TEDxPorto – Norberto Amaral – Organizer

In Organizing by Mark Sylvester


The Hack: Make sure that you create huge expectations. Tell everyone, "You're going to be blown away!"

Norberto Amaral is the organizer of TEDxPorto, located in Portugal and formerly known as TEDxOporto. It's a long story. Norberto tells us about how they were not able to get into the venue until midnight the night before the event started, on March 31, 2017. The production crew worked all night and the opened for 1,100 people the next morning on April 1st. No fooling.

They do something that we've not heard in all the shows before, which is to have a stand-up comedian do a seven-minute wrap up at the end of each session. This reminds me of Tom Reilly's end-of-TED comedic routines back in the early days of TED. Sounds like a lot of fun.

Norberto is one of those organizers that loves also being the host of the event. He says, "I put people on their toes and keep them uncomfortable - to make them rethink." He says he wants to lift the veil on the talk, and spark curiosity. He'll frequently come on stage to ask one question to get more information from the speaker. Something like this really puts a nice bookend on the talk.

I like the idea of being sold-out, but then we find room for 50 more."Norberto Amaral, Organizer, Host, TEDxPorto

The Lightning Round

  • Tell us a bit about your background and your TEDx origin story.

    I started watching TED Talks in 2006, like everyone else. In 2010 another person in Porto set up a TEDx, and a few months later I was part of the team. We've done 3 Live events and 3 Salons

  • How many TEDx events have you worked with or produced?

    He’s done lots of TEDx events and went to many others. In March of this year they organized a TEDx Organizers workshop for the first time.

  • What makes your TEDx unique?

    Having a comedian do a seven-minute wrap off at the end of each of the four sessions. Also, there are no inspirational, motivational talks. He credits watching Chris Anderson's TEDGlobal2013 session about what makes a compelling TED talk.

  • What’s your Superpower?


  • What was the biggest surprise while working on your event?

    How you can have the same setting, the same venue from year to year and yet everything else can feel completely different.

  • Every event has its challenges, what was the biggest dragon you had to overcome?

    He says he has several, and the biggest one is himself. He is aware of having to overcome the limitations of leadership and being a host.

  • What’s one piece of advice you have for veteran organizers? For first-timers?

    Have fun. Train for a marathon.

  • Looking forward to your next event, what excites you the most?

    They announce their next year's event during the 3rd session of the current year's show.

  • What’s a TEDx event that you’d like to attend?

    TEDxSaoPaulo, TEDxLuanda in Angola.

  • The show is called Hacking the Red Circle, so what's your best hack?

    Make sure that you create huge expectations. Tell everyone, "You're going to be blown away!"

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