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Talent search: FAQ

With your help, 33 of the speakers at TED2013 were selected through a series of 14 global salons. Watch now »

What is the TED talent search?
From April to June 2012, TED held special salons in 14 cities on six continents seeking to uncover new talents, voices and ideas the world needs to hear. Now the entire TED community has a chance to vote on the most promising presenters. At least 20 speakers in the TED2013 program will be chosen this way.

Where was the search held?
The salons took place between April and June, in Amsterdam, Bangalore, Doha, Johannesburg, London, Nairobi, New York, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo, Tunis and Vancouver. In each city we worked with local TEDx organizers who have demonstrated their ability to put on powerful events. The first audition was held in April 2012 in Doha, as part of the TEDxSummit.

What was the process to apply to give a talk?
There was an online application process, which was open separately for each city, at least two months before each event. Applicants were encouraged to include a short video of themselves, and of that large pool, we invited around 30 of the best applicants to each salon. Applicants were encouraged to apply to their nearest city even if they were from a different country. In some exceptional cases we agreed to contribute the cost of attending the audition. The presentations were 3-6 minutes long, and the language was English. As all the events have already taken place, applications are now closed.

Who were we looking for?
Anyone who has not spoken at a TED Conference, TEDGlobal or TEDActive, and those who do not have talks posted on TED.com/talks, were encouraged to apply. We were especially looking for:

  • THE INVENTOR ... sharing an innovation with world-changing potential
  • THE TEACHER ... sharing valuable knowledge in a memorable way to teenagers or adults
  • THE PRODIGY ... young talent ready to break out
  • THE ARTIST ... who can showcase their work in a compelling, new way
  • THE PERFORMER ... music, dance, comedy, drama ... or something entirely different
  • THE SAGE ... wisdom the world needs from those who have learned it the hard way
  • THE ENTHUSIAST ... with an infectious passion about a topic they can share
  • THE CHANGE AGENT ... helping shape the world's future with work that matters
  • THE STORYTELLER ... vivid, original, meaningful ... with a talent for connection
  • THE SPARK ... with a powerful idea worth spreading

Who weren't we looking for?
Product-hawkers, jargon-junkies, dullards, wafflers, motivator wannabes, self-promoters, spouters of new-age fluff.

How will winners be selected?
We have posted all the videos from each of the worldwide events on this site. You and other members of the public will have a chance to vote for the ones you think are best. At least 20 successful candidates will have the chance to deliver a longer talk or performance at TED2013, and we will offer coaching and AV support as needed. We will cover speakers' travel to Long Beach, California and their accommodation for the entire conference. Videos will be available for viewing for a few months; however, voting will close on August 31, 2012.