NY Media Festival

Lightning Talks

The structure of an Ignite style lightning talk

On the Innovation Stage at NY Media Festival, industry experts will give five minute lightning talks to share how technology is enabling media and entertainment.  We think the Ignite style of lightning talk provides a terrific format for succinctly introducing an audience to new technology and innovation.

For speakers unfamiliar with the format of prepared talk, this video (above), featuring a talk by Jason Preston on e-sports, shows us a great example. The Ignite format dictates the use of twenty slides which automatically advance after each slide is displayed for 15 seconds. The Ignite motto is: enlighten us, but make it quick.

In Jason Preston’s talk on e-sports, he gives an overview of Twitch.tv and the e-sports culture.
Over the course of his 5 minute talk, he is able to tell a few stories focusing on big ideas – the who, what, where, and why. His talk is organized into four sections: an introduction, a main content section, a supporting content section, and a conclusion.

One common question speakers have is, “What if I need more than 15 seconds to make a point?” A popular technique used to get around this limitation is to use two of the same slide in a row to create a slide that appears for for 30 seconds. Jason uses this technique a few times during his talk, and it allows him to deliver his speech without racing through his slides.

You’ll notice that he uses a good mix of content as well – infographics, screenshots, photos, logos, and data tables. The structure Jason uses can serve as a good template for creating an interesting and entertaining lightning talk.

A full breakdown of the structure of Jason’s talk is below:

Intro – 90 seconds

  • Prepare your audience for the talk
    • Answer the question What are you going to tell the audience and why?
  • Introduce yourself and your passion for the subject
    • Answer: Where do you fit into the story?
  • Slides
    • Title Slide (30 seconds)
    • Infographic (30 seconds – last 15 seconds shows more info)
    • Screenshot (15 seconds)
    • Screenshot (15 seconds)

Main Content Section – 120 seconds

  • Identify the key players and describe the technology
    • Answer: Who is the market? Who else is involved? Why are they important?
    • Answer: What technology is involved? How does it work?
  • Slides
    • Photo (15 seconds)
    • Screenshot (30 seconds)
    • Logos (15 seconds)
    • Photo (15 seconds)
    • Logos (30 seconds)

Supporting Content Section – 75 Seconds

  • Identify some supporting examples to prove your point
    • Answer: Where has this been implemented? At what scale?
  • Slides
    • Data Table (30 seconds – last 15 seconds shows more info)
    • Photo (30 seconds)
    • Photo (15 seconds)

Closing – 15 Seconds

  • Summary
    • Answer: Where can people find you online?
  • Slides
    • Contact info (15 seconds)

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