Categories
Random

Speaking at Ignite San Francisco (And How to Create an Effective Talk)

I recently gave a talk at Ignite San Francisco. The presentation was well received and fun to deliver.¬†Below are my slides from the talk. In this post I’ll break down my process for becoming one of the speakers (hint: just ask!) and how I built my talk.

If you don’t know Ignite, take a look at some of these. I learned about Ignite from my friend Karen Cheng, who had given talk previously. I asked for an introduction to the organizers and asked Karen’s advice on how to get chosen for a position among the speakers.

Ask For Help

Which brings me to the first things I learned from this experience: Ask for help! Even if you don’t need it, but especially if you can use it – ask people you respect for their thoughts and opinions. When possible, ask from a place of excitement rather than desperation. I’ve been on both sides and know that asking from desperation or being asked from a desperate person are both no fun. Karen gave me two pieces of advice. The first was an introduction to the organizers. The second, which I would never have thought to do myself, was submit three talk requests to be considered. I don’t know which of these made a bigger difference, but together they worked.

Introductions Matter

This idea is tossed around a lot but my experience of speaking at Ignite reinforced the idea. Having a friend on the inside, of course, means I’ll be more likely considered for a speaking position. This isn’t biased and unfair treatment, it just makes sense that the organizers are busy, have limited time, and are more likely to choose someone who is, by affiliation, not crazy, than someone they don’t know.

Scratching For An Idea

I take the word “scratching” from Twyla Tharp, who discusses scratching as a part of the creation process in The Creative Habit. My scratching looked like this: