Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ignite! Six to Succeed

As promised, I've added presenter's note to my Ignite! slides and uploaded them to SlideShare. While this is a reasonable approximation of my remarks, I spoke directly to the audience and may have deviated from the "text." In fact, I know I did: I wanted to! Passion can't be canned or recited, it must be felt and shared in the heat of the moment.

If you are considering doing an Ignite! talk (which is a bit scary but ultimately energizing and very satisfying), here are six tips that might help:
  • understand the difference. Your 20 Ignite! slides will be on the screen for exactly 15 seconds each. That can be either an extremely brief or an unexpectedly long period of time, depending on the message you are trying to convey. There is neither time nor space for the "transition" slides that are part of a self-timed presentation.
  • don't be afraid to tinker. I kept changing the images I wanted to use, as my concept became clearer and more focused in my mind. I even changed the title (but not the core content, of course).
  • be wary of text. If your slides display a lot of words, your audience will be distracted. I did read one quote, but prefaced it with spoken commentary.
  • remember that you are telling a story. Be passionate, use personal anecdotes, make what you say interesting and universal. Bring your story alive for the audience.
  • practice, practice, practice! While I didn't memorize my talk, I did write out key points that I wanted to make and timed myself via PowerPoint. On the day of the session, I carried a single index card with a few keywords for each slide, in case my mind went blank. Once the Ignite! began, however, I really had no problem "telling" my slides because I was comfortable with what I wanted to share.
  • get a friend to film your talk. I didn't think of this beforehand, so I have no live recording of my presentation. Then again, that might not be an entirely bad thing. If I ever do this particular Ignite! again, I won't feel constrained by prior outings.

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