Speaking at Ignite was challenging in many ways, some expected, some completely unexpected. I would classify myself as an average public speaker – I do not do a lot of public speaking but I have done some presentations in the past and generally do not find myself intimidated speaking in front of crowds. My goal in doing Ignite was to challenge myself and to get outside of my comfort zone by trying something new.
When I initially applied to Ignite, I had a good topic but had done very little research to back up my ideas. The time between when I applied and when I was accepted was about a month. I honestly did not think I would be chosen to present. When I finally did receive word that I was accepted, I was excited but apprehensive. I needed to do a lot of research to back up my ideas so I got started right away. I had a month to get everything together so I figured this would allow me plenty of time. Researching the project was actually easier than I though it would be and the research went quickly. So with copious amounts of information to back up my ideas I began crafting my presentation.
Creating the presentation was much harder than I could have imagined. The format of ignite is completely inflexible: 20 slides, 15 seconds per slide. This inflexibility had a massive impact on the result of my presentation that I never anticipated. It is difficult to present all the information I wanted to in each slide. It also amazing how short 15 seconds is when you are speaking (when watching 15 seconds seems the time seems longer). I had to cut out many important ideas because they did not fit into the flow of the presentation. I also found it necessary to really emphasize how I was articulating my ideas. A few extra words here and there could throw off the pacing of the presentation. The need to be precise with my word choice made it necessary to script the presentation more than I would like.
When the day finally arrived it was a great experience. There were 750 crammed into the Brown Center at MICA. The last time I had been on a stage in front of 700 people was when I was in a band, and back then I had 4 other people on stage with me. It then dawned on me that I had never really done a solo presentation before in front of a large group of people. I was the sixth speaker which turned out to be a great speaking position. It was just long enough for me to settle into the flow of things, but early enough so that I did not spend all night worrying about my presentation. As the fourth speaker came on, I started to get a bit nervous but I was able to keep my fears in check.
When I finally did get on stage, I just did what I had practiced 100 times before and everything went great. I figured that the worst case scenario is that I faint on stage, and if that happens, it will at least be memorable. Truth be told I was lucky because my actual performance was better than my practices which is rarely the case. Speaking at ignite was a great experience and I would suggest to anyone to seize the opportunity. There was such an incredible amount of intelligence and talent in the room and it was and Honor to be a part of it.
I am presenting at Ignite Baltimore 10 and it is an interesting Challenge. (It is also why I have no been keeping up with this blog)
I have been taking off some time from the Blog recently as I have been selected to present at ignitebaltimore 10. My talk is about how highway subsidies have caused so many problems for our country, particularly for Urban Areas. I will post a video of the speech here as well as some links to some of the sources I used for the presentation.
I will say that the Ignite format is an interesting challenge. For those that do not know, Ignite talks are all five minutes long and contain twenty slides. The slides are advanced every fifteen seconds. It is interesting because the presenter has no control over the speed of the slide delivery. Therefore it requires either a very strict plan, or it requires one not to be overly reliant on the slides. Personally I like the challenge of not being reliant on the slides. My goal is to have as few words as possible and so far the only words I have are labels for visual data. Overall its been an interesting process, I just hope the result is interesting for the audience.