Reading time: 5 minutes
Today, TEDx events are the focus of our interview. We host Sandra Bier from TEDxUniHalle event. As a founding member, she will tell us more not only about the development of her event but also about TEDx events in general.
Also, this article is about the actual use of an event app at TEDx events and how other such events can benefit from an event app.
LineUpr: Hello Sandra. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Please introduce yourself and TEDxUniHalle.
Sandra: With pleasure. I work as a project manager for the statewide student competition futurego Sachsen-Anhalt, I am 29 years old and live in the beautiful Halle upon the river Saale. I have been part of the TEDxUniHalle team since the beginning and I’m the president of the “Ideenspektrum Halle e. V. “, which we founded as the organizational basis for TEDxUniHalle.
The team found each other in October 2016. We consist of students and employees of the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg as well as volunteers. It all started with an idea from Jonas Kühl, my colleague at that time, to bring a TEDx event to Halle (Saale), and we soon found fellow participants.
TEDxUniHalle took place for the first time on 1st June in 2017 in cooperation with the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU). The MLU represents a significant partner, which supports us intensively. We organized the first TEDx event in Saxony-Anhalt, which we are very proud of. In 2018 the second event took place and at the beginning of October, we started planning the third edition.
LineUpr: How much time and work do you spend on the planning of the event on average?
Sandra: We usually start planning an event in October of the previous year. Overall, we have about nine months to plan. We are 15 team members working in different groups with a different focus, such as the speaker acquisition team, the venue team, etc. The schedule is very tight in general.
The speakers are undoubtedly crucial to the event, so we need to spend a lot of time here. Over the entire period, the team for “speaker acquisition” has a very high workload. From acquisition and selection to coaching and general support, this part spans over the entire planning period and the follow-up.
The fundraising team is also of great importance because we finance the event entirely through sponsorship funds and donations. Especially at the beginning, the workload to find suitable partners is very high.
Social Media is of great importance, especially for the promotion of the event, but of course also for other announcements concerning TEDxUniHalle, the presentation of the team and in general the communication with people interested in our event.
LineUpr: How do you decide on the main topics and speakers for your event?
Sandra: Above all, we look for exciting stories and research results, especially in the Martin-Luther-University, but also in the environment around the art university in Halle or the university in Merseburg. We also get recommendations from former speakers. But if a topic moves us very much, then the speakers do not need to have any connection with Halle or the above-mentioned universities.
We meet with anyone interested in giving a talk. We listen to their story or topic suggestion and then we choose if it fits to our event.
LineUpr: Which channels and tools do you use for the marketing and presentation of the event?
Sandra: We mainly use social media channels. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are especially crucial for us. And of course, our website. On Flickr, you can also find all photos of the previous events.
LineUpr: Have you already used event apps? If so, what are your experiences and why did you choose LineUpr for this event? If you have not used an event app yet, why not?
Sandra: We have always used LineUpr for TEDxUniHalle. The great thing about the web app is that the application is straightforward. You can incorporate all the information quickly and easily through templates. However, I think it’s best that you have the opportunity to completely customize the app to your individual design. So it feels authentic to the users as well. You can quickly add any changes, for example in the schedule on the day of the event, which would not be possible with a physical programme.
Since it’s a web app, our event attendees did not have to download an app from a store, but could directly use all the functions. Another big advantage is that it works offline.
We also plan to use LineUpr for our next TEDx-event.
LineUpr: How did you use the app before, during and after the TEDxHalle?
Sandra: Before the event and of course at the event itself, we referred to the use of the app.
The presentation of the speakers is of great importance for us and here the interaction of text and photo is crucial. This works in the app without problems. Of course, the timing is essential for the event. For example, with the app, we could also provide snack/restaurant/café recommendations near the venue. The users knew where they could best spend the breaks. We also asked for feedback on our event using the app.
LineUpr: How did your visitors react to the app?
Sandra: We did not actively ask for feedback on the app. However, we only received positive feedback on the usage of the app. Many visitors share our opinion on sustainability, so the usage of the app was very well received.
LineUpr: What is the added value of an event app for TEDx events in general?
Sandra: In this day and age everything feels like it’s happening via smartphone and digitally. And for an event characterized by innovation, such as TEDx, an event app simply fits perfectly. Besides, we have made it our goal to produce as little garbage as possible at an event and a digital “event booklet” is good for this. Designing, putting together and printing a programme is a lot of extra work. LineUpr offers the possibility to easily integrate all information, pictures and schedules into one app and it always looks professional and is up-to-date.
LineUpr: Which presenter/speaker from the last years are you particularly proud of and why? Which speaker would you like to have on your stage?
Sandra: Oh, it’s tough for me to just pick one speaker because the event is characterized by its variety of different topics. I always think it’s good to talk about taboo subjects. This year (TEDxUniHalle 2018), Isabel Peter held a talk about the deaths of children and why they should have the right/opportunity to die at home. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in Germany, despite existing laws.
Generally, I would like to see more women on stage. I would like to win Gesa Neitzel as a speaker. After her bestseller “Breakfast with Elephants” and her experiences of becoming a ranger in Africa, I would like to know how her story continues.
LineUpr: Thank you, Sandra, for this powerful interview. There were really impressive and profound statements here. You together with the TEDxUniHalle-team and the whole TEDx movement, in general, are doing an outstanding job to regularly focus on the essential issues of society. We are very proud to be able to help you with this. More information about TEDxUniHalle can be found on their homepage or the social media networks Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, and Youtube.
We look forward to the next edition and event app with you.