Speaking about Speakers! Meet the Speakers Liasion Team.


the SPL team celebrating

The conference is getting closer and every day we are getting more and more excited. Every year, all of the TEDxVienna teams work tog

ether to create an exciting and inspiring experience. The part we all look forward to the most? The talks of course!

But have you ever wondered what needs to be done to get our speakers on stage on time. Fully prepared to talk through their presentation or to give a great performance?
I did, so I met up with Niels from TEDxVienna.

Let me introduce you to the Speaker Liaison Team. They are curators, travel agents, emotional support and coaches all at once. Their work starts with finding interesting people and ends with sending them home happy with a personalized goodie bag.

But what happens in between?

Good question! I wanted to find out all about the process and it’s too interesting to keep it to myself. It all starts with collecting ideas about who could speak at the conference.
Then the team contacts potential speakers and asks them to hand in a proposal about their possible talk. Niels explains: “Thanks to our thorough research, about 80% of the proposals are a fit! In the end, we have about 20 speakers each year. This year it will be 22.”What follows is a lot of background work most people likely don’t even think about.
Most importantly coordinating the schedule while the speakers are in town. This includes planning their appointments like tech rehearsals, interactives, Meet & Greets, press events and of course the interviews conducted by the blogger team. But it also means making sure that they enjoy themselves and have a good time at the conference, the afterparty and the speaker’s brunch on Sunday.

And what happens before and after?

Niels emphasis that speakers shouldn’t have to think about anything else during their time here but their talk. Therefor the SPL team keeps track of their schedule and makes sure that they are always exactly where they need to be. This includes bringing all of their stuff to their hotel rooms after the conference, so the speakers can head straight to the afterparty. It also means to emotionally support the speakers in case they get nervous.

And according to our informant, everyone gets nervous.

their view of the conference

“Every speaker gets really nervous 10 seconds before they are up on stage. I make sure that they get on stage on time with the clicker in their hand. Then, about 30 seconds into their talk, you can see them relax. After that they are all euphoric, it’s an absolute adrenaline rush. Almost everyone forgets to give me back the clicker. Because I’m responsible for handing it to them and taking it away, I earned the nickname clicker boy!” 

After that it’s all about the fun and having a great time at the conference and during their entire stay.

99% invisible

While our PEM Team does a great job for creating a great experience for our attendees, the SPL team does so for our speakers. Interestingly there is really no study or training that can prepare you for this job. And because most of their work happens in the background, we wanted to tell you about all their efforts. According to our speakers, they are doing a fantastic one each year!

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About Julia Unteregger

Julia is a student of literature and languages. Besides reading, learning new languages and travelling, her passions are drinking a lot of coffee and trying to master the art of chess.

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