This year, I've been doing a good bit of back and forth with the lightning talk speakers - encouraging them to turn off power point, and really talk to the audience. One speaker wrote back that doing a whole five minute speech without powerpoint assistance would be hard.His talk reminded me of the way we run the lightning talks at the Google Test Automation conference and the similarities and differences in the structure of lightning talks between GTAC and other conferences. At GTAC the guideline is that each lightning speaker gets five minutes to talk, and no more than one slide to talk from. This guideline flows from my personal bias that you should never have a greater density of slides that one every five minutes. Of course there are several examples of speakers who break this rule all the time (Lessig, Jobs, etc...), but they are all much better presenters and have put together a talk where the slides just support what they are saying. Now the aspect of the GTAC lightning talks that is different from other conferences is the fact that you can't sign up to give a lightning talk until the first day of the conference. We do it this way so that the lightning talks have a high degree of immediacy. They are a platform for people to comment on the talks from the conference. They give people the opportunity to share an idea that came to them during the conference.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Posted By Allen at 5:14 AM
I saw a post over at Creative Chaos today about lightning talks. Matthew makes a lot of great points about speaking and the evils of power point in general, but in particular I liked reading this: