Photo: TedxLjubljana's Flickr Feed

TEDx events are a phenomenon that have accounted for 15,000 events around the world in the past 8 years. The events are known for their TED format (3-18 minute talks) and creativity in choosing locations – events have been held on a plane, on the train, on Mt. Everest, in an ancient Greek Amphitheater and even at the Burning man festival. The events inspire participants and create mind-boggling moments with speakers who are the core of the concept. At the same time organisers are also aware that audience engagement is important and that is why they focus their energy on experiences during the breaks and engagement during each talk. We were curious to see how do they do it in different parts of the world and so we spoke to three TEDx organisers – from Ljubljana, Klagenfurt and Bangalore.

Nika Močnik, TEDxLjubljana

Q: How do you engage the audience at your events? We are looking for some concrete examples.

At every TEDxLjubljana event we do something to engage with our audience. Sometimes we have games, for example once we played a game with our hands (like a finger fight).

One year we gave out postcards to all our attendees, where they wrote a message to themselves and we sent the postcards 6 months later. Another time we gave them a piece of paper on which they wrote their idea worth sharing. They made paper planes from that piece of paper and flew them across the hall, so that everyone received an idea from someone else. The best response we received so far was at the last year’s event, when attendees wrote a skill they have (and are really good at) and they offered that knowledge to someone else as a gift. During the break we had a big gift exchange box outside and once they wrote their knowledge on a piece of paper, they put it in the box and they could take another piece of paper out. Attendees loved the idea so much that some of them even borrowed it and implemented it within their families instead of traditional Christmas presents.

Q: You have probably attended many events, so do you remember something interactive or engaging that has really made an impression on you?

As an event manager I am always in search of great events, although most TEDx events I attended were here in Slovenia. When I attended TEDFest in New York I met other TEDx organisers from across the globe and I got inspired by their story. At one TEDx event, attendees applied to the event with ideas worth sharing. The organising team chose a few attendees who received the same training as the event’s TEDx speakers and they received an opportunity to give a TEDx talk on the stage.

Q: Where do you find inspiration to be so creative at your events?

The creativity is usually at its peak at our team meetings. We brainstorm and although the first ideas are very plain we later come to really crazy ideas and at the end we choose something that inspires us. I wouldn’t say creativity and inspiration is something that we find, rather something that is already there, we just change our perspective on the way we look at something. There is a great TED talk that was delivered at this year’s TED conference by OK Go that explains this really well. It’s a must watch for all TED enthusiasts.

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