First, we don’t want to get into any trademark issues here. If you want to host a true TEDx talk you must follow these rules and apply for a license. However, there is nothing stopping your chamber from using the basic talk format without the branding. If you go this direction, it will still be an incredibly enlightening event but you’ll need to rely on your own marketing instead of using the TEDx branding. Here are a few of the things you’ll need to do:
Chamber Event Idea: How to Create a TEDx-Type Event
Give It a Theme
If your town/area is large enough and you expect more speaker applications than you can possibly get through, you’ll want to consider a theme. Good themes for a chamber event might be “The Future” or “Where Are We Going?” You want to leave the theme open enough that it could be interpreted in many ways. You don’t want it so narrow that every presentation would sound the same.
Put a Call Out for Speakers
The point of an event like this is to develop important discussions in your community. You could limit it to community members. TEDx does for its regional events. They want their talks to be localized but have global ramifications and worth.
TED speakers do not get paid. If you are able to elevate your event to give a lot of exposure and prestige in speaking there, you may not need to pay your speakers either. Choose your speakers wisely. Vet for inspiring topics and poise on camera. There’s a naturalness to the speakers at TED events but they still know how to captivate an audience.
Invite speakers to use technology in interesting ways. No same old, same old PowerPoints here. This is the next level of presenting.
Market the Event
This goes without saying, but if this is the first type of event of its kind in your area, you need to market it. Your “night of discovery” can act as a launch pad for enormous discussion in your community. You will have content for months.
Host a Follow-up Mix and Mingle Session Afterwards
Individual talks can be between 15-20 minutes, enough time to address substance but not enough time to satiate your audience fully. Keep the talking part of the event to a little over an hour so you have time for a mix-and-mingle with the speakers afterward. Fostering discussion can make this event a standout in your community.
An event like this is a bit of an undertaking because of the vetting you must do in order for it to be a success. However, it fits beautifully into the chamber’s brand as a resource for the business community. If you arrange with the speakers ahead of time to be able to use their content, with attribution of course, you will have thought-provoking content for a very long time.