Advocate FAQs

Since its inception in 2012, the TEDxSouthBank annual conference has operated an advocate program.  To our knowledge is it the first and only one of its kind in the TEDx world, though an increasing number of TEDx organiser are approaching us to implement their own local version of it within their community.  We are proud to continue the program under our new name: TEDxBrisbane.

Here are the most frequently asked questions about the Advocate program.

Is ‘advocate’ just your word for volunteers?

No.  All our advocates are volunteers, but not all our volunteers are advocates (some volunteers have production crew and management roles).  Our Advocates perform a great many of the on-the-day duties, but just as important is their role as community builders, welcoming and engaging with participants, especially first-time TEDxers.

So what do advocates actually do?

Advocates perform many of the vital on-the-day tasks that make our event possible.  Some are obvious, like helping participants register, helping to serve food during breaks or acting as door ushers to prevent people entering the theatre during filming.  Others are more hidden, though vital, such as sweeping floors, arranging tables or emptying bins while everyone else is listening to talks.

Advocates also play a vital role in developing our TEDx community here in Brisbane.  They contact each participant ahead of the day to welcome them into the community and answer all questions one on one.  They help foster meaningful discussions on the day amongst participants, including identifying which participants would benefit from being connected with each other due to a similarity in ideas, goals or challenges.  Beyond event day, advocates continue to engage with their allocated participants helping them to stay inspired, put their ideas into action, and make ongoing connections throughout the community.  They are a vital part of our TEDx community here in Brisbane.  To find out more please read the information in the sidebar regarding what advocates are required to do before event day, on event day and in the next 12 months after the event.

Are participants randomly allocated to each advocate?

No.  While this would be far simpler from a logistical point of view, we work hard to try to match participants strategically to the best possible advocate for them.  This includes using such things as keyword matching from applications.  We can match participants to an advocate based on their goals, their passions or interests, the challenge they are facing, their industry or their native language, mobility or dietary requirements.  A key part of our matching protocol is to try to start engineering connections well before event day.  This extends beyond matching a single participant to the right advocate for them, to ensuring a hub of participants with similar goals, projects and aspirations all share the same advocate to facilitate rapid introductions.

How do you become an advocate?

We ask those interested in becoming an advocate to apply online in the lead-up to the event.  In order to become an advocate, you must be a member of our alumni community (someone who has attended a TEDxSouthBank or TEDxBrisbane live event in person previously).

You can subscribe to our dedicated Advocate Expression of Interest mailing list to receive notice of when we commence recruitment for Advocate roles in the future.

Why do you limit advocate opportunities to alumni?

Two reasons.

Every TEDx community, while part of the global TEDx movement, has its own values and character.  We find the best people to welcome others into our own TEDx community are those who have experienced it first hand as a participant.

Our own licensee, Juanita Wheeler, first attended TEDxSouthBank as a participant (audience member) in 2012, before becoming an advocate (2013) then a speaker (2014) and eventually the licensee (2016).

Secondly, the mission of TED – Ideas worth spreading, means that we are always struggling to find a balance between allocating tickets to alumni who are already members of our community, and spreading the TEDx message to new first time TEDxers.  The advocate program is one way we can provide an opportunity for members of our much-loved alumni community to grow their personal engagement with TEDx.

Do advocates get to sit in the theatre for the talks?

The short answer is no.

The longer answer is maybe, but don’t count on it.  As our event is growing in size and sophistication there are more and more tasks that need to be done during session times.  Also, ensuring video quality for the talks is optimal means not having people coming in and out of the theatre during talks.

This year, in recognition of the special role that advocates play, and the fact they will likely miss out on seeing all the talks live, we are inviting all our advocates to a special, closed-door speaker rehearsal for a behind-the-scenes sneak peek ahead of the day.

When do applications close?

Applications to become an advocate for TEDxBrisbane 2017 have now closed.  To ensure you don’t miss the opportunity to apply for an advocate position in 2018 follow us on our social media platforms and subscribe to receive our email updates.

In 2017, Advocates will be required to:

  • Have a sound knowledge of the history of the community and its previous events, including the name change from TEDxSouthBank to TEDxBrisbane
  • Have a comprehensive knowledge of the 2017 event, and be able to answer FAQs
  • Sign and return the Advocate Agreement form.
  • Contact their allocated participants (up to 15 individuals) in a nominated window prior to the event to:
    • welcome them to the community
    • answer any questions they have about the upcoming event or source those answers if unknown
    • gain an understanding of what world/life/city changing goal they will be working on over the next 12 months and what impact they are looking to have, to determine what assistance you might be able to provide, including identification of potential connections that might be desirable for them to make in the community on event day.
    • find out if they are nervous about event day, as some introverts are, and think of ways to support them
    • share your own goals, ideas, and challenges with them to create an ongoing point of conversation.
    • share with them what you are personally planning to stand up for in the next 12 months
    • encourage them to set up their profile on the TEDxBrisbane app, once live, and share as much detail and contact information as they are comfortable with.
  • Contact their allocated participants again 48 hours ahead of event day for final confirmation of attendance and to address any last-minute questions.
  • Advise allocated participants of your location for the first part of the morning (arrivals/registrations) so they can seek you out if they wish to do so.
  • Actively engage in our online community, including engaging with posts on all platforms you are active on.
  • Attend a half-day advocate training day before the event (date to be confirmed).
  • Be available to assist with bump-in on Friday 1 December, even if only for a couple of hours.
  • Arrive early to assist as required with set-up on 2 December at The Tivoli
  • Perform support tasks allocated to you for the day.  Tasks are allocated in advance.  It is important to note that all Advocates should expect to miss the vast majority of talks during the day.  For the first time in 2017, we are inviting Advocates to a closed-door speaker rehearsal ahead of the event for a close-up, behind the scenes experience in recognition they will likely not see talks in the theatre on the day.
  • Contact your allocated participants to:
    • Meet face-to-face, and ensure they feel welcome
    • Answer any questions they have
    • Facilitate connections with other members of the community that might have a shared goal or purpose.  Efforts will be made to allocate participants with similar interests and goals to the same advocate to help support this process.
  • Mingle with all participants to ensure no one is feeling overwhelmed, alone, isolated or suffering from introvert overload, while also striking up meaningful conversations about the ideas contained within the talks (which you will have had a sneak-peek, advance viewing of).
  • Contact their allocated participants in a nominated window after the event to:
    • help them process and reflect on the experience
    • receive more detailed feedback about any item/s they care to elaborate on
    • reaffirm what they are looking to stand up for during the next 12 months, or what challenge or goal they are seeking to achieve, and how you can be of assistance
  • Schedule two (2) meeting times when you will be available to meet with your allocated participants as a collective group in the following 12 months to check in and help support them in their personal goals and challenges identified on the day.  We suggest at the 3 and 6-month marks.  This can be as simple as nominating a couple of hours when you will be at a coffee shop and available to chat, or as elaborate as an RSVP dinner party.  The choice is entirely up to you.  Please let us know if you'd like a member of the TEDxBrisbane organising team to attend, and we'll do our best to be there.
  • Actively engage in our online community, including:
    • engaging with posts on all platforms you are active on
    • engaging on the TEDxBrisbane app
    • sharing all the talks from TEDxBrisbane as they are released
  • Provide status updates and success milestones with the community directly online or with the TEDxBrisbane team regarding your own 'stand up' challenge, (and with their consent) those of your allocated participants.
  • Where you have a blog, or are engaged on a platform (such as LinkedIn) which has blog post functionality, write a blog about your experience at TEDxBrisbane.
  • Help support the identification of mentor/mentee opportunities within the community where this is of interest to allocated participants.
  • Consider potential roles you could aspire to in 2018, including the hosting of a TEDxBrisbane Viewing Party for your school, work, sporting or social tribe.

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