Ignite Talks – what they are, and how to prepare

Ignite style talks are short presentations (7 min max) to everyone that are meant to be tasters of ideas, achievements, innovations, findings, etc. ‘Traditional’ ignite talks are 5 minutes of pre-timed slides that change at 15 second intervals.

Because they are so short, they should be rehearsed several times to ensure the ideas can be conveyed within the 7-minute window. At the 6 minute mark, a 1 minute warning will be given. At the 7 minute mark, a horn will sound if the presentation isn’t completed and the presentation will need to end. The next presenter will then come to the stage. There is no time for question and answer.

Slide format

Presenters don’t need to use presentation slides, but most do. Ideally these should be in Powerpoint format with a 16:9 ratio slide. The file needs to be provided well before the presentation, at a minimum 1 day before. These slides will then be loaded onto the laptop in advance and checked they work.

If you wish to use your own laptop and/or use a different presentation format or ratio (traditional default is 4:3), you need to test it beforehand and for using your own laptop, ensure you have the necessary connectors (usually VGA).

Filming, tweeting & photos

Ignite style talks are normally recorded on video. If you don’t want this, make it clear ahead of time to the video team and re-confirm to the Ignite support person. If there is something you don’t want on video, mention it just before/after you say it so it can be removed.  If you don’t want people to tweet what you say or to take photos of slides, also mention that.

The video team will put a lapel microphone on you separate from the room microphone.


The ECF organiser/facilitator and Ignite support person will determine the order of the Ignite talks. Know what order you are in and be ready to go to the stage as the previous presenter is finishing. The ignite support person will load your presentation. You are responsible for your own introduction as you will simply be given the stage. After you finish, the next presenter will need to take the stage and the Ignite support person will load their presentation.

Beyond the Ignite

If you want people to contact you or wish to talk about the presentation with others, include how in the first slide (e.g. Twitter handle) and last slide (e.g. open space, Twitter handle, email address) of your presentation.

by Duane Raymond