Ignite Cardiff 

IMG_0323That’s not a plea to set fire to my current place of residence, but the name of a bi-monthly presentation night hosted at a The Glee Club in Cardiff Bay.  The premise is simple. 10 presenters deliver a talk about absolutely anything. But there is, of course, a catch: each presentation lasts no more than 5 minutes and is build around 20 Powerpoint slides timed to last exactly 20 seconds.

Until a colleague mentioned Ignite, I had been aware of neither the presentation style nor concept of events based around them. However, I was aware of – and have used – PechaKucha, of which this is a variation.  I still have no idea what impelled me, but I found myself checking out the website and, on an impulse, applied to be a speaker. I truly believed that I would not be invited to speak, so was delighted when I was.

I abandoned my first presentation. ‘We’re not so Different, you and me’ looked at the many and varied similarities between Wales and Cornwall but my heart wasn’t in the subject so I couldn’t feel enthusiastic about the finished product. I spent many frustrating hours tweaking my slides, but only felt truly happy when I decided to change the subject completely and settled on a theme that I feel more comfortable with: Doctor Who, or more specifically, ‘How Doctor Who Saved me from Becoming an Evil Overlord’.

Having delivered dozens of presentations and addresses over the years I was surprised at how nervous I was. It’s easy to espouse the benefits of student analytics and QR codes to your peers and nerves have never been an issue for me. I enjoy speaking publicly (but, oddly, clam up in public when around anyone I don’t know) and a larger audience doesn’t intimidate me. This time though, I experienced a proper dose of stage fright, as you can see in my very nervy performance:

Though I wasn’t terrible, I certainly couldn’t compete with most of the other presentations I saw that night. But that’s alright. It has made me look at my delivery from the ground up and there’s certainly some stuff to I need to work on (pace, stance, language use and hair style being just a few). And I’ll tell you what: in a year I am going to ask if I can present at a future Ignite event, and if they let me I am going to be a whole lot better.

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