Potential Future Speaker

Hi. 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. These govern our selection criteria, coaching and ultimately the ideas that make it to the TEDxCharlotte stage. The following is information, tips, and lessons learned from the previous events produced by our core team.


  • March 1, 2022: Applications close at midnight, no exceptions.
  • March 2022: Applications are reviewed and auditions are scheduled.
  • April 2022: Auditions are held and Speaker Finalists are notified
  • June 2022: Kick-off event where Speaker Finalists are announced.
  • June 2022: Speaker Finalists Interviews are held.
  • July 16-September 2, 2022: Speaker Coaching occurs.
  • September 9, 2022: Final Auditions are held.
  • September 2022: The Event.


  • • 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 not be 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.


  • • 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 the applications that do not advance to audition, do so because the idea isn’t clear or it focuses on the promotion of your work.
  • What is an idea? We believe, Adam Grant said it best, “Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend.” 


  • • 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.


  • • This is a challenging process, which includes two auditions and mandatory speaker coaching.
  • • 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, your body language, your title and more to make your talk as impactful as possible; therefore, your coachability and participation are key elements in making it to the TEDxCharlotte stage.
  • • Selection to Speaker Finalist does not guarantee you a spot on the stage.


  • • Once applications close, our selection team will start to review them.
  • • Generally, we audition about 40 speakers. The audition is about 10 minutes and we will be asking you questions about yourself and your idea.
    • • We are not looking for a polished talk.
    • • 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.


  • • This year we are going to conduct a one-hour conversation with each Speaker Finalist in June/July before coaching begins to help you get on the right track with your idea.
  • • Please consider these mandatory! We expect to see you in person, most weeks. We understand that schedules change and travel happens and will work with each Finalist.
  • • You will get individual coaching on the talk, stage presence, title, slides and more. This is a huge value to our speakers and we believe is why our speakers are so impactful.


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