TEDx Salon events won’t cut your hair, but will open your mind

TEDxWaterloo Salon

Found in schools, libraries, cafes, restaurants, music clubs, living rooms, and at kitchen tables across the globe, TEDxSalon events are truly community affairs: small gatherings where attendees can eat, discuss, brainstorm, and connect in a more intimate atmosphere than a standard TEDx event.

Set up a screen, screen show-stopping TEDTalks, maybe unwrap a brown bag lunch or share a slice of cake, let a room of inquiring minds engage with some of the most thrilling ideas shaking up the world, and you have a TEDx Salon event.

In April, TEDxPotomacSalon hosted an event themed “Food for Thought.” The night consisted of food consciously paired with TEDTalks, making for very rich discussion. A meal of radishes and olives, ramp, bacon and mascarpone tarts, and a spring vegetables salad was paired with Lousie Fresco’s talk on “Feeding the Whole World,“ while a main course of Chesapeake rockfish was paired with Dan Barber’s talk “How I Fell in Love with a Fish.” The night ended with dessert and Graham Hill’s talk “Why I’m a Weekday Vegetarian.”

TEDxPotomacSalon’s bacon and mascarpone tarts

At TEDxPortofSpainSalon events, each salon is curated by a different person in the community, who then choose a theme and picks matching TEDTalks to watch. Their first salon was held at the home of one of the TEDxPortofSpain team, and consisted of a potluck, TEDTalks and discussion over the shared meal.


Ask the average TEDx organizer what there is to love about their Salons and you’ll find that hosting a Salon can almost be like hosting a dinner party — creating a comfortable space for TEDx’ers to discuss how ideas presented at them intrigue, challenge, enlighten, and complement their lives and communities.

TEDxTheHague started as a “TED Club,” a monthly meeting of local TED fans discussing talks in the attic of a local tennis club, until the launch of the TEDx program in 2009, when it became TEDxTheHague.


This sense of community is what powers TEDx Salon events. TEDxSKE organizer Patricia Zougheib started her weekly Salon after watching Jill Bolte-Taylor’s talk and thinking—in her words—“this is too good not to be shared.”

“It started with friends,” she wrote, and “ended with complete strangers, knocking on our door, attending the sessions, adding value to our gatherings.”


At TEDxSMUSalon events, held at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, SMU students and Dallas residents come together for a weekly TEDTalk viewing, brown bag lunch, and raucous discussion. “This TEDx Salon event creates continuous dialogue around TED and TEDx beyond the yearly TEDxSMU, as well as creates a setting that sparks ideas and conversation,” TEDxSMU organizers report. Says organizer Sharon Lyle, “By providing a forum for all these different people to come together over a common topic, we all seem to walk away better informed and with a broader knowledge base than had we watched the TEDTalk alone,” Organizers even follow-up each week with a designated blog post, complete with book recommendations, article recommendations, and relevant TEDTalks to probe minds even further.


This is how TEDxSalon events operate — opening the doors to communities to gather, share, and make use of Ideas Worth Spreading, in the house, the theatre, or the sports club down the street.

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