TEDxYouth@Manchester has some great tips for organizing a TEDxYouth event, gathered from three years of organizing the event:
1. Get students to apply online for the event. This adds a little kudos to the event. We get students to fill in a short form about themselves, as well their favorite quote, and things that they care most about. It is great to then display their written responses as a rolling slide show as the young attendees enter and exit the venue.
2. Brain breaks. Give students time to stand up at regular intervals to keep them alert. Give them topics to discuss with the people around them.
3. Short TEDTalks. We have found that showing shorter TEDTalks works well. A video is a lot harder to focus on than a live speaker. Great short TEDTalks for our audience have included: William Kamkwamba: How I harnessed the wind(http://www.ted.com/talks/william_kamkwamba_how_i_harnessed_the_wind.html), and Derek Sivers: How to start a movement (http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/derek_sivers_how_to_start_a_movement.html)
4. Longer TEDTalks: There are some great TEDTalks for college students that are longer, such as Alain de Botton: A kinder gentler philosophy of success (http://www.ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton_a_kinder_gentler_philosophy_of_success.html) and Rory Sutherland: Life lessons from an ad man (http://www.ted.com/talks/rory_sutherland_life_lessons_from_an_ad_man.html).
5. Give out free food. Need I say more.
6. Make sure to record high quality video. We hire a local company to bring their cameras in to film the event. We have used either three or four cameras for our events. To save money, we then edit the talks ourselves.
7. Advertising and Marketing. Each year, we post and display a variety of poster teasers for the event, to get the students curious. This year, with our theme of “Challenging the Unknown,” we distributed baked bean tins around the school with clues about the speakers on them in the form of stickers. We also get students to join our Facebook group when they register online, which is a great way to stay in contact and share information with the attendees.
8. Get the students involved. We have students on the organizing committee, as well as student speakers and students hosts on the day of the event.
9. Choose your speakers carefully. Big names don’t always give the best talks in our experience. Ensure that your speakers have heard of TED and know what to expect.
10. Be imaginative with the set. Try and make something of the venue. £100 buys a lot of medium density fiberboard and paint. Think creatively.
11. Wristbands. We could not afford TED style badges for everyone. Tyvek wristbands are a cheaper alternative. We give these out as guests register in the morning. A local company prints them for us.
12. And finally. Leave feedback for other organizers to read!
I hope this has been useful. If you are putting on a similar event and want to chat feel free to contact us via our website.
Written by Andy Jones, TEDxYouth@Manchester Organizer.
For more youth-related stories, visit our TEDx Blog.