I am busy preparing for my five minutes at Ignite Raleigh on Wednesday night at the Lincoln Theatre. The format is that each presenter gets five minutes to present their idea and their 20 slides will advance every 15 seconds. I finished my presentation yesterday and sent to the organizers after rehearsing my slides, timing and fine tuning my message.

I think this format should be adopted for every corporate presentation. We’ve all heard about never have more than ten slides. But how many times have you been in a presentation of ten slides that lasted over 30 minutes? Much worse is the person with 20 slides that last an hour or more! I get sleep creep just thinking about it!

The challenge of getting your message across in five minutes is one we should all adhere to. Ideally if you have more to explain you should have an executive summary or a detailed document for your audience to dig into on their own. The new rule should be you have exactly five minutes to present with ten minutes for question and answer session.

Another lesson I learned from preparing this presentation was that it’s not critical to explain every bullet point. Some items are self explanatory and do not need to be repeated. Also if there is time for questions and answers this can be accomplished then. My biggest challenge when presenting is staying focused, on topic and communicating clearly. Interruptions during presentations tend to get us off track and possibly turn the conversation away from the main topic, delving into specifics.

I want to thank the organizers of Ignite Raleigh for a fantastic job of getting over 500 people signed up and excited about this event. If you’re attending tomorrow night say thank you to the sponsors and organizers who have volunteered their time to make it happen (Wayne Sutton @waynesutton; Kipp Bodnar @kbodnar32; Jeff Cohen @dgtlpapercuts; Ryan Boyles @therab).

Brian McDonald

Brian McDonald started Square Jaw Media to document strategies and techniques he had used over his experience working in marketing and communications since 1990. During this time Brian wrote about many of the exciting Raleigh social media events where great knowledge was being shared and tries to share some of the tips and tricks. . Read Brian's full bio.