Applying to be an Entertainer at TEDxSeattle

Interested in being an Entertainer at TEDxSeattle 2020?

Public Speaker Submissions for TEDxSeattle 2020 are closed, but you can still apply to be an entertainer at TEDxSeattle 2020.

Advice for Getting Accepted for a future TEDxSeattle

We want you to have a great experience when submitting to TEDxSeattle. Below, you’ll find everything you need to help craft a compelling submission.

Please read through all the materials before making your final submission.

TEDx Talks are about ideas worth spreading. To better understand how we think about ideas, please watch Chris Anderson’s video (below) and download our PDF How to Think About an Idea.

We also recommend you download this year’s Speaker Milestones Timeline to give you an idea of the expectations we have for our speakers.


In the draft:

  • Give your idea in a clear and compelling way early in your talk. Don’t tease us. Make sure anyone who reads your script could easily repeat the central idea in a sentence or two.
  • Remember: you’re an expert on this subject, but the readers and audience probably won’t be. Write to make your idea accessible to the audience and to us. Make the complex plain. Don’t speak in abstractions. Be specific. Give examples. Tell stories and use emotion to help us connect with your idea.
  • Keep in mind the TEDxSeattle audience is a broad cross-section of the public – everyone from students to world leaders. They all have one thing in common: the desire to expand their minds with new ideas. Help the audience have a great experience by making your idea relevant to them. Help them understand why your idea matters in their lives.
  • Please don’t mention any product or company names – not even non-profits. Promotion is not a part of a TEDx Talk.

In the submission form:

  • Tell us why this idea needs to be heard by this audience, at this moment.
  • Let us know why you want to deliver this talk. What is it in your background or experience that makes you the best choice to share this idea?
  • Remember that you’re one of many submitting talks, so we may receive similar ideas from other applicants. The best way to distinguish your submission is to make the idea clear.

In general:

  • You don’t have to be a professional speaker to be selected. Our professional coaches and speechwriters will work with you to make your talk come alive.
  • Watch lots and lots of TED and TEDx videos but, more importantly, before you write your draft read lots of talks. Every TED Talk has a transcription below it. Consider reading it before watching the talk.
  • We discourage talks that could be categorized as self-help or motivational.
  • We welcome submissions from diverse communities, so please encourage friends and colleague to apply.
  • TEDxSeattle does not accept submissions from third parties. (Please, no publicists, or public relations specialists.) Speakers must submit directly.

Check out tips from an insider: Dr. Fariba Alamdari, TEDxSeattle 2017 speaker. For more insights, visit our Tips from Past Speakers page.

Submission Checklist

Before you submit your content, please make sure you’re ready to include the following:

A complete narrative-style, first draft that communicates your idea worth spreading.

Confirm your availability for Pitch Day (April 25th)

Any links providing examples of you speaking, or documents providing additional background for you or your idea.

Contact information.

Want to time your talk? Check out this handy tool.

Submit Your Application

Thank you for your interest. Public submissions are now closed for 2020.

What will you need to include in your Application?

Here is everything you will need to have prepared to submit your application:

  • Your 1-2 sentence Idea Statement. (see How to Think About an Idea)
  • 1-2 paragraphs explaining why the TEDxSeattle audience needs to hear this idea now.
  • 1-2 paragraphs explaining why you are the right person to give this talk. Please be prepared to include links to relevant articles, papers, videos, etc which will help establish your credibility in this field.
  • A full draft version of your talk (1500-2000 words). Please be prepared to copy/paste this into the application form.


A TEDx Talk is intended to refresh the perspective of the audience. The best talks will engage, challenge, and transform the thinking of audience members through powerful storytelling. Rather than coming across as a lecture or pitch, a good TEDx Talk will feel more like a conversation.

It is not required that you connect your talk idea to the theme in your initial submission. However, it never hurts to make the extra effort.

Absolutely! In fact, it’s a requirement at TEDxSeattle. You will be matched with a coach to work on your content, and work with an additional presentation speaker coach, for three live rehearsals in October prior to the event.

Prior to accepting a spot in the lineup, we ask that speakers agree to 50+ hours of coaching and content development for their talk. This time is comprised of working through multiple drafts of their talk throughout the year; attending several in-person rehearsals in the fall; and attending a few social events prior to the main November conference.

You will be notified by late June if the team wishes to pursue your proposal. You may be contacted before then to clarify or expand on your idea. Please be patient and wait to be contacted.

Our Speaker Team reviews the submissions received online in addition to developing speakers who we have recruited from the community. A few online candidates will be chosen to advance to Pitch Day. Following Pitch Day one or more speakers may be offered the chance to speak at the main event. Throughout the consideration process we may ask potential speakers to expand on their initial proposal or clarify the rough draft of their talk before making any final decisions. Our goal is to create a lineup of 12 speakers spanning a wide range of disciplines to bring relevant topics to our audience.

In 2020 we will have 12 speakers and two entertainment acts.

Speaker candidates must enter their own submission. It’s fine to help someone with their submission process as long as the speaker candidate has provided the answers and background information. Also, the speaker candidate needs to be aware the TEDxSeattle coaches and team expect to have direct access and communication with the candidate throughout the entire process. If you simply have a great idea for a speaker, we’d also love to hear about it. Please use the link

We do not need to see slides with your initial talk submission. If you have slides that you feel will help clarify your idea, you’re welcome to include them. We may be able to provide speakers with design help on slides once the talk is finalized.

It may help us evaluate your submission, but it isn’t a particular advantage to being accepted.

Unfortunately, no. We love that you have participated in other TEDx events, but to give a talk at TEDxSeattle, you must propose a new talk based on a new idea.

First preference is given to speakers from the Seattle area and the Pacific Northwest. On the occasions when we do choose speakers from outside the region, the key is for the speaker to talk about ideas relevant to our local audience.

A teleprompter enables a speaker to read their talk, which does not provide the best audience experience. We work closely with our speakers so they are comfortable delivering the talk without a teleprompter.

Our preferred length is 10-12 minutes, but talks can be as short as five minutes or as long as 15 minutes. Final length will be determined during the coaching process.

Unfortunately, no. TEDx and TED do not allow speakers to be paid. However, if you are selected and do not live in Seattle, we may be able to help cover your travel costs.

The event is held at McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center, 321 Mercer St, Seattle, WA 98109.

Accepted speakers will receive a free ticket for themselves plus one additional ticket for the November event.

2020 Speaker Milestones

March 1 – TEDxSeattle website information portal opens
March 18 – Online submission for the public begins
March 31 – Online submission closes
April 25 – Public submission speaker Pitch Day
April 30 – Recruited Speakers idea statement submission deadline
May 31 – All speakers chosen
June 5 – All speakers confirmed and announced to the Core Team
June 6 – Speaker Interviews & Headshots begin
July 12 – Speaker second draft due
July 19 – All entertainers chosen
TBD – Speaker McCaw Hall stage visit #1
August 16 – Speaker third draft due
August 19 – Speakers and slide designers paired & begin work
August 31 – Group rehearsals (Mandatory)
TBD – Speaker McCaw Hall stage visit #2
Early September – Speaker & Entertainer Announcement Party
September 13 – Speaker fourth draft due
September 20 – Slide checkpoint #1
October 4 – Speaker final draft due
October 11 – Slide checkpoint #2
October 1 – November 19 – Speaker rehearsals (three required)
October 25 – Speaker final draft memorized
Mid-November – Speaker Dinner
November 15 – All slide decks due
November 20 – Tech Rehearsal (mandatory, 15 minutes)
November 21 – TEDxSeattle
November 21 – Afterparty