What I learned giving an Ignite format talk

You know that feeling you get when you’re listening to a long boring speech. Maybe you’re listening to a politician failing to get to any point, or perhaps it’s a civil servant trying to beat the audience into submission with statistics. You can’t help noticing the hardness of the seat. You try to unobtrusively reposition your bottom so it hurts less. That’s when you notice a few other people in the audience trying to do the same thing. In that moment you know you’ve been trapped by a “speech rambler”.


Ignite talks are the antidote to speech ramblers.

Definition An ignite talk is a series of exactly twenty slides. Each slide is automatically advanced after 15 seconds - whether the speaker is ready or not. This means that each ignite talk takes exactly 5 minutes. (An Ignite format talk is like a Pecha Kucha talk, except that Pecha Kucha format means twenty-slides with twenty seconds each and a rather silly patent restriction.)

Why Ignite talks are good:


The post-it notes I used to organise my talk. One note per slide, one talking point per note.

I gave an Ignite format talk at Ignite Cardiff #3 back in October 2009. Here’s what I learned:

Content organisation

Speaking style

Slide Authoring

We’re going to see a lot more Ignite format talks in future at conferences and events. There’s a lot of usefulness in this kind of brevity and in the diversity of presentations you get to see at Ignite-focused events.