LDS Young Men

Mutual Activity: Mini-TED Conference

Posted in Mutual, Youth Conference by ldsym on August 11, 2008

Here is a very different idea for a Mutual, or Stake Activity — stage a mini-TED conference.

A TED conference is described on

The annual conference brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).

The basic idea is that you have really fascinating people give short talks on something they are passionate about. We first did it on a Mutual night using:

  • an artist who helped design the SLC Winter Olympic Medals, he spoke about design and form.
  • a cheesemaster
  • an artist talked about Picasso, her area of expertise.

We spent our budget on cheese and fruit, which became our refreshments after cheesemaster told us the fascinating history of Cheese and taught us how to properly eat the different kinds of cheese.

The event turned out great, It is impossible not to enjoy a good speaker talking about their passion for a short time (We limited speeches to 12 minutes.)

A short time later our ward was in charge of a Stake Youth Activity, so we decided to do it again on a bigger scale. We used the same speakers, but searched the stake for a few more. We found a musician who spoke on music through the ages, and a former actor who did a presentation on pick-up lines from Shakespeare’s plays.

After the talks, we gathered in the gym and ate the cheese and fruit and had a chocolate fountain. We had kids play classical music on piano and string instruments for background music, and had one of our artists demonstrating sketching of portraits. We also had artwork on the wall, and a “where’s Waldo” type game where they had to look for things in the art.

It was very successful, the kids liked it more than I thought they would. One of the amazing things is that it was a “calm” evening. Most stake youth events are a bit rowdy, which is great, everyone is having fun, but it was nice to have a different type of atmosphere for a change.

Suitable for: Whole Mutual or Stake Youth.
Equipment:: If the groups are of any size at all you need to a mike & PA for each speaker. Also you will need multiple laptops/projectors, as most speakers like to use powerpoints.
Cost: In our case we (over)spent our budget on cheese. Gouda and Port Salut are not cheap!
Prep time: This takes weeks of planning for a ward event, much longer for a Stake.

  • This is all about the speakers, you need to work every angle to find out who is a great speaker and has interesting passions in your Stake/area. People like that LOVE to be asked to speak.
  • If you break into groups, assign a youth to lead each group, assign one person to keep time and ring the bell for passing time.
  • Timing is crucial during the event, you have to set out a realistic schedule, then stick to it.
  • We called it “Arts, Beats and Eats”, which is easier to market to the kids than “TED conference” You could call it whatever you want though
  • We may do it again, this time we would make sure to include at least one speaker on a Gospel topic, there is always someone around who has studied an interesting & faith promoting topic. Mormon History in your town or area would be great if you had a dynamic speaker.
  • For the ward event we just kept the group together for the presentations, but for the Stake event, we split the kids into 5 groups and rotated them, every 14 minutes (12 for each talk, 2 for passing time.
  • Quirky and diverse topics work the best.
  • Make the speakers very organic to your area, don’t try to find someone to speak about cheese because it worked for us, ask everyone you know and find the best speakers in your area. Build from there.

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