One of the TEDx events I work with has 12 speakers slots and they receive about 2,000 applications. In other words, only 1 in every 167 speakers is accepted. Wow. In this case, you can improve your application and/or apply to a different event.
Curating a TEDx event isn’t as simple as choosing the best speakers that apply. Imagine that five amazing speakers auditioned talks about dinosaurs. If you only have 12 speaker slots, it would be pretty weird if 5 out of 12 talks were about dinosaurs, right? Unless you live in Jurassic Park. Then fine, that works.
This is a common reason why speakers get waitlisted. It’s possible that the curator loved your talk, but that it’s too similar to another one at the event. In this case, you can wait or apply to a different TEDx event.
Let’s say you auditioned to speak about healthy school lunches. But just last year, the TEDx event you auditioned for had a talk about healthy school lunches. Your talk could be amazing, and you still probably wouldn’t be accepted. In this case, you can wait or apply to a different TEDx event.
If it sounds like you’re selling your company, organization, product, or services, you’ll be rejected. TED has a no business pitch policy. But this is easy to fix.
Hell, there are thousands of great TED talks that showcase businesses and products without going into pitch territory, like this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, or this one. It’s totally doable. If you think you were rejected because you were pitching your business or product, let’s do a Power Hour before you re-apply. I’ll help you re-shape your talk so that it’s not a pitch.
If your talk is about crystals, pyramid power, reiki, energy fields, free energy, perpetual motion machines, alchemy, time travel, vaccines as a cause of autism, or any other claim not supported by science, it will be rejected.
You can’t improve or apply your way out of this - TEDx events do not accept pseudoscientific talks, period. If they do, TED will revoke their license.
Your audition, application, or pitch just wasn’t that great ¯ \_(ツ)_/¯
This is the most common reason for rejection. Revisit my suggestions above for How to Successfully Pitch a TEDx Talk .
And if you want extra help, let’s do a Power Hour before you re-apply. I’ll interview you about your topic, and we can find a wonderful, specific, unique angle that’ll make you shine.
It probably feels like a huge setback that you were rejected. I get it. But doing a TEDx talk as soon as possible isn’t the goal here. The goal is to give an incredible talk that you’re proud of. If that means waiting a year or two and improving your talk, so what?