Lightning Talks is the overall name given to any set of talks in which presenters go through their content very quickly.

Summary by The World of Work Project

Lightning Talks

A lightning strike representing Lightning Talks
Lightening talks can be fast and powerful.

Lightning talks is the name given to any form of fast paced presentation in which speakers need to cover all of their content in a very brief period of time, usually spending only a few seconds on each of their slides. These sessions usually involve 10-20 presenters, each presenting for a brief period of time.

Lightning talks are designed to be faster paced and more engaging than more traditional presentations. They usual involve each speaker covering a different topic. While they provide less detail and depth than more traditional talks, they are also often more engaging and broad ranging than traditional presentations.

PechaKucha talks

“PechaKucha” are events or individual presentations where a speaker presents 20 slides for 20 seconds each (6 minutes and 40 seconds in total per presentation). The idea comes from Japan and the name is a registered tradename. You can read more about these talks here.

Ignite Talks

“Ignite Talks” are fast paced events in which a series of speakers each have a 5 minute slot in which to present 20 slides which automatically skip forward after 15 seconds. The idea is not dissimilar to PechaKucha talks.

A match sparking representing "ignite talks", a form of Lightning Talks
Ignite sessions can spark great ideas and conversations.

Speed Geeking

“Speed Geeking” sessions are similar to other lightning talks, except that they are simultaneous, not sequential.

In speed geeking events the presenters are spread around the outside of a room. The attendees are formed into small groups. The small groups attend one presentation at a time, and rotate through the presentations until they’ve seen everything. Presentations are usually no more than 10 minutes and presenters have to deliver their presentations multiple times.

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Learning More

You might also be interested in facilitation and team building, or world cafes, birds of a feather meetings, fishbowl meetings or communities of interest.

You can learn more about team building activities in our podcast on them:

The World of Work Project View

There isn’t much to say about lightning talks really. In some instances it’s great to cover a wide range of things quickly with an audience, and these approaches will help you do so. The breadth and pace can be stimulating and engaging. At other times, with other audiences or other subject matter, there are huge benefits to more detailed and longer presentations.

It’s good for leaders or facilitators to have a range of presentation styles, particularly if you’re ever delivering a longer event. It’s always important to make sure you choose the approach to presentations that’s right for both the audience and the content. We also think it’s worth using a range of styles in your delivery to keep things fresh.

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This post is a stub that’s based on our experience of attending a range of different presentations and networking events, there are no specific sources for it, with the exception to the PechaKucha sessions which we linked to in the main body of the post.

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