What Are TED and TEDx? (And The Differences)

If you’re an expert looking for exposure and credibility, there’s one pretty amazing secret you should be aware of.

A hint is in the title of this article 😉

The best TEDx events (like the stage below) are far easier to get invited to speak at than TED, but to the general public, this is a “TED Talk.”

tedx and ted talks stages

So, if you really want to know how to get a TED Talk in the public’s eyes, the real answer is to just become a TEDx speaker.

TEDs over 100,000 applications per year for about 100 speaking slots (and it’s safe to say that most of the TED speakers, like Bill Gates or your average Nobel Prize winner, don’t need to apply at all), so it’s next to impossible to get booked at TED.

In fact, even though TEDx events can be quite competitive (the best will get hundreds of applications, or even 1000), it’s still about 50x easier to speak at TEDx instead of TED.

What is TEDx?

You may be familiar with TED, but here’s what TEDx is, in context.

Started1984, first talks online in 20062008
Pays SpeakersNoNo
Pays Travel Costs For SpeakersYesSometimes, but most likely not
What You Can Talk AboutFind TED Talk Topic IdeasTED and TEDx have the same topic requirements – TED Talk Topic Ideas
Filmed?YesMany, but not all
Talks go on…TED Talks YouTube channel

TEDx Talks YouTube channel

Produced byThe staff of TED (a non-profit organization)Independent local volunteer team that must apply to TED for a license to run a particular TEDx event in their area
Ticket price for attendees$9,500 USD (tickets are application-only)up to $100 USD (event organizers decide the ticket price for their event)
Size of Live Audience1,000up to 100 (smallest or first-time events) to 10,000
YouTube subscribers21 million34 million
Notable Speaker ExamplesBill GatesBrene Brown
Simon Sinek
Number of views per talkNormally 15k – millions 
(highest has 47 million views)
100 – millions
(highest has 77 million views)
Stage QualityTED stages look like this:TEDx stages vary considerably:

Event TypesTED
Salon (very small stages, often no speakers or not filmed)
Youth (normally held in high schools, almost never filmed professionally)
Library (very small stages, often no speakers or not filmed)
Standard (recommended)
University (recommended)
TEDxWomen (recommended)
Countdown (often not filmed, or no live speakers)
TEDxLive (no speakers, only pre-recorded talks shown & discussion)
Business/Internal (talks not published on TEDx YouTube channel)
Event DateOnce a year

TEDWomen is typically in November or early December

TED is normally in spring (April)
TED-Ed/TEDGlobal/etc varies
Any non-Salon event occurs once a year (timing varies).

Salon events can occur several times throughout the year, as sub-events of the main Standard event (e.g., TEDxLA and TEDxLASalon are the same event team)

TEDxWomen events mostly occur in conjunction with the TEDWomen conference

Any given country has many TEDx events, so there are speaking opportunities every month of the year.

The easiest way to find events in your area looking for speakers is with my event list & alerts tool
Application DeadlineN/A – rolling applicationsGenerally about 6 months before the event date
To become a speaker, you have to…Full guide on how to get a TED Talk
Apply on the individual TEDx event websites, one at a time.

The easiest way to find events looking for speakers is with my Call For Speakers tool

Here’s the full process and what to expect for how to speak at a TEDx talk
Number of Speaker ApplicantsOver 100,000100-1,000 per event
Odds of Getting Selected1 in 1,0001 in 20 to 1 in 10
Same Number of Speakers As…Gold Medalists per OlympicsHarvard Graduates per Year
When you speak here, most of the western world (North America, West Europe, Australia, NZ) thinks of this as…“TED Talks”“Huh? What’s TEDx? Oh, you mean TED Talks?”
…most of the non-western world (Eastern Europe, Asia, etc)“What is this? Oh, like TEDx talks?”“TEDx Talks”
Ryan Hildebrandt
Ryan Hildebrandt
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