Ignite Phoenix is one of the best events I’ve ever participated in. Each Ignite features a series of presenters and each one has 5 minutes and 20 PowerPoint slides that advance every 15 seconds to share one of their passions. LexThink.1 is based on Ignite, except each presenter gets 6 minutes and 20 slides that advance every 18 seconds.
I’ve been involved with Ignite Phoenix for over two years, and it’s been one of the best experiences of my life. I had the pleasure of speaking at Ignite Phoenix #5, and I’ve volunteered at eight other Ignite Phoenix events. My usual volunteer role is assistant stage managing. I help wrangle and orient the presenters before the show and make sure the presenters are on the stage at the right time with the right microphone attached to their body.
Here are my top 10 tips for presenting in an Ignite-style format.
1. Wear Clothes that Accommodate the Microphone: Wear an outfit that has a structured shirt that can handle having a microphone clipped to it. Wear pants or a skirt so there’s a waistband or back pockets to attach the transmitter to. At one Ignite event, we had a presenter wear a dress. I had to go up the back of her dress and clip the transmitter to her bra.
2. Limit your Message: When you’re watching the clock, 18 seconds seems like a long time, but it’s not when you’re speaking. I recently watched one of my favorite Ignite Phoenix presentations. On average, he said 3-4 sentences per slide. Don’t try to say more than that.
3. Use Awesome Pictures: Your voice provides the words of your message. Your slides should enhance it, not simply repeat it. Choose interesting photos that embody the message or emotion behind your verbal message. Don’t use bulleted lists and avoid superfluous words. Seth Godin recommends using 6 words or less on each slide.
4. Have Permission to use every Image: Make sure you own or have permission to use every image in your presentation. Select images that have Creative Commons licenses that allow you commercialize and modify the original work.
5. Allow Time for Laughter when you have Hilarious Pictures, Stories, or Ideas.
6. Memorize your Presentation: You don’t have to memorize your presentation word-for-word, but you should not need notes on stage. Your slides should be a sufficient guide. One of the worst Ignite presentations I ever saw was one where the presenter read his entire presentation off his phone.
7. Practice, Practice, Practice: You cannot practice your presentation enough. Go through it multiple times per day, out loud, with the slides set to advance every 18 seconds. There is no other way to get comfortable presenting in the Ignite format.
8. Turn Off your Phone: You don’t want your phone to ring during your presentation. You don’t even want you phone in your back pocket set on vibrate because you may have friends who are evil enough to call you while you’re presenting just to see the look on your face when your butt starts vibrating.
9. Have Fun: Ignite Phoenix has one of the best audiences to present in front of. They are so supportive and excited for each presenter. I hope the LexThink.1 audience is the same.
10. I purposely left tip #10 blank. Dozens of people have graced the Ignite Phoenix, Ignite Phoenix After Hours, and Ignite Food stage. If you have presented at any Ignite event, in Phoenix or elsewhere, please leave a comment with what you think the tenth tip should be.
I’m very excited to present at LexThink.1. See you in Chicago!