Speaker Guidelines

Here are tried and true guidelines we’ve borrowed from our friends at Ignite Baltimore as they’ve been doing this way longer than we have:

Ignite Annapolis aims to assemble great minds to discuss interesting topics that will inspire a diverse audience and get people talking. While there are no set rules or automatic restrictions on subject matter, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind that will help improve your odds of being selected to speak.

  1. IGNITE IS A FORUM FOR IDEAS, NOT MARKETINGAnything that looks or feels like a proposal designed to market or promote a business, an individual or a product will not be chosen. Include references to your work only if it supports a larger idea. In a nutshell: don’t sell from the stage.
  1. GET PEOPLE THINKING AND TALKINGThere are countless ways to do this. For example, you can:- Explain an innovative way to solve a problem
    – Highlight a new or unexpected way to observe something familiar
    – Demystify a complex process
    – Expose an unseen reality
    – Challenge a preconceived notion or social norm
    – Illuminate a hidden cultural aspect
    – Offer people an actionable challenge
    – Present a new way to consider an opinion
  1. REPRESENT YOUR IDEA, NOT YOUR AN ORGANIZATIONEvery speaker by nature represents her or his activities and work. Sometimes thatʼs a critical component of a good talk, but a strong proposal shows that the idea comes first. Your organization or cause should be secondary to the strength of your idea.
  1. BE ORIGINALPeople come to Ignite to see things they havenʼt seen anywhere else. If you are proposing a topic that you’ve shared before, please refresh your presentation for the Ignite Annapolis audience.
  1. THINK BEFORE SUBMITTINGIgnite talks are intense and the format is incredibly challenging. It’s important to think through your talk before submitting your proposal to make sure your topic will work within the 20 slide-5 minute-15 second format and keeps the Ignite audience in mind.
  1. BE CREATIVE, HAVE FUNThe best talks have been the ones that were fueled by true passion. If you start there, it will come through in your proposal and you’re more likely to get noticed and potentially included in the program.
  1. WATCH PAST TALKS ON THE IGNITE WEBSITESome of the most interesting talks from Ignite events all over the world are featured at http://www.ignitetalks.io/videos. We strongly encourage starting there and getting familiar with what has worked well in the past.
  1. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICELeave your notes at home. The best talks are ones that are unrehearsed and use the slides to support a story, not to be the story themselves.

Tips and FAQs

  • Please provide 20 slides. We will show the slides for 15 seconds before automatically advancing them.
  • We do not allow animation.
  • Please limit your font selection to Arial, Tahoma, Times New Roman or Helvetica.
  • It’s best not to be literal with your slides – imagery will be much more effective than text in this format, so try to have at most a few words per slide (no words = just fine, too).
  • Do not include a slide with your name or presentation title; we provide that for you and this slide doesn’t count towards your 20 slide limit.
  • This format is very unique and you should plan to rehearse extensively, even if you are an experienced speaker.
  • You can create your presentation in PowerPoint or Keynote. However, we’d like you to export your slideshow to a 1024×768 Adobe Acrobat PDF before sending it to us.

Need more info?

These seasoned Ignite producers/presenters provide awesome tips. (Just be sure to make your way back to Ignite Annapolis to submit your presentation!)

How to Prepare for Ignite

Additional Speaker Guidelines

From the Presenter’s Point of View