Think of an Ignite talk as a 5 minute monologue with timed visuals. To prepare your talk you will need to decide on a topic, prepare your 20 slides/images, and then map out what you are going to say to accompany each slide.The audience for your Ignite talk is the audience you identified in Week One of this class. The topic of your talk is up to you, but be sure to closely tie your talk to the interests and concerns of your audience.
Fifteen seconds per slide goes by very quickly and equals about two to three spoken sentences. But don’t write out a speech! At most, write out a word or phrase per slide to remind you of your points. This actually will make for a better presentation, as hearing someone read a written speech is usually rather excruciating (written speech is very different than spoken speech, a point often forgotten by speakers).
As you are no doubt well aware, preparing a talk can be very time-consuming affair. However, preparing the Ignite talk for this exercise doesn’t need to be that way. Think of this talk as the first draft of the Ignite talk that you will eventually give. If you are having trouble quickly finding visuals for a given slide, you can put in a text slide describing what the image should be as a temporary placeholder.
How do you present your Ignite talk properly? Start by watching the following great Ignite talk on how to give an Ignite talk by Scott Berkun, while Cory Forsyth also has some great tips:
Don’t worry, we aren’t going to insist you go out and give a real Ignite talk, but trying it with an audience is best. In the live online class, you would be partnering with other class participants. For you though, in this self-guided course, please find a friend or colleague to act as your audience. Tell your friend/colleague about your intended audience. Ask your him or her to keep one question in mind: is this presentation compelling for the intended audience? As always, keep an eye out for for jargon and double-meaning language!
If you fancy going out and getting some experience of public speaking, there are plenty of places you can start. Check out your local museum and see if they run a science cafe/cafe scientifique series. Or try local community groups, like Rotary, University of the 3rd Age (U3A) and Zonta. But for a real thrill, check to see if there is a local chapter of Ignite, Pecha Kucha or NerdNite in your town.