Scott Berkun on Why You Should Speak (at Ignite)

A lot of people feel that Ignite is great training for speakers. The strict format and auto-advancing slides can really solidify your self-confidence. Scott Berkun, the author of Making Things Happen and of an upcoming book on public speaking, did a talk on just that at the last Ignite Seattle. We’ve edited that talk and made it this week’s Ignite Show.

In addition to his talk Scott wrote about how to do a great talk on his Speaker Confessions blog. Here are some of his tips:

  • Don’t get hung up on slides. Good slides support what you’re saying, not the other way around. The last thing you want is to end up chasing your slides, a common problem at ignite as you’ll never catch up. Pick simple images and if you must use text be sparse. No bullet lists, just one or two points. Make the slides flexible enough that if you fall behind it’s easy to skip something to catch up.
  • You can hack the format. The idea of a ‘slide’ is vestigial – they’re not slides anymore. I’ve hacked the format a few times, including using a special time counter deck to give me more flexibility (see photo at right). You can see this in action in my ignite talk on Attention and Sex or grab the deck here if you want to use or hack it further.
  • Plan to lose your first and last slide. Time will get eaten by the audience laughing, by any ad-libs you do, etc. so plan for about 4:30 instead of the full 5:00.

You can also get the Ignite Show on iTunes.