We usually call for speakers about three months before each Ignite event. We ask you to submit a short proposal describing your idea. A panel of judges reviews each submissions in order to select 16 speakers. We announce those speakers about a month ahead of time. Check out speak.ignitebaltimore.com to see whether we are currently accepting speakers.
First things ﬁrst: there arenʼt any rules when it comes to proposing an Ignite talk. We donʼt place any automatic restrictions on subject matter and youʼre free to submit anything you like. Each proposal is judged equally and on its own merits.
That said, our goal is to assemble an interesting program that will inspire the audience and get them talking. So in order to help meet that goal, weʼve put together some notes on what we are and arenʼt looking for in hopes that itʼll help you formulate your thoughts.
Keeping the following in mind, then adding liberal doses of individuality and creativity, will signiﬁcantly improve the odds of your talk getting chosen.
This is as close to a hard-and-fast rule as we have. Anything that looks or feels like a proposal designed to market or promote a business, an individual, or a product will almost certainly not be chosen. Itʼs not that youʼre not allowed to talk about your work or your business, but if you intend to do so it should be in such a way that it informs a larger idea.
Think of it this way: you should never be selling from the stage. A good talk about a good idea (or ideas) will engage and excite people on its own merits. If you donʼt think your proposal ﬁts that criteria then it probably doesnʼt.
There are countless ways to do this. For example, you can:
Obviously every speaker by nature represents her or his activities and work. Sometimes thatʼs a critical component of a good talk. But, again, a strong proposal will show that the idea comes ﬁrst. Your organization (or business/job/cause/politics) should be secondary to the strength of what youʼre proposing to present.
People come to Ignite to see things they havenʼt seen anywhere else. Thereʼs nothing wrong with giving a talk that youʼve given before but we encourage you to think beyond that. If you are proposing a talk that youʼve given before, consider adapting it and making it fresh and new.
Anyone who has ever given an Ignite talk can tell you that they are tough. The format is weird and challenging. So, keep that in mind as you think about your proposal and try to develop something that will work well within the 20 slides, 5 minutes,15 seconds each restriction. Better to build that into your thinking from the beginning – itʼll come through in the way you write up your proposal and, ultimately, make for a better talk if youʼre chosen.
The best talks weʼve had have been the ones that were fueled by true passion. If you start there, it will come through in your proposal and that means weʼre much more likely to notice your idea and include it in the program.
Itʼs always easy for us to tell which proposals have been thought through and which were cobbled together. Itʼs also generally pretty easy for us to tell which proposals were truly created with the Ignite Baltimore format and audience in mind. The ones that get both of these things right always have a better chance of getting picked than the ones that donʼt.
If your talk is selected, we will ask that you not read it from notes when youʼre on the stage. Doing so greatly diminishes the impact. So, when considering your proposal, put together something that youʼll be able to rehearse and then deliver in a way that allows you to fully engage the audience.
Some of the most interesting talks from past editions of Ignite Baltimore are featured on our homepage at ignitebaltimore.com. We strongly encourage starting there and getting familiar with what has worked well in the past.
Still have questions? Feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and weʼll be happy to try to help. Please keep in mind, though, that this is a volunteer effort and while we reply as quickly as we can, patience is appreciated.
Most of all, thanks for your interest. Weʼre looking forward to hearing what you have to say!