Wow, you were just confirmed to give a TEDx Talk! Congratulations!
I’m guessing you have a lot of questions, like:
How do I fit this in with my already busy work schedule?
How long should my TEDx Talk be?
Should I use slides? If so, how many?
What should I wear on stage?
Will my ex-husband’s new wife feel inadequate when she sees my TEDx Talk?
Or maybe you were wide awake in bed last night, dreaming of becoming the next Simon Sinek or Brené Brown. Simon’s 2009 TEDxPugetSound Talk has 41.7 million views. Brené’s TEDxHouston Talk has 37.3 million views.
Their TEDx Talks launched their careers in a major way. They have a combined seven New York Times Bestselling Books. They’re go-to experts in their fields who charge “name your price” consulting fees. And they’re besties with the likes of Oprah & Elizabeth Gilbert. Who doesn’t want that?!
So many people think that speaking on the red dot is their ticket to career success.
But if that were true, where are all the Simon’s & Brené’s?
There are 120,000+ TEDx Talks on YouTube, but most have fewer than 1,000 views.
Those big ideas didn’t spread – they were forgotten!
So the question is: why are most TEDx Talks unsuccessful?
And how do you make sure that your talk isn’t one of them?
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.”
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.
I’ve been a TEDster since they first put the videos online in 2006. Every now and then, a snob critic will come out and accuse TED of being “infotainment.” Like “infotainment” is such a dirty word. These debates made me feel guilty for working in something as pointless and unserious as entertainment.
But then, I was sitting on the set of TLC’s hit show, Sex Sent Me to the ER (yes, I really worked on 35 episodes of that show) and I thought, “this ridiculous show gets millions of viewers because it’s entertaining. Is entertainment really that bad if it gets everyday people to engage with the content?”
I think Sam Harris said it best:
Ideas are the operating system for human life & human culture. If we fail to build a civilization that works, it will be because of the failure of ideas, or our failure to communicate good ideas to one another in such a way that’s persuasive.
That’s TED: good ideas communicated in a way that’s persuasive, jaw-dropping, inspiring, and entertaining. The world needs more of that, don’t you think?
Enter TEDx. In 2014, I eagerly signed up for my first TEDx event, put on my best blue dress, and marched down there ready to be inspired. But the talks were… mediocre. “I can do better,” I thought.
So I went to TED’s 300+ training at TEDActive and started working for TEDTranslators. I transcribed dozens and dozens of TEDx videos, and most of them were… mediocre. Why?
What is that je ne sais quoi that TED has and most TEDx events don’t?
Professional Speaker Coaching.
Most TEDx events don’t have the resources to hire professional speaker coaches. But the difference between a good talk and a great talk is usually the right coach. That’s why it’s become my full-time job.
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.
Already sold on coaching?
The Top 5 Reasons We Should Work Together
You need a coach who understands the TEDx Brand
Would you hire a golf coach to improve your backhand in tennis?
I guess they’re similar -- in the sense that they’re both sports. But no. Different game, different rules, different expectations, different outcomes.
TEDx is its own special breed of public speaking.
You want a 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.
Maybe you’re a professional speaker.
You’ve given hundreds of keynotes or business pitches.
You’ve won a Moth Grandslam.
Or you’ve been going to Toastmasters for years.
Great, but a TEDx Talk is none of those things.
I specialize in TED-style speaking. I’ve helped hundreds of TEDx Speakers cross the finish line. You can be one of them.
You’ll learn from my mistakes
Perhaps you’ve heard this quote before:
An expert is someone who’s made all the mistakes which can be made in a narrow field.
In producing 100+ TEDx Talks,
I’ve learned a lot about what not to do.
I don’t want to sound like the old platoon sergeant from every war movie ever made, but let me just say this: I’ve seen some things, kid. I’ve been to battle. I’ve watched good speakers die gruesome deaths on the TEDx stage.
But you don’t have time to experiment. You need a great TEDx Talk now.
I’ll help you avoid those landmines and write a great TEDx Talk. The mistakes I’ve made working with TEDx speakers in the past will help you succeed in the future.
I’ll help you appeal to a wide audience
I was recently at a TEDx event with 2,800 audience members, and the overwhelming favorite talk was about... drum roll, please... Medicaid. You heard me – Medicaid. Can you even think of a more snooze-worthy topic? Other speakers discussed school shootings, fake news, sports, playgrounds, and virtual reality. There was a live fashion show with 35 models. But somehow, everyone was enraptured with the Medicaid guy.
That is the power of a well-written talk.
The best TEDx Talks make beginners feel smart and teach experts something new.
And that’s where I can help.
You’re the expert on your topic, I’m not – and that’s a good thing. Your audience is full of beginners. I’ll ask all the right questions, unearth compelling stories, and help you explain difficult concepts simply.
You’ll save a TON of time
When I wanted to build this website, I got a Squarespace, dabbled around, and discovered that it was pretty easy to use. But to make a world-class personalized website, I’d have to watch dozens of tutorials and learn to write basic code. Nope! So I hired a Web Design company and they did it for me.
It’s the same thing with your TEDx Talk -- you could dissect dozens of talks on TED.com, read every book about TED-Style speaking, and attend local TEDx conferences in your area. Maybe even spend the big bucks and go to TED in Vancouver.
But you’re busy. You’ve got deadlines to meet, bills to pay, laundry to do, and finicky children to make dinner for, even though they aren't going to eat what you make because they hate everything and are completely ungrateful, but fine, they’re adorable and you love them anyway.
Leverage my skill set, and you’ll get massive, personalized results fast.
You’re investing in your future
It’s no wonder that Forbes listed “Communication” as the #1 Universal Job Skill.
Your ability to express yourself, clearly and persuasively, impacts your career, your promotion, and your paycheck -- and therefore where you live, what you drive, and whether you can get a babysitter and go see Hamilton with your husband.
So what I’m asking you is -- do you want to see Hamilton, or do you not want to see Hamilton? It seems like there’s a pretty direct correlation here.
If your TEDx Talk gets hundreds of thousands of views, it will impact your career & life in a huge way. But even aside from that, so many speakers have pinged me months or years later and said that TEDx speaker coaching was profoundly helpful after the event.
The skills you gain now will help you pitch to a new client, update your website, write catchy emails, inspire your team, make a toast at a wedding, or deliver a heartfelt eulogy.
Speaker coaching is an investment in your future success.
So, do you want to work with me?
Great! I want to work with you too.
Rates & Packages
Power Hour - $399
It’s shocking how much we can do in 1 hour of focused work. Your whole talk will improve!
How It Works:
Book a 1-hour phone call with me.
Send me your script in Word or Google Docs. If you have slides, send them too. I’ll review your script & slides in advance.
On our call, we’ll discuss your talk and how best to improve it. I’ll answer all of your TEDx questions.
After our call, I’ll email you a summary of my notes, plus my comments on your script.
If you want to focus on delivery, we’ll do a video conference instead of a phone call.
Perfect For You If:
You are out of time, your event is just days or weeks away, and you need help ASAP.
You’re not sure if speaker coaching is for you, so you want to test it out.
You already have a speaker coach (perhaps your TEDx Organizer assigned you one), but you want a second opinion on your talk.
You’re not a TEDx Speaker yet, but you want help with your pitch or audition.
Party Pack - $1,077
Who doesn’t love a good deal? Party Pack is 3 Power Hours with a 10% discount for buying in bulk!
Prix Fixe - $3,192
If you sit down at a fine restaurant and order the Prix Fixe menu, the waiter knows you’re not f*king around. You want it all – the appetizer, the soup & salad, the cheese course, the entrée, the wine pairing, the Instagram-worthy dessert. “Go big or go home,” you declare, as you slice through that juicy bacon-wrapped filet mignon.
This coaching package is for people who will settle for nothing less than the best in life.
We’ll start from scratch, or wherever you’re at, develop your big idea, outline, write & revise drafts, create a stunning slide deck (if applicable), memorize with ease, and crush your delivery.
Not only that, but we’ll have fun in the process. Do you like memes & gifs? Don’t worry, I’ve got those too.
By the time we’re done working together, the only thing left for you to do is post your TEDx Talk on Facebook like, “Oh hey, old high school friends. I almost didn’t see you there. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.”
How It Works:
Based on your event date & availability, I’ll create a personalized coaching program for you with deadlines & assignments that’ll keep you on track and ensure that you have the best talk possible with the least stress.
Between each coaching session, you’ll revise your talk & send me a new draft to review. We’ll work back and forth using text, email, phone calls, and Google Hangouts / Facetime. Some sessions will be 10 minutes long, some will be 2 hours long - whatever is needed in the moment.
Includes up to 10 sessions and/or draft reviews.
Perfect For You If:
You have 3+ weeks until your TEDx event. If you have less time, let’s do a Party Pack.
You want somebody by your side throughout your TEDx journey. Like a friend. A friend who tells the truth, even if it isn’t flattering. A friend who happens to be an expert on TEDx who will send you an encouraging gif when you’re feeling stuck.
You want the structure. I’m looking at you, master procrastinators. I was once called “the nicest drill sergeant” by a TEDx Speaker who’s also a military veteran. If you know you’re not super accountable to yourself, be accountable to me instead.
Not yet confirmed to speak? No problem. Read my insider guide: How to Speak at TEDx.
What Speakers Say
Dr. Paula Stone Williams
Author & Gender Equity Advocate
“I have been speaking in public for over four decades. I have spoken to crowds of 15,000 and taught college speech courses. In the fall of 2017, I was sure I did not need a speaking coach for my TEDx Talk in Denver. At least that is what I thought before I met Helena Bowen.
Helena is one of the most gifted speaking coaches I have ever encountered. She takes a good script and makes it great. Helena knows her audience and helps you understand the message that will resonate with them. She supports you every step of the way and gives you the courage and confidence to make your talk soar.
Thanks to Helena, my talk did soar. With over 1.9 million views on YouTube, it has prompted responses from all seven continents and provided speaking engagements across the United States and Europe, including TEDWomen 2018.”
Founder of Growing Up Boulder
“Thanks to Helena’s coaching for my TEDx Talk, my career has blossomed. I was a good public speaker before working with her, but Helena helped take my speaking skills to the next level. Because of my success on the TEDx stage, I now receive more requests for keynote speeches than I can accommodate.
Helena has an uncanny ability to zero in on what matters and what should be left out in a speech. She helped me connect with the audience and move away from my more traditional, academic style.
Preparing for a TEDx talk is a grueling process, and I am grateful that Helena was there to coach me through it. She is a pleasure to work with.”
What if my TEDx event has speaker coaches?
Before you purchase a coaching package, ask your TEDx Organizer if they’re going to pair you with a speaker coach. Some TEDx events employ world-class TEDx speaking experts like myself, some have volunteer coaches with a basic knowledge of public speaking, and some provide no coaching at all. Some coaches will spend loads of time with you; some meet with you once. This, like most things, varies dramatically from event to event.
What differentiates me from most speaker coaches is that I have years of TEDx experience, and the view count to back it up. If you already have a coach, but you don’t feel like you’re making as much progress as you’d like or if you just want a second opinion on your talk, let’s do a Power Hour. I can help without stepping on anyone’s toes.
I found a speaker coach online who will help me for free. Why should I hire you?
There are many so-called speaker coaches online; anyone can claim that title. Ask to see videos of the speakers they've coached. That is how you can distinguish between the hobbyist and the professional. Many of my competitors' highest-rated TEDx videos have 5,000 views. My highest rated TEDx videos have millions of views. I've coached hundreds of TEDx speakers at the top TEDx events in North America. I'm a professional. My rates reflect my experience & the quality of coaching you'll receive if you work with me. Like everything else in life, you're choosing between quality & price. You get what you pay for.
Is it worth it?
Your TEDx Talk will be online forever. When people Google you, now and in the future, it will be one of the top search results. Wouldn’t you rather be proud of your TEDx Talk – not embarrassed by it?
Many of the speakers I’ve worked with now get paid tens of thousands of dollars every month in additional speaking gigs. Often, they’re not even writing and delivering a new speech – they’re just giving a slight variation of their TEDx Talk to corporate clients, non-profits, industry conferences, etc. That additional income can easily cover the cost of TEDx speaker coaching and your family’s vacation to Lake Como.
Do you offer discounts?
I offer group discounts if you purchase coaching packages for 3+ speakers.
3-9 speakers is 10% off.
10+ speakers is 20% off.
If this interests you, ask the other speakers at your TEDx event if they want coaching too, and then have one person from your group reach out using the contact form below.
Is travel included?
No. I work with the majority of speakers remotely (phone calls, emails, texts, Google Hangouts / Facetime). You never even have to leave your office or living room to have a great TEDx Talk! But if you’d like me to work with you in person, travel & expenses are an additional cost.
Is remote coaching effective, though?
Yes. 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!
Using a combination of phone calls, emails, texts, and Google Hangouts / Facetime, remote coaching is equally as effective as meeting face-to-face; plus, it's more convenient for you & your busy schedule.
So if you're trying to decide between the coach with more experience and the coach in your hometown - choose experience.
Are we a good match?
Great question. If you haven’t noticed from my website, I’m a straight shooter. Get ready for some direct feedback. I’m never mean but I will tell you exactly what I think. Most people are looking for that in a coach, but for some people, it’s just too much. Know thyself.
And finally, if you want to give a pseudoscientific talk, we are definitely a bad match. Pseudoscience includes things like crystals, pyramid power, reiki, energy fields, free energy, perpetual motion machines, alchemy, time travel, vaccines as a cause of autism, and any other claim not supported by science. TED has a very explicit policy on this and if a TEDx Organizer has pseudoscience at their event, their license will be revoked. It’s that serious. So if you sign up to work with me and your talk is about pseudoscience, I will kindly decline and refund your money.
If none of the above applies to you, then hell yes, let’s work together! It sounds like we’re a great match!
Can you guarantee that my TEDx Talk will get featured on TED.com? Or go viral?
Absolutely no one can guarantee you that. And if you read that somewhere online – they’re lying to you. I’m not a TED staff member & cannot speak on behalf of TED or their curation. And even the TED staff doesn’t guarantee that their mainstage speakers will go on TED.com!
But here’s what I can guarantee – if you are coachable and take constructive feedback, and if you put in the time & effort, you will have a TEDx Talk that you’re proud of, and your talk will make a substantial difference in your life and career.
When should I start preparing?
As soon as you’re confirmed to speak at TEDx, let’s get to work! I’ve never heard a TEDx Speaker say, “I wish I’d spent less time on my TEDx Talk!” Preparation is everything.
How soon can we start working together?
Typically, within 3 business days. I need to receive any materials (script or slides) 24 hours in advance of each call so I have time to review & provide notes.
What if I want to upgrade coaching packages after we already started working together?
No problem. This happens a lot! Just email me and I’ll invoice you for the difference in price.
Can you write my entire speech for me?
I would never recommend this option to a speaker -- it will be more authentic if you write it yourself.
But yes, if you want, I can write your entire speech for you. I’ve done it plenty of times before. We’ll start with a lengthy interview to discover your ideas, opinions, and key stories. I’ll write your talk and we’ll do a few rounds of revisions together. Then it’s your job to memorize & deliver the final talk (unfortunately, no one can do that part of the process for you!)
Rates starting at $9,999.
Contact me using the form below if you’re interested.
I’m sorry, did you just say memorize?
Every single TEDx Speaker who’s said this to me has gone on to memorize their talk. Every. Single. One. It’s not as hard as you think. Plus, memorizing isn’t your only option. In my opinion, it’s the best option, but we can discuss and decide together. TED Speaker Tim Urban explains this perfectly on his blog.
If you know you’ll need a lot of delivery help, choose Prix Fix, and I’ll teach you the best-kept secret that makes memorization easy!
I’m not giving a TEDx Talk, but I want TED-style speaker training.
Great! Click Here for more information, or use the contact form below to send me a detailed message about what you’re looking for & what your budget is. I work with companies, universities, and politicians, and I can help you too!