SAVE THE DATES: Dream Camp April 30-May 3 & Sleep Summit Oct. 8-11, 2024

How to Become a TEDx Presenter

Want the best way to go from where you are to where you want to be?

This episode is for you.

Connect with Doug:



TEDx Talk:

Doug’s Book:

Subscribe on Spotify:

Subscribe on iTunes:


Hey, what’s going on? This is your host, Doug Stewart and welcome to another episode of the RE tell podcast. Today’s episode is about how to get on the TED X stage. So for me, it was a real bucket list item for me to have the opportunity to share an idea with a organisation that is as well thought of, and has the reputation the way that the TED organisation has. And so ever since I had the opportunity to give my TEDx talk, which the link is in the description below, if you’re interested, I gave this talk in 2016. And ever since I gave I’ve given this talk, I’ve had lots and lots of people ask me, how do you get on the TEDx stage? Like, what is the process? You know, what gives me the best chance and I’ve had the privilege to coach, I don’t know, nine or 10 Different TEDx speakers, and help them to develop their talk after they were selected? And my most common answer is, is this, I have no idea how you get on the deck stage. I know how I got on the TEDx stage. But I don’t know how to tell you to get on the TEDx stage look, whether we’re talking about becoming a TEDx speaker, or becoming a successful business person, or increasing your profitability, decreasing your expenses, scaling your business, whatever it is, that’s your, your big, hairy, audacious goal your B hag no matter what it is. I think my story about the path that I took to end up on the iconic red circle on the TEDx stage could perhaps, perhaps be useful. So this this story, the TEDx Talk happened in 2016. This dark story really starts back a couple of years before I was I was on Twitter. And as as we all were back on in 2014. And I was composing a tweet, because I had read this article in furniture today. Furniture Today magazine, and this article was featuring this guy that I didn’t know I never met before I’d never heard of his name was Mark Kinsley. And the article was called legging and plants. Kinsley telling your story well is critical. And I was tweeting at him and furniture today. And what I said in the tweet was inspired by the furniture today article about storytelling, bravo, at Mark Kinsley, you are what this industry needs. And after that tweet, I assume Mark saw it, he replied, and somehow out of, I guess, chance, he ended up clicking on my profile. And when he did, he saw that I had been writing and particularly in the furniture and bedding space. And I had, I guess I was on my second or third blog. And I had written quite a bit. And I don’t know probably hundreds of articles by that time. And he happened to click one he happened to like it, and then he mentioned it on the podcast that him and Quinn were doing at the time, called, it was called the sleep geek podcast and the title of this podcast, it was episode 14. The title of this podcast was eight hour massage is wrong.

Doug Stewart

experiential retail and Doug Stewart’s story. So being a listener of their podcast at the time, I saw my name and thought, Oh, my goodness, like this is this is the coolest friggin thing. Because I had been writing for years I’d written hundreds of articles and no one I don’t know that anyone had ever read them other than me. But now, this podcast that I really respect by these two guys that I really respect, are talking about my blog. And so then after that I reached out and connected with with Mark and he asked me if I would be open to writing and contributing to the sleep geek blog. This was My first ever guest post for anything is first time anyone ever asked me to contribute to write, to do anything like that. And on February 13 2015, my first guest post was published. And the title of this post was his temper, flex changing retailers love affair. And it was about the temper flex product that was coming out and that it had, it had springs in it. And so this was this was sort of talking about this particular this particular strategy that TempurPedic had. And once that article went live, the first thing that I did was I reached out to the editor in chief at furniture today who at that time, I didn’t know his name was and, and is still in this role. His name is Bill McLaughlin. And I asked for an opportunity to contribute to furniture today. Because because I was now a contributor to a trade publication. And so I thought, well, maybe, maybe if they’re open, if sleep geek will have me, maybe sell furniture today. And so I drove out I met with I met with Bill, we became fast friends. And he said yes. And so I contributed my first ever post on February the 18th 2015, just a couple of days after my sleep geek post, and that one was called Three Reasons to never give your customer what they want.

Doug Stewart

And, and then after a few articles at furniture today, I get a call from Bill. And he asked me to speak at a conference they were having called The Next Generation conference, and that was in September 2015. And I didn’t know what I was going to talk about. And he he recommended two topics. The first topic was to talk about succession and family business, sort of passing the baton. And the other topic was about mentorship. I never really talked about either one of those, even though I had experience in both, I’d never talked about him publicly. And so I went to the conference, I gave the talk it went well. And then I was flying back from this conference and I’m on Twitter, I’m scrolling and I see a tweet from TEDx Raleigh. And so TEDx Raleigh. Their tweet said, having a planning meeting for TEDx rally this Thursday as City Club from six to seven o’clock, if you’re interested in being involved, visit this link. So I click on this link, I was happy I happen to land back in Raleigh, at like four o’clock, I get off the plane, I go straight to this venue. And because my thinking is like, hey, if I can get involved here, and contribute, I can maybe learn some things that would be helpful for me. So I show up and like I’ll volunteer. I had some experience in coaching by that time, through my affiliation with Dale Carnegie training. And so they, they told me that I could be on the speaker selection and coaching team. So then I went to the speaker selection and coaching meeting, it was a week, maybe 10 days later. And as as the leader of that particular, that particular team was talking about what it is they’re looking for what they want, what type of speakers what type of what type of environment, I started to think to myself, like, Hey, man, I might I might have a talk, like, maybe I shouldn’t be a volunteer, maybe I should apply. So the next morning, I call the curator. And his name was his name was Kevin, and I call Kevin and I say, Hey, man, I think I’ve got a talk, I think I’d like to submit an application. And he goes, Well, you can’t you can’t submit an application and be on the selection team. And so I said, Cool, I quit. I’m not on the selection team anymore. And so it was interesting, because I had already met everyone on the selection team, everyone on the volunteer team. So of all of the people that applied, I was the only one that everyone knew, which perhaps relationally gave me a bit of an edge. And then a couple of weeks went by, and I submitted my application. But on the application I got, I got I got messed up a little bit because there was a couple of things that are required. The first thing it required was a short two minute video, and then they needed an example of a recent talk. Well, I didn’t have any examples of a recent talk except for the one I had just given at the furniture today conference just a couple of weeks before and so I had to decide, did I want to do it on succession or did I want to do my talk on mentorship. So I flipped a coin, mentorship one, I recorded my two minute video. And then I, I submitted the talk that I gave at the furniture today conference. A couple of weeks after that, there was an event to pick speakers I showed up. And I was selected to give my TEDx talk on mentorship. And then in 2016, I stood on the iconic red circle, horrified, terrified. And I gave my first ever talk. The next week after I gave my talk, this is before it even showed up on on YouTube, before it showed up on YouTube. I get a call from this, this person who was in charge of a local association, and I’d never heard of this sociation never heard of this person. But she called me she reached out. She said, Hey, I saw that you gave a TEDx talk on mentorship. I was wondering if you would, if you would, if you would mind coming to coming to our event coming up and give that same talk. And I asked her I said, so it’s not on YouTube. So I know you haven’t seen it there. Where are you at the event? She goes, No, I wasn’t at the event. I just saw the lineup in the description. I thought it looked interesting. And I was like, okay, cool. Yeah, I’m happy to I’ve got I’ve got time in my schedule that time works. And then she says, Okay, so before we book you, for sure, what’s your speaking fee. And I didn’t have a speaking fee.

Doug Stewart

I had no idea what to say, I had no point of reference. And so I thought to myself, I’m just gonna throw out the biggest number and then I’ll just walk it back. Because you know, as as growing up in retail, I know that you can always reduce price, you can’t increase price once you’ve set an anchor. And so I said, my speaking fee is typically $2,000. And she went, Oh, that’s fits perfectly in our budget. That’s great. And I, my first thought was, damn, I didn’t charge enough. Because if somebody says yes to quickly, usually it means that you have undervalued yourself. And so then I kept getting people asking me to come give a talk and to talk about mentorship, and on and on and on. And it continued to build and build and build. And that’s really how my speaking career started. And so there’s a couple of things that that come to mind when, when someone asked me how to get on the TEDx stage, the first answer is like, do your work and do your work right now and do it consistently over time? Because you know, even though I started this podcast with like this tweet to mark Kinsley started the momentum. The real truth is, the thing that started the momentum was Mark, seeing that I had been doing my work for a long period of time, and I had written hundreds of blog posts. And I had been creating content at that point for more than four years, with no attention with no one reading it with no one caring. And the momentum really started years and years and years before the opportunity. I can remember I used to have, I used to have a pastor when I was a kid that would always say, God favours the prepared. And I have found that to be really true. And if you do your work over time, and you do it consistently, When opportunity comes, you’re ready. I also had a mentor when I was at temperpedic, that, that I asked him, What would be the most important thing for my career. And this is when I was very early in my career. And he said, the worst thing that can happen to you in your in your career is for you to get promoted or hire to do something before you’re ready to do it. And it just so happened that when Mark saw that tweet, and when Mark went to my website, he recognised that I had prepared. It wasn’t just some guy that had done nothing that wanted an opportunity. So there’s there’s this Chinese proverb depending on no matter where you are, whether you’ve been doing your work, or you were just starting to do your work. There’s this Chinese proverb that says the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. And the next best time is today. So if you’ve been doing your work, just know that opportunity will come because God does really favour that prepared. And if you haven’t been doing your work, recognise and admit that you haven’t done it, admit it to yourself, and know that the next best time to do start doing your work is right this second and doing your work does not mean doing your work every once in a while. It means doing it consistently over time. The next day that comes to mind is that you do the right thing for the right reason. Because if you do the right thing for the right reason, the right result will always happen. here’s the here’s the other part of that this really important, the right result will always happen, it just won’t always happen in your timing, because you think it should happen, or you think this is the right time, because that is not how opportunity happens, opportunity comes in it goes and sometimes it can be elusive and tricky. And sometimes it can come faster for some than it is others. And if we look at other people and and and look at their trajectory versus hours, it can be demoralising, it can make us want to quit, but the right result always happens when you do the right thing for the right reason. And then the last thing is not to have any attachments to outcomes, to know that the right thing is going to happen. So, you know, for me, it’s like a lot of times sort of in, in my in my journey, in my experience, I’ve done the right thing for the right reason, and then and then been disappointed because success or opportunity, or, or whatever it is I’m looking into that outcome I’m looking for, it seems to come slower than I want it to. And so I’ve learned that the right result always happens. It just doesn’t always happen in my timing.

Doug Stewart

And so whether you’re wanting to get on the TEDx stage, become a speaker, become a more effective coach, a better leader, increase your profitability, scale your business get from where you are to where you want to be. The answer is to do your work. And like Mark Kinsley has told me before and has told me dozens of times that action is what reveals answers. Action is what reveals answers. So do your work, take action, do it consistently. And the right thing will happen at the right time. And so if you’re interested in learning more, down in the description below, you’ll you’ll find a couple of links. One of those links will be to the TEDx talk that I had the privilege to give in 2016. Another will be to my website. And then the final one for for conversations and connection will be a link to my LinkedIn profile. I would encourage you to go check out fam dot news and all of the good things that are happening there. There’s a couple of there’s a couple of new podcasts that that have just gone up that I have particularly enjoyed. One is a podcast that’s being led by Charlie Maloof, from Broad River furniture. He’s a guy that I’ve I’ve looked up to and I’ve watched for a very long time his podcast is called Stories from the river. And he is a he’s one of us, as dos Marco’s would say stories from the river is hosted by Charlie and it explores his personal journey and the journey of of their team and I love this that they call themselves in they they’re known as memory makers, which I think is is a is a really is a really compelling idea. So go check that out go check out all the other things Alex one of the writers of the fam has put out some some really remarkable articles here lately. And man, I can’t I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a part of this to be a part of this interesting bunch of industry people. So come say hi over on the site. Come say what’s up on on LinkedIn. Check out the TEDx talk, and we will see you in the next episode. Peace out or body

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.