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lightning talks

A lightning talk is a short talk, typically only five minutes in duration, providing an opportunity for participants - particularly people not featured in the main programme - to deliver a presentation on a subject of their choosing.

Five minutes isn't a long time, so there usually isn't time for lots of slides, and even a demo has to be done quickly and convincingly. Unless the presenter finishes very quickly (or there's uproar from the audience) questions and answers are dealt with elsewhere.

EuroPython always features lightning talks, and for future reference (and for other conferences), here is how you might go about delivering a lightning talk.

Think Ahead

You probably have an idea that might not justify a full talk but you'd like to share with others. Or perhaps you're at the conference and realise that people need to hear your idea.

Plan Your Talk

You might want to show some slides, a Web site, or a demo during your talk, unless your message is potent enough for people to just sit and listen.

Prepare the ground for this before you're in front of the audience: - make a small number of clear slides; - bookmark that Web site and check to see if it's still working before you step up; - collect together your demo resources so that you can launch the software without having to try and figure out why it doesn't work in front of everyone.

Most important of all: make sure that your computer works with the projector! Or even better, if you're just showing a Web site, why not team up with other presenters so that you don't have to stress about getting your computer connected to the projector at all?

Sign Up

Look out for the lightning talks sign-up board in the main conference area. Write your name and chosen subject in the list.

Show Up

The lightning talk man may set a schedule for the talks, or they might decide to just let the talks happen one after the other in the order given on the sign-up list. Make sure you're in the auditorium for your talk, or you may risk missing your slot and being pushed to the end - not something that you want to happen if you have to leave early, for example.

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