Flaviu Simihaian's Blog - Entrepreneur and Developer

How to Give an Ignite Talk

At Ignite, awesome people speak on random topics for 5 minutes. Hundreds come to drink and listen.

I had the privilege to present at Ignite Charlotte 2 last night. Thank you @SullyBridgetB, volunteers, and attendees.

Like @malloryhole said in her talk, we (Gen Y) crave constant feedback, and it’s <insert synonym for awesome> when someone you’ve never met before compliments the random things you had to say.

It’s precisely this feeling that empowered me to share my recommendations (recipe?) for giving an Ignite talk:

  1. Choose a topic you want to learn more about.

  2. Interview/catechize people in your every day life that may know something about the topic. Make sure to not write down any of their advice. Just let it simmer in your N3 REM cycle.

  3. Think about the topic while the Toyota Sequoia in front of you can’t decide whether it’s safe to make a right turn (I thought they don’t ship with brakes anyway).

  4. Google funny pictures mildly related to the topic. Make sure they are Medium or Large. Put them in a presentation in no particular order.

  5. Identify what’s unique about your message and write it down (a sentence for each idea).

  6. repeat step 3

  7. Match the pictures/slides with the ideas you wrote down. No text! (ok, maybe a few words)

  8. Start rehearsing your speech with 5-10 slides, adding transitioning slides as needed. (You can say a maximum of 2 sentences for each slide)

  9. repeat step 3, this time rehearsing out loud as though it were the night of.

  10. Add pauses to let the audience think about what you’ve said. Alternate fast sentences with slow ones.

  11. Video tape yourself giving the talk. (note and suppress your mannerisms)

  12. Subject your friends (and enemies) to 5 minutes of torture.

  13. Give the talk without looking at the slides at all and make sure you end on time.

  14. Don’t practice the day of. If you’re stressed out, only go over the first sentence in your head, saying it with confidence. The rest will follow.

Check out my talk below and let me know what you think.


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