Tell Me Your Story… But Make it Fast!

Everyone has a story to tell. But telling a story in a concise manner is difficult for many of us. Some of us tend to ramble and eventually get to the point but maybe lose some of our audience in the process.

In 2006, Brady Forrest from O’Reilly Media and Bre Pettis from, formerly of MAKE Magazine, hosted an event called Ignite to help presenters share their personal and professional passions. The “geek event” was meant to bring together people from a community to “ignite” awareness and thought on the subjects presented. The format was successful and has been used in cities all over the world.

Ignite format talks are a style of presenting where people speak on a subject of their choice for five minutes accompanied by 20 PowerPoint slides. The slides are automatically advanced every 15 seconds. At the end of five minutes, the Ignite talk is over!

Here is an Ignite presentation from O’Reilly author Scott Berkun on “How and Why to Give an Ignite Talk”

Talks in this format could be a great benefit in the classroom, clinic, or lab. In the classroom, Ignite can serve as a teaching and learning tool for students to talk about projects in a structured format. Clinicians naturally have to be brief in the practice setting. Training residents and trainees to adopt a concise presentation format for case presentation will benefit them later in their careers. Researchers can also benefit from using this format to discuss their latest findings and identify potential collaborators. The Ignite format can be intimidating, but with a little bit of practice you will be golden. Stay tuned for some teaching sessions on How to Give an Ignite presentation or contact Gabe at grios-at-uab-dot-edu. Here are some resources to help you put together your first Ignite presentation:

I have personally attended Ignite events at my national professional conferences and we had the privilege of co-hosting the very first Ignite Birmingham here at the Lister Hill Library in 2010. The Lister Hill Library is collaborating with the Edge of Chaos and Ignite Birmingham to host an Ignite event here in the Edge of Chaos (the fourth floor of the Lister Hill Library) on September 20, 2012. Check out the Ignite Birmingham webpage for more information about this event and videos of past events. Dust off your PowerPoint skills and get ready to IGNITE others with your passions!

One comment

  1. […] For more background on Ignite presentations check out Gabe’s note in the Tech Lister Blog. […]

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