If you’ve never been to an Ignite event (or its close cousin, Pecha Kucha) you may be wondering what it’s like to present, and whether you should give a presentation. The bottom line is that a good presentation is short, sweet, and to the point.
- Short takes care of itself. With only five minutes and 20 slides to convey something, the audience won’t have time to get bored. This takes a huge load off you, the presenter, because you’ll likely have their attention for the duration of things.
- Sweet is important. The goal is to entertain, then inform — because if people aren’t entertained, they won’t learn. Look at the most memorable TED presentations: they’re memorable because they were unusual, outlandish, and remarkable. Read Made to Stick — arguably the best book written on standing out and being remembered — if you need some inspiration.
- To the point is perhaps the most vital of the three. You only have the time to make one point. So make it, and assume the remaining slides and minutes are either to entertain, support your argument, or build suspense. For example, trying to teach people all there is to know about global warming won’t work in five minutes, for example; but telling them that Montreal’s underground city is a green revolution might.
This fall, we ran the Bitnorth conference North of Montreal. I gave the presenters (who had 5-10 minutes for their presentations) two basic instructions: present something you care about, because your passion will come through; and tell a story, which happens to have slides, rather than presenting slides that happen to have you speaking alongside them.
It’s an amazing experience to explain, convince, and convey in just five minutes. If you’ve got an idea for a presentation, let us know. And get ready for an amazing evening of short, sweet, to-the-point ideas.