Lightning Talks

Lightning talks are informal five-minute presentations about something that interests you. The topic does not need to be something technical. On the contrary, you are encouraged to talk about something you do that inspires you. Some of the most memorable presentations have had little or nothing to do with computers.

There will be a sheet in the Parish Hall for you to add your name if you’d like to give a talk. You might feel reluctant at first and want to take a “wait and see” attitude. Don’t wait–lightning talk slots often fill up early and when you see how casual and fun they are you’ll be sorry if you miss out.

The five-minute limit is enforced by a timer; when the timer goes off the audience is encouraged to applaud (it’s hard to stay frustrated because you didn’t finish when people are clapping for you).

Benefits of doing a lightning talk:

  1. You’re in a safe speaking environment.

  2. It’s a good way to practice speaking.

  3. You get to talk about something that excites you. This is one of the best ways to create a good presentation.

  4. The talks are completely informal. Slides are optional. A demo is optional. Visual aids are optional. There is no process or standard format. The only constraint is that it’s five minutes or less. Usually there’s just one person giving each talk but if you need a partner there’s no rule about it.

  5. They are short. If you’re afraid of being boring, the risk is low: it’s only five minutes. If you’re in the audience and a talk isn’t engaging you, it’s only five minutes!

  6. Connection. They let other people at the conference know more about you, and are good ways to start more conversations.

We have a projector and screen available, but you’re free to bring any other presentation aids you’d like.

In the past we’ve captured talks and posted them on YouTube. Let us know ahead of time if you don’t want this.