To piggyback from last week’s topic, most of the options I listed can seem overwhelming.  Don’t stress, I have a great suggestion that I was lucky to learn from an energetic developer, Jared.

One day, Jared approached me asking if we could hold an lunchtime Ignite event at the company.  I was unfamiliar with what an Ignite event was.  Essentially, a presenter speaks for 5 minutes (15 seconds per slide – 20 slides).

I could easily predict that this would have benefits, such as:

  • The pressure to speak for 5 minutes about any topic seemed like a much smaller hurdle for people then 30, 45 minutes, etc
  • People get practice presenting
  • Jared gets to experience organizing and running an event

What I didn’t predict but was so happy with the results was:

  • As one of the first volunteers, learning timing of the 15 seconds was a new skill for myself,  NO tangents allowed!!
  • Wide variety of topics were shared – some serious, some humorous
  • Mistakes were encourage.  I messed up with the timing and all you could do was laugh and move on.  It wasn’t a big deal.
  • Laughter.  The event did ignite people.  It was fast, different and fun.
  • Initiative – people were eager to try it next or run the event the next time.

Not shockingly, starting small and in a safe environment helps people go out of their comfort zone and try something new.  I definitely see more Ignites in my future.

What would you topic would you cover in 5 minutes?

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick is a leadership and organizational advisor. Her transformational leadership at all levels of an organization, ignites growth of leaders and high performing teams to deliver quality outcomes. Tricia has more than twenty years of experience in the software development industry. She is a highly-rated trainer, coach, facilitator and motivational keynote speaker. Beyond her extensive knowledge and skills, her biggest offering is inspiring people to believe anything is possible.


  • Doc List says:

    First, some history: Ignite is the O’Reilly evolution of Pecha Kucha (pronounced p’cha k’cha), which originated in the design community in Japan. Pecha Kucha is also 20 slides, but 20 seconds each (6:40 altogether), and no words were allowed, only pictures.

    As a challenge to myself a few years back, I crafted a 55 minute talk out of 7 Pecha Kucha decks in a row, with a one minute breather between (7 * 6:40 = 45:20 + 6 = 51:20). It was WONDERFUL (if challenging). The title is “Agile in a Nutshell”, and the goal was to do a shallow dive into what Agile is, make it kinda fun, and challenge myself to be concise (no tangents, like you said, Tricia).

    Here it is, for those who might be interested.

    Leaving out (most of) the words makes it MUCH easier to stay within the time limit, since it eliminates the urge to read all the words, or talk about all the bullet points, or…

    It seems to me that both Pecha Kucha and Ignite are consistent with Sharon Bowman’s work (“Training from the BACK of the Room” and “Using Brain Science To Make Training Stick” and with the essentials of John Medina’s “Brain Rules”.

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