Presenters Application and FAQ

TEDxHonolulu is no longer accepting speaker applications for our 2016 events. If you’d like to be considered for 2017, please review the guidelines and requirements and join our mailing list to receive notice of our next round of applications and auditions.


General rules for TEDx speakers:

    1. Your talk should not go over the time you are allotted. The TEDxHonolulu Curation Team will determine the length of each speaker’s presentation. Eighteen (18) minutes is the maximum allocated time. Eighteen (18) is by no means what is required – 3, 5, and 10 minutes talks are allowed. 18 minutes is long enough to say something of significance, but short enough to hold everyone’s attention and to be easily watched over the Internet. While 18minutes may be shorter than you’re used to, this TED format has proven a carefully prepared talk of this length can have astonishing impact. See for examples.
    2. All speakers are encouraged to stay for the whole conference and to mingle during breaks to show your support both for the event and fellow TEDxHonolulu Speakers.
    3. If you’ve already been selected for our 2016 event, you must attend the event on 7/9/2016 AND attend the training sessions and rehearsals listed below:

     Speaker Audition Day: 1/30/2016

     Speaker Training Session with All Speakers: 2/27/2016

     Individual Training Sessions w/ Speaker Trainer: TBD

     Final Presentation with TEDxHonolulu Organizing Team: 4/16/2016

     Production Run-Through of the Entire Event: 6/18/2016

     Tech Rehearsal: 7/8/2016

     TEDxHonolulu 2016: 7/9/2016

    1. You should prepare for a TED-style presentation — focused and sharp, for a smart general audience. If not familiar with TED, viewing TED talks at and reading books such as Robin Williams’ The Non-Designer’s Presentation Book, Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen or The Naked Presenter, or Nancy Duarte’s Slide:ology are recommended.


As a TED offshoot, TEDx events will be following many of the TED speaker rules:

  • Absolutely no corporate plugs from stage and no company videos.
  • Speakers are banned from “selling from the stage,” and there is strict enforcement of the clock.
  • If you accept our invitation, we will offer further suggestions on how to tailor the perfect talk for our audience.


(adapted from the TED COMMANDMENTS)

  1. Dream big. Strive to create the best talk you have ever given.
  2. Show us the real you. Share your passions, your dreams…and also your fears. Be vulnerable. Speak of failure as well as success.
  3. Make the complex plain. Donʼt try to dazzle intellectually. Donʼt speak in abstractions. Explain! Give examples. Tell stories. Be specific.
  4. Connect with peopleʼs emotions. Make us laugh! Make us cry!
  5. Donʼt flaunt your ego. Donʼt boast. Itʼs the surest way to switch everyone off.
  6. No selling from the stage! Unless we have specifically asked you to, do not talk about your company or organization. And please donʼt even think about pitching your products or services or asking for funding from stage. [TED can pull our license for this.]
  7. Feel free to comment on other speakers, to praise or to criticize. Controversy energizes! Enthusiastic endorsement is powerful!
  8. Donʼt read your talk. If needed, use brief notes. Itʼs a TEDx talk, not a speech: a conversation, on camera. But if the choice is between reading or rambling, then read!
  9. You must end your talk on time. Doing otherwise is to steal time from the people that follow you. We pay strict attention to this TED rule.
  10. Rehearse your talk in front of a trusted friend…for timing, for clarity, for impact.

What’s Next?

NOTE: We are no longer accepting speaker applications for TEDxHonolulu 2016 events.