Organizing a TEDx event is haaaaaaaard. I don’t have to tell you that.
As we speak, you’re negotiating a contract with your new venue, hiring a videography team, organizing volunteer shifts, and finding an in-kind donor for those gift bags you thought were such a great idea three months ago. Ah, those dreamy pre-event days.
There are so many things on your to-do list.
It’s easy to forget that:
People attend your TEDx event for the talks.
The reason they bought tickets is that they watch featured talks on TED.com and listen to TEDRadioHour - that is their standard.
In other words, they come to your event expecting the absolute best public speaking in the entire world.
These expectations are reflected in your NPS score, your view count on YouTube, whether your attendees share about it on social media, and whether they buy a ticket to your next event.
No pressure, right?
You care deeply about the success of your event and you want to do whatever it takes to produce world-class TEDx Talks.
So, what is that je ne sais quoi that TED has and most TEDx events don’t?
Professional Speaker Coaching.
The difference between a good talk and a great talk is usually the right coach.
Maybe you’re struggling to coach all the speakers yourself because you have a full-time job and so many responsibilities as a TEDx Organizer.
Maybe you offer no coaching at all, and whatever shows up on the red dot on event day is what goes on YouTube.
Maybe you’re like, “no duh, I’ve hired professional coaches for years.”
Maybe you have volunteer coaches, but the quality hasn’t improved as much as you expected, or at all.
Wherever you’re at - I’m here to help.
Alright, let me properly introduce myself. I’m Helena Bowen, pronounced HELL-in-uh, like “Damn, that girl can write a HELL of a good speech.”
I’m a professional speaker coach and I specialize in TED-style speaking.
My background is in entertainment. At HBO, I worked on dozens of shows including Game of Thrones, Paterno, Fahrenheit 451, The Wizard of Lies, and The Knick. Before that, I was an Assistant Director in Hollywood. I’m a lifelong moviegoer. I’m Seth Rogen’s second biggest fan. And I’ll continue to use MoviePass even if it kills me.
There are many so-called TEDx speaker coaches online; anyone can claim that title. Here’s what makes me different:
The 100+ TEDx Talks I’ve produced have over 47 million views.
They’ve been translated into 35 different languages.
12 were featured on the front page of TED.com.
3 were featured on TEDRadioHour.
They’ve launched careers, sold book deals, & attracted investors.
In short – I have a keen eye for content. And I can prepare an amateur speaker for the world stage.
Do you want to work with me?
Great, I want to work with you too.
The Top 3 Reasons We Should Work Together
You need a coach who understands the TEDx Brand.
Did you ever notice that the same TEDx events are featured over and over and over again on the TED.com homepage? TEDxBeaconStreet, TEDxMidAtlantic, TEDxSydney, TEDxMileHigh, TEDxCambridge, and so on.
They produce extraordinary talks, but perhaps more importantly, they adhere to the TED brand. TED isn’t going to feature your talk if it’s off-brand.
Many speaker coaches will cite their time in Toastmasters, their theatre background, or the many keynote speeches that they’ve done.
Great, but a TEDx Talk is none of those things.
You need a speaker coach who knows the brand -- what works and what doesn’t, the unspoken rules and expectations, and the secrets to TEDx success that only come from years of TEDx experience.
I specialize in TED-style speaking.
I’ve worked with hundreds of TEDx speakers.
I’ve been to TEDActive, TEDSummit, and TEDFest.
I am not a TED staff member & can’t speak on behalf of TED or their curation. But I know the brand really well. So I’ll never steer your speakers off-brand. If anything, I’ll help them course-correct to something more appropriate.
I’ll protect your interests throughout the coaching process.
As a TEDx Organizer, there’s nothing more frustrating than when you confirm a speaker to talk about one idea, and then they go off to work with their coach and come back with something entirely different.
It’s like when you sent your daughter to that new preschool down the street and she came home talking about the healing power of crystals. Not quite what you had in mind for her education.
Many coaches assume that TEDx speakers are given a carte blanche invitation. Not so. You curated a specific set of ideas for your event and that’s what you expect to see on stage.
So if you tell me a speaker’s big idea is about climate policy, and then they tell me they want to speak about “following your passion,” I’ll make sure you approve of that change before we proceed.
I’ll help your speakers craft the best possible talks. And, I’ll make sure your needs & expectations are met too.
I’ve been in your shoes before.
I’ve produced and volunteered at dozens of TEDx events and I’m close friends with TEDx Organizers around the globe.
I know how exhausting and stressful and frustrating and exhilarating and rewarding and thankless and all-consuming your job is. I know that you have 187 emails in your inbox waiting for a response. I know you’re frustrated that Facebook keeps changing its algorithm and how that makes marketing your event so complicated. I know that you’re worried about underselling tickets, so you give away some for free, and then you have to worry about overselling tickets. I know what it’s like when a speaker cancels a week before the event. And I know that if there’s an Amber Alert during the middle of a TEDx talk, 2,800 silenced phones will start ringing.
A good speaker coach is your best ally.
No two TEDx events have the same process, expectations, or budget. If you’d like to work with me, please fill out the Contact Form below with your specific needs, and I’ll send you a proposal.
Here’s why I love Group Workshops:
They’re time & cost efficient (which is an unsexy thing to say, but true). I don’t have to teach each person the same concept individually.
Participants will learn from each other. When they work in isolation, that doesn’t happen.
When your procrastinators watch others succeed, it’ll light a fire under their ass like no semi-threatening email could.
And, they’re a lot of fun. Speakers walk away from each workshop eager to improve their talk and hyped for your event.
Want to work on your message, structure & throughline, drafting, storytelling, editing, slides, memorization, delivery, some whacky combination of the above, or something totally off-menu? I’ve got you!
We can do a half day, full day, weekend, weekends plural - it all depends on your budget & your needs. Prices vary depending on your location. I’m based in Los Angeles but I’m very good at finding cheap plane tickets (it’s a secret talent of mine).
No two TEDx Talks are the same and no two speakers are the same. In a private session, we can get our hands dirty in each individual talk.
I conduct private coaching remotely via phone, email, text, and Google Hangouts / Facetime.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Why should I hire someone who works remotely when I can just hire a coach in my hometown to meet my speakers in person?”
Of the 100+ TEDx Speakers I've worked with, I've lived in the same city as... none of them. 47 million views later and I can say with confidence that yes, remote coaching works! Plus, it's more convenient for your speakers & their busy schedules.
So if you're trying to decide between the coach with more experience and the coach in your hometown - choose experience.
Or Perhaps Both?
If you have the time & budget, you can have your cake & eat it too.
Work with me
Fill out the form below & I’ll contact you ASAP.
Please include specific details about what you’re looking for – how many speakers, your approximate budget, whether you’d like workshops or private coaching or both, what type of event you’re preparing for, and any specific desires or concerns you have.
Help! I can’t afford speaker coaching.
No worries. I get it! Producing a TEDx event is soooo expensive. Sometimes just turning on the lights at the venue & setting up your cameras is the best you can do with your budget.
Here’s the good news: some of your more ambitious speakers might want to hire a coach out of their own pocket. I know because people hire me for this very reason all the time.
Edit the sample email below as you wish:
We are so excited for you to speak at our next event. Some of you have asked about hiring a professional speaker coach - and I absolutely recommend that, regardless of how much experience you have. TEDx is its own special breed of public speaking and the right coach will help you maximize your message for this format and give the best talk you can give.
If you’d like to hire a coach, my recommendation is Helena Bowen at https://speaker.studio/tedxspeakers. (Yes, that’s one of those newfangled web urls without a .com or a .org). She has tremendous experience with the TEDx brand and the speakers she’s worked with have over 47 million views. I don’t get a cut or anything for recommending her - I just think she’s your best option.
Of course, the decision to hire a coach is entirely up to you (and I don’t say that in a threatening Sopranos kinda way). Let me know if you have any questions.