Speaking at Ignite? 5 steps for delivering an awesome presentation

Apr 20, 2015

Harish Chakravarthy, Ignite 2015 Congrats! Your submission got accepted at Ignite. Pat yourself on the back. Ignite presentations are 5 minutes long and slide advances every 15 seconds automatically (speedy presentations). This presentation format makes Ignite unique and challenging.

I presented What’s your next challenge? at Ignite, Fluent in San Francisco. My first Ignite presentation. I am sharing my process to hopefully help Ignite presenters. Perspectives welcome.

Step 1: Ground Work

Gather as much information as possible before getting started. Some of the questions include presentation format (example: power point)?, due date?, multimedia?, rehearsal time? contact person? Usually these questions are answered in the acceptance email.

Step 2: Write your presentation down

  • Write your entire presentation down in a text editor or something similar, don’t worry about formatting
  • Write full sentances. Example: I am here to share my story that made a difference personally & professionally
  • Break your story into smaller paragraphs
  • Identify one piece of information you want your audience to take away from your presentatation. Include that information at the start, middle and end of your presentation
  • Practice your presentation until you feel comfortable covering your entire presentation in 5 minutes

Step 3: Start working on your slides

  • Capture your presentation material in your slide
  • Use images to convey your message as much as possible - 15 seconds is too short to read everything on the slide
  • Provide credit for your image (check copyright). If you have people in your image, please check with them first
  • If possible use the entire slide for your content (no header and footer)
  • Provide your contact information and how audience can get to your presentation, earlier in the presentation so you can use that 15 seconds to cover your next slide
  • Checkout Guy Kawasaki’s infograph, Ten Easy Ways to Make Your Pitch Rock!

Step 4: Practice , Practice and Practice

  • Start practicing your slides. Engage your family, friends and colleagues to give you feedback if possible. Iterate until you feel comfortable. Practice presenting standing up if possible.

  • Prepare for surprises. Practice sharing one piece of information your audience needs to know about each slide in about 10 seconds. This backup plan will immensely help, if you get interrupted by a round of applause, loose your train of thoughts, technical difficulty etc

Step 5: Show up early for your presentation

  • Meet the host and fellow presenters
  • Get comfortable with your audience, presenters and location
  • Check with the host or AV tech when your 5 minutes will start
  • Check where you see your slides while you are presenting, is there a monitor in front of you? or do you need to turn back? These logistics will make a world of difference and save you time

Deliver an awesome presentation and ignite your audience! Perspectives welcome.


  • ignite
  • presentation
Harish Chakravarthy Harish Chakravarthy is an intrapreneur leveraging technology to make a positive difference. Interests include API integration, user experience, data visualization and analytics. Detailed bio.

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