I mean, it’s not like I haven’t done my fair share of presentations in my career. I’m not one of the 90% of people who would rather die than do any form of public speaking. And I’ve done plenty of presentations. But for Ignite Newark, it’s a whole different ball game.
For those of you not familiar with what Ignite is and why the format makes me a little, well, nervous, there’s one thing that makes this whole experience different from other presentations. Once a presenter hands his topic and slides over to the producers, the presentation is out of his or her control. See, the Ignite format is pretty edgy. You get 5 minutes to tell your story using 20 slides timed 15 seconds apart. Not bad, you say? Ah. Here’s the catch: YOU do NOT control the timing. So, I have to know what I’m talking about for 15 seconds a slide because the presentation will advance without mercy and I can’t intervene or stop them. It’s enough to make anybody a little queasy.
The idea started off innocently enough.
Fast-paced, fun, thought-provoking, social, local, global — Ignite is all of these and more. According to the http://igniteshow.com Web site, the first Ignite took place in Seattle in 2006. Since then the event has become an international phenomenon, with gatherings in Helsinki, Finland, Paris, France, New York, New York and many other locations. It’s billed as “… a fast-paced geek event started by Brady Forrest, Technology Evangelist for O’Reilly Media, and Bre Pettis of Makerbot.com, formerly of MAKE Magazine. It’s a high-energy evening of 5-minute talks by people who have an idea [and a passion] — and the guts to get onstage to share it with their hometown crowd. Run by local volunteers who are connected through the global Ignite network, Ignite is a force for raising the collective IQ and building connections in each city. Connected by live streaming and archived videos of local talks, Ignites share all that knowledge and passion with the world.”
Now, I’ve been to several Ignite programs – in Delaware. I enjoyed them all and I learned a lot from each one I attended. But this time, I’m on the other side. I have to face the audience. I know that 5 minutes can either seem like an eternity … or it can fly by so fast it will make me dizzy. It’s anybody’s guess which way it’ll go. My other concern is about my topic. It’s not exactly mainstream, and it’s not something a lot of people would expect me to talk about. But … I’m going to get up there anyway and share my passion at the risk of hearing cat calls or worse, crickets.
The “pros” say it takes about 5 hours of practice to do a decent Ignite presentation. I can’t say I’m close to that yet. It could be a long night of anticipation ahead. And there are NO guarantees, regardless of the time I spend practicing.
Why don’t you come out to the University of Delaware Courtyard Marriott on New London Road in Newark tomorrow at 5:30 pm? There will be refreshments and a lot of really fun and cool people. You can even meet our Master of Ceremonies, WDEL radio personality Rick Jensen.
Besides learning about a lot of different things, I’d really like to know what YOU think of Ignite. Let’s catch up after the show!