How to Fine Tune Your Presentation Skills

Ignite San Francisco is one of the best venues for fine tuning your presentation skills. You have to present 20 slides that advance automatically every 15 seconds, no more no less.

It’s not a pitch competition or demo day, so topics are really varied from “how to have a hot body” to “if we could build the matrix should we?”. So why is this a good venue for startup founders? If you cannot present something in 5 minutes and keep people interested in what you have to say, how can you present to a) raise money; b) sell your product; c) hire talent; d) all of the above! ?

I’ve done one a ignite-type talk (they are also called Pecha Kucha, and some call them ‘lightning talks’), back in 2009 at the Business of Software conference and it’s not easy. It requires you to rehearse a lot and really know the topic. But more importantly, is fun!

Check out the upcoming Ignite events in your area and attend one to see what it’s like. If you’re going to the next one in San Francisco, a few tips:

1. Get there early. The doors open at 6pm and by 5:50pm there were already 30 people ahead of me in line. By 6:15pm the line was going around the corner.

2. Eat first, network later. With over 400 people attending the event, the line next to the food tables (you buy your own food, which was excellent by the way) was loooong, so those who lined up early were able to eat sooner. Then you’re ready for a beer and networking.

3. Network a bit first, but grab a seat fast. There aren’t enough seats for everyone, so network a bit but grab a seat fast or you’ll be standing up for the next couple hours. There’s more networking opportunities during the break and right after the talks.

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