Lightning Talks, a lesson learned

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Last week, IndyAlt.NET had a series of lightning talks that was a lot of fun. We where covering tools we’ve used. It was kind of a show and tell night.

Turns out that giving lightning talks are a specialized skill. I learned some things and I want to share.

There are two types of things you can talk about, small things and large things. This seems obvious, but you need to know which one you’re covering.

Small things: You may run under. This is okay. State the thesis quickly and up front. “Why do I care”. It can be cool, address a problem, or just be “pink”[0]. You can cover some neat use cases in that time.

Large things: It’s fine to not hit detail. Think of this as an overview of your thing. Give me a hook so I want to look into it more. I want to see why I want to look into this tool. Think of this as a 5 minute infomercial for the “Rolly”, not a lifestyle comercial for a cadillac. If it’s open source, I should want to commit to it. If it’s a product, I want to use it. If its a cool technique, I want to do it.

[0] My wife eleveates “Being Pink” to core functionality. When she got her pink Razor, that was its defining and most important feature. She was shocked to find out she likes her iPhone more, but she had to get a pink case for it. It was a moral imparative.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jon  •  Apr 21, 2009 @1:03 pm

    Thanks for posting this info! I plan on bringing it up (as well as my feedback) during the admin meeting on Thursday.

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