Are you limited in the time you have to give a presentation? Try an Ignite-style presentation!

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Sometimes we have a lot of really, really important and brilliant things to say, but we’re not given much time in which to say it. There are times when we’re invited to give a 15-minute presentation in front of a coveted audience or we have a paper accepted to be presented at an academic or scientific symposium. Sometimes we’re simply asked to give a short 5-minute presentation in a staff meeting.

And there a lot of people who have mastered the art of making a short presentation feel like it will never actually end. They cram slides full of bullet points and they speak really fast and it’s mind-boggling how quickly these presentations manage to lose our attention (yet how long it seems until they wrap up)!

Instead of jamming all that information (that people won’t remember) into a presentation, why not try something a little different? An Ignite-style presentation, which (if you’re lucky) you can see every once in a while at a conference, uses the following structure:

20 slides + 15 seconds per slide (usually on auto-advance) = 5 minute presentation 

Ignite limits the amount of time you spend on any given slide, begs for interesting/engaging visual imagery and, if it’s rehearsed enough, leaves the audience with an engaging story that can capture their attention and imagination.

Wondering how much you can actually accomplish in 5 minutes? Here are several examples of Ignite-style presentations. As you watch these videos, make a note of what you might want to bring into your next (brief) presentation. What do you notice about the imagery? What do you notice about the way the information is presented? How can you incorporate these tactics into an upcoming talk that you’ve been invited to give?

Sample 1: Bethany Marzewki’s “Getting past Hello… How to Talk to Anyone”


Sample 2: Matthew Inman’s “How to Get 5 Million People to Read Your Website”


Sample 3: Hilary Parker’s “Hilary: The Most Poisoned Name in US History”


Sample 4: Josh Berkus’ “The Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Presenters”


Sample 5: Steven Hillion’s “Why are Women Better Data Scientists than Men?”


Have you given an Ignite-style presentation? How was that experience?

Have you seen an Ignite-style presentation live and in-person? What did you think?

Think you’d ever use this style? Why/why not?

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