What would you say in 5 minutes?

As many of you already know, the very first Ignite Columbus event was last night. It was pretty good, and since we were basically in a garage, there was definitely an underground vibe. That was cool, but a couple of professional touches wouldn’t have hurt either, IMHO. (Nametags anyone? *smile*)

Still, the most interesting thing, aside from getting a chance to meet some folks, were the presentations. True to the Ignite ethos, they were pretty varied, and all really interesting. You can see them all, complete in underground video feel, here. ;-)

The concept of an Ignite presentation is an interesting one. 5 minutes, 20 slides advancing every 15 seconds. Makes for quite a challenge! As I began to work on my slides, I realized quickly that if I had 15 seconds to talk for each slide, I couldn’t have very much on each slide. Really, 15 seconds is about one point. Making multiple points on a slide was a sure fire way to fall behind your slides!

The other thing I had to do differently than I normally do is actually rehearse, and work from a memorized script. A lot of the time, when I’m doing training or educational presentations on tech stuff, I have a rough outline of what points I’m going to cover, but I’ll allow myself to ad-lib depending on what kind of “feedback” I’m getting from the audience. By feedback, obviously, I’m not talking about what they say, but how they look, body language, eye contact, etc. Obviously, when you have 15 seconds per slide, you can’t really ad-lib much. Even adding a few extra words can through off your timing, and get you, again, behind your slides.

Of course, there are a few tricks you can use, stuff like throwing a transition slide with a photo that you can talk over and catch yourself back up, or instead of having one slide with a bulleted list, add each bullet point as a new slide. That helps keep you on the one point per slide ratio.

I think these tricks helped me out with my presentation, I managed to stay with my slides for the most part, and get everything in my 5 minutes. I’ve gotten some positive comments on the presentation, especially from people who are somewhat shy and wanted to learn more about networking, so I feel pretty good about it. The direct link to my presentation is here.

I’m looking forward to the next Ignite Columbus. Hopefully it will grow and we’ll see some more interesting presentations!

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