FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How Do You Select Speakers?

  • Speaker Applications open once a year for approximately five weeks in January/February. Make sure you’re following along our social media channels to catch the release!

  • Applications are randomly assigned a letter and number (e.g. B3) and all contact information is hidden.

  • A team of TEDxStJohns organizers reviews each anonymous application in depth, and ranks it against an internal rubric aligned with TEDx Event Guidelines. Applicants may request the results of their ranking.

  • Applications that pass a threshold are invited to a phone interview and audition, where the team seeks more information about who they are and what they wish to speak about.

  • Balancing topics, demographic diversity, and the individuals’ readiness for the intense Speaker Training Program, a slate of six speakers are offered a spot in the upcoming show.


Theme + Speakers = ?

Lots of applicants want to know: how can I submit an application without knowing the theme?!

TEDxStJohns is not about curating a series of talks that speak to a particular topic — in fact, we endeavor to provide a rollercoaster of an evening that demonstrates the diversity of ideas and expertise alive and well in our windy city. If you knew the theme beforehand, wouldn’t you edit your idea to “fit”?
Apply with the idea you just can’t wait to share with the world.


The Next Show

TEDxStJohns shows are nothing short of a Herculean effort — if we do say so ourselves — that includes six intense months, hundreds of volunteer hours, and tens of thousands of dollars. In response to this, we generally take July-December off, and run a show once a year. Usually in May or June!


What Does My Ticket Pay For?

With a ticket to TEDxStJohns, you’re investing in more than a wonder-filled and thought-provoking night out. The revenue from your ticket goes directly into the speaker training program (eight weeks of rigorous coaching, growth, and editing); the costs of lights, camera, action; and more often than not, the actual seat you’ll sit in at the show.

TEDxStJohns is a registered non-profit that holds over a small reserve (6% of our annual budget) to kickstart the next year of planning. Any additional revenue is directed to complimentary tickets distributed via community partners like the United Way and Choices for Youth; food & beverage freebies for attendees; and donations to local charities like the Community Food Sharing Association.