Making presentations in the TED style
Mae Jemison: The arts and sciences are not separate

"Ignited" by Pamela Slim

Pam_book I'm a huge Pamela Slim fan. I've followed her blog for years, and although we've never met in person, I somehow feel like I know her. We're certainly kindred spirits when it comes to work and ideas concerning thinking differently about life and business. So I was thrilled when I got my copy a few weeks ago of Pam's book Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur. You might think that this book would be another touchy-feely self-help book, but you'd be wrong. Escape from Cubicle Nation, like the blog of the same name, is an inspirational read with loads of practical real-world advice for entrepreneurs (or those thinking about becoming an entrepreneur). It's quite a large book (352 pages) but it reads very fast. Pam is also a sought-after speaker. You can get a feel for her style and her message in this Ignite presentation below which was recorded at an Ignite Phoenix event. (You can find the video here too on Pam's speaking page.)

Ignite: a great implementation of the short-form presentation
I love the Ignite format — 20 slides, advanced automatically after 15 seconds (total: 5 minutes). I actually like this format a little better than Pecha Kucha. Ignite short-form presentations are a little bit faster and a little bit shorter than the Pecha Kucha style (which is also good), and this often leads to tighter talks. The point of an Ignite talk is not to rush through the topic or to dumb it down, but rather to work within the constraints to illuminate and illustrate the essence of your idea and of your story.

Below is another example of a good Ignite talk given in my favorite US city, Portland, Oregon by "type nerd" Bram Pitoyo. Well done.

The Ignite presentation method (PZ post from Aug 08)
Ignite is even in Sydney now



The format is interesting, but in my view it limits the speaker more than empowers. You are constantly under pressure to present in sync with the slides. With this lady it definitely takes the naturalness out of the speech...

Bram Pitoyo

I found that the ‘Ignite’ presentation format works for a certain kind of materials and not the other. For example, it’s ideal for ones that are either highly fragmented (I split mine in ‘fact numbers’) or highly narrative (ie. tell one interesting story in 5 minutes, have the slideshow contain pretty pictures.)

Thanks for featuring! It was an honor to be able to present at Ignite Portland (and it’s your favorite city! Who knew?) Over the years, I’ve had more fun presenting by incorporating techniques like ‘rapid fire’ (ie. where one would change the slide every few seconds, thereby keeping the audience engaged.)

Stephen Lead

Hey! What do you mean, "even" in Sydney?!?

Just kidding, thanks for linking to us Garr. We had our second event last night, and it went really well.

I think a well-crafted Ignite presentation can convey far more information than a boring 60 minute presentation. Or even a 5 minute talk without slides.

The time limit forces the presenter to evaluate everything which goes on the slide, and leave out the irrelevant information. The slides become stepping stones which guide the presenter through the speech.

Finally, the reason they're held in the pub is because Ignite is all about having some fun - it's not meant to be taken too seriously!

Steve - Ignite Sydney


I meant "even in Sydney" in a good way :-) As in how cool that something that started in the NW of the USA is now in such a cool city as Sydney! I'd love to go to an Ignite in Sydney -- Sydney kicks butt! Beautiful, fun city!

Dan Mandle

We just had our first Ignite experience in Minneapolis last month. It was a capacity crowd with a lot of energy. A fun experience with the organization looking for a second go at it this summer or early fall.

Thanks for these links!

Stephen Lead

Garr - the next Ignite Sydney will be held sometime during 6-9 October 2009. PLEASE let me know if you'll be in town that week.

I reckon we could possibly find a space for you to speak :)



Thanks for sharing - the Ignite format is quite fun - did one recently on the subject of 'change': - limitations inspire creativity ;-)

Pamela Slim

Thank you SO much for the kind mention Garr! As a raving fan girl of yours for many years, I am absolutely honored to get mention on your blog.

I adore the Ignite format. Our Phoenix group has been growing at a rapid clip - each quarterly event almost doubles the size. Our upcoming event in June (free, but tix required) sold out within hours of the announcement.

What I love about Ignite is the combo of constraint and passion. It forces people to really think about the critical things to share about their topic. And the audience that attends is one of the most supportive I have ever witnessed.

I look forward to seeing Ignite grow across the world, "even" in Sydney. HA! Kidding.

The comments to this entry are closed.