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I spoke about buying locally at Ignite Montreal last night. Had a super dope time and would recommend it to anyone.

For those not familiar with it, Ignite is a speaker series held around the world. Topics are highly varied and selected by local organizing committees.

The kicker is the format. Presenters get 5 minutes only. There are 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds.

This means you gotta get to the point…quick. It also means that timing matters immensely.  

Here are 5 reasons to do an Ignite talk or go to one (if you have more, I’d be grateful if you could add them in the comments please):

  1. Shrinking attention spans are a central hallmark of the current zeitgeist. The Ignite format is great training for dealing with this reality. Five minutes means you have to make the most complex topic a boiled-down bumpersticker. Good skill to have.
  2. Auto-advancing slides help you practice timing. Any good public speaker/performer knows timing is EVERYTHING. The Ignite format makes you think hard about this, as most of the time you want to be saying something moderately related to the slide the audience is viewing. Getting the timing down is hard at first, but going through that process reinforces the value of well timed dialogue in public speaking.
  3. Some of the presentations were straight up hilarious. I watched the talented Andy Nullman tell his life story from 20 pictures he’d never seen. It was pure genius. Because Ignite is very free-form and varied in terms of topics and format, there are lots of chuckles to be had.  
  4. You WILL learn something. Speakers at Ignite were universally passionate. They wanted to tell the audience about something and understood that it needed to be said in a digestible way. Combine this with the variety of topics and it means you learn a bunch as an audience member.
  5. Ignite ain’t stuffy. Ignite Montreal was held in a bar. People had their booze on, but were still well behaved and supportive of the speakers. A nice contrast to some of the boring-ass, self-important conferences we’ve all been to.

So that’s it for me. Over to you. If you’ve been to an Ignite, what can you add to this list?

(BTW – For those interested in doing an Ignite talk, this video is helpful)

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