Last month, TEDx celebrated its 10,000th event. According to the TEDBlog, since the authorized local offshoot of the original TED conference started in 2009, they have been held at an average rate of 8 per day.
Even if each event had only 100 attendees, thats more than 1,000,000 people who paid to go to a local TED-style event. And that's not including the countless people who have attended the original TED or TEDGlobal events since the first one was held in 1984.
Some might say they're on to something with their 18-minute creative talks given by speakers who trained rigorously for the event. So why not consider taking a page from the TED book when planning your next meeting?
Spectrum Health, a not-for-profit health system in Grand Rapids, Michigan, did recently for their semiannual system-wide leadership conference. Their chief human resources officer attended TEDx Grand Rapids and thought the format would translate well.
So his team took a traditional conference and put it through the TED machine. They even hired Bill Holsinger-Robinson, lead organizer and license holder of TEDx Grand Rapids, to guide them.
"Speakers were nominated from the Spectrum community and they went through a whole series of meetings with speaker coaches to help them prepare and kind of tell their story," Holsinger-Robinson said. "They did a great job."
Crystal January-Craft, a Spectrum human resources director, said the event was more successful than they anticipated.
"Our leaders liked the quality, variety and length of the talks," she said. "We had a team of experts to help curate the topics and coach the presenters. We asked our speakers to rely less on technology for their content and be creative in their delivery."
"(Feedback) was extremely positive and supportive of a repeat!"
Some meetings are information-heavy events trying to educate attendees. What if your speakers cant do the job in 18 minutes?
Holsinger-Robinson said to think about the complete experience.
"Conferences are about creating a teaching environment, an education environment," Holsinger-Robinson said. "It's not just about the talks on stage, if there is a stage, its about thinking of all the touch points throughout the day."
How do all those things tie together to leave you with an experience you can share?
So, maybe you have TED-style talks in the morning to whet their appetite and get more in-depth in the afternoon. Or, set up the opportunity later for attendees to seek out that deeper information. Holsinger-Robinson said TED talks were intended to be appetizers and entryways into much larger conversations.
It gives you enough to get a small taste on a topic that you might not know anything about. Then, if you're interested in it, it's still your job to research it, find the speaker and learn more.
Want more advice on holding a TED-like conference? Consult the license-holder of your local TEDx event, check out the TED website on preparing speakers or consult this section of Nancy Duartes book, Resonate, on how to deliver a TED-like talk.