A Conference Where Ideas Take Center Stage

Speakers come from all walks of life, disciplines, and industries within or beyond Chicago, but what they all have in common is an idea and the passion to share it. Everyone has a life story to tell, but we’re not just seeking storytellers, we’re seeking the truly unique, radical ideas behind them. The “who” and “what” doesn’t matter as much as the “why.” As a speaker, your objective is to share your idea in an engaging way and to answer the question, “Why?” Why do you care? Why should the attendees? Why does your idea deserve to be on stage? If you’re up to the challenge and passionate about your idea, we’d love to hear from you. Please apply below after thoroughly reading all information on this page.

2017 Speaker Application Deadline: Applications for TEDxNaperville 2017 are currently being accepted through the end of Septeber 2017.


Becoming a Speaker

  • 1. Learn

    Read our speaker information packet. Then watch some TED Talks online or browse our Talks page to learn about speaking.
  • 2. Apply

    Fill out the speaker application and tell us about your idea in a 3-min video. This is your chance to show us your idea deserves a stage.

  • 3. Review & Selection

    Our speaker selection committee will review your proposal and respond to you. Please note this may take some time, often weeks.
  • 4. Curation

    If selected, we’ll begin working with you to perfect and expand your idea presentation for a TEDx audience.


Presenting your idea on a TEDx stage is a serious commitment. We want you to have the most powerful, brilliant talk you’ve ever had. To do so requires hours of effort and rehearsal, responsive communication, and meeting a variety of deadlines. If any of this criteria is an issue, please let us know.

Deadlines: At specific deadlines as the event nears, you will be required to submit a variety of information, such as a biography, talk outline, and pertinent slides. These deadlines are imperative as we cannot plan the conference without them. Failing to meet deadlines may result in dismissal from the speaker lineup.

Working Together: As speakers, you agree to work alongside TEDxNaperville organizers to help present your idea. Though you may know your topic the best, we know our attendees and TED’s purpose, and only through working together can we best present your idea. Please be aware that egos have little place at TEDxNaperville.

Attendance: You’ll be expected to be present throughout the duration of the conference as attendees, partners, and other speakers will want to further explore you idea. Please be sure you are available and engaged during the day-long conference. You also will be required to attend a dress rehearsal in Naperville prior to the conference. You may also be required to rehearse your talk with organizers in person, via Skype, or in a Google Hangout.

Guidelines for Your Talk

TEDxNaperville talks run for only 3 to 18 minutes, so your talk should be focused and sharp. If you exceed your time, the coordinator will ask you to end your talk. Your talk should go deep rather than broad. It should include visuals that develop your ideas. It can include unique aspects of personal experience or projects, powerful and illuminating. Corporate, political, or religious plugs from the stage are an abuse of the TEDx platform and are unacceptable. With exception, no notecards are allowed on stage, though you will be able to see your slides via confidence monitors on the stage.

The entire TEDxNaperville organizing team is here to help you with any kind of information or preparation you may need. We will also help you blend your talk into the theme and other speakers’ talks. Begin your research by viewing our speaker resources to the right, then apply below.

  Guidelines at a Glance

  • Sharp, focused content
  • 3-18 min.
  • No notecards
  • Include visuals or props
  • Include data or research
  • Interactivity is a plus
  • No religious, corporate, or political plugs