change, sometimes despite the work, you’re not ready. We are not going to do that disservice to you and our audience by sending you up there if you’re not ready.
  • • We will have rehearsal in the venue before the event to give you a chance to feel the stage.


Once you’ve read everything and watched the video, you’re ready to apply. Here is the application: