Left to right Cristina from TEDxVitoriaGasteiz in Spain, Ingrid Tomanovits from TEDxCanberra, Gemma from TEDxVancouver; Yusuke from TEDxTokyo and Kristin Boag from TEDxCanberra.

Organising a TEDx event isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s hard to not focus on the minutiae and the detail and forget what we’re really doing here.

We’re a grassroots, locally organised event that spreads inspiring and innovative ideas through our community, and that’s enough for us. It’s a big deal. Yet, at the same time, we’re part of something so much bigger – a media empire creating space for meaningful dialogue for more than 30 years.

This week, two of our team Ingrid Tomanovits & Kristen Boag have been at TEDGlobal in Arusha, Tanzania. Not only did they hear four days of the best in international TED talks – they also got to attend the global TEDxOrganiser workshop. With 150 organisers across 60 countries, this full day event was a masterclass in bring the best of TED home.

Here are our favourite insights we’re packing in our suitcases, and bring back to Canberra:

Building an event is an achievement in itself

A few years ago, this event was just a dream. Now we’re in the biggest room at the Canberra Theatre, with more than 25 volunteers and 17 speakers we are SO excited about. Sometimes we need to give ourselves a pat on the back (or a pinch!)– and look at how far we’ve come.

Don’t focus on catering instead of curation

We spend a lot (and I mean A LOT) of time coming up with ways to make the complete end to end experience just right. It’s not simply about to securing the presenters, patting ourselves on the back and showing up in a cool tshirt on the day – we spend a lot of brainpower on the entertainment, the break outs, the goodies, the food, and the surprises! We also spend time finding and working with our amazing Partners who make this all possible.

So the reminder that the catering isn’t as important as the curation is always an important reminder for us. Focus on the core excellence of finding that idea that is truly worth spreading.  Of course, we know hearing all those talks and using all that brain power makes our audience hungry, and we know we need to provide a well designed, tasty and nutritious menu to give you brain food (tick, tick and tick this year – more on that another time). But the core of our events will always be ideas.

Embrace the FOMO (fear of missing out)

There’s going to be people who didn’t buy their tickets on time, people who made excuses and left it too late.

And it’s completely their fault.

Show them what they’re missing out on. Capture the moments and show the experience of what we were all part of – show them the builders, truth tellers and catalysts. Make sure they don’t make this mistake again.

There’s still time if you’ve got FOMO – we’ve saved you a seat at TEDxCanberra. Tickets are still available for Saturday September 17. 

Blog by Rebecca Warton, TEDxCanberra comms team.


P.S you may not be aware – but we have a TEDGlobal level facilitator in our midst! Ingrid facilitated the two breakout sessions at the TEDx workshop about partnerships.