Insider’s guide to presenting and working remotely – Tues. April 28th 7:30pm – live class

Here at Ignite Seattle we’ve been a remote team since 2006. And we’re experts on storytelling and public speaking. We asked ourselves why not put two great things together and help our community? And here it is!

We’ve put together a fun, fast-paced class to help you improve how you present ideas online. Plus some time tested advice on remote working in general.

In this one hour session you’ll learn:

  1. The 5 common mistakes presenters make and how to transcend them
  2. The science behind speaking fears and how to manage them
  3. Why remote presenting is harder and what to do about it
  4. The 5 mistakes remote workers make and how to prevent them
  5. Q&A where your questions will be answered

Your teacher will be pro speaker, remote work expert and Ignite Seattle speaker coach  Scott BerkunIn addition to giving 20 to 30 lectures and keynotes each year, he wrote the bestselling guide to public speaking, Confessions of a Public Speaker and The Year Without Pants, an Amazon book of the year about remote work.

Class will be taught online using Zoom.

REGISTER HERE for our Insider’s guide to presenting and working remotely – Tuesday April 28th at 7:30pm ($10).

Other events like this charge as much as $250. For the Ignite Seattle community, this workshop is only $10. How can you pass up that deal?  (We also provide free tickets to those with need. Just email us.)

Buy your ticket today, before tickets sell out.

(By purchasing a ticket you agree to uphold the Ignite Seattle Code of Conduct.)

Rescheduling Ignite Seattle #42

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the postponement of the next Ignite Seattle (#42) due to be held on June 4. Instead, we plan to hold the event on Thursday, October 8 at Town Hall Seattle. 

At this point any explanation as to why is unnecessary, unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last few months. If that’s the case, please sit down, we’ve got some really bad news…

More info about the postponement, what it means for you, and how COVID is affecting Ignite Seattle is below:

Did you already buy a ticket to the June event? 

Even though the event is technically postponed, we will be sending a full refund to anybody who already bought a ticket. If that’s you, expect the refund in your bank account soonish. Tickets for the October date will be on sale soon.

What effect is COVID-19 having on Ignite Seattle?

Ignite Seattle is a completely volunteer run 501(c)3 nonprofit. Since we have no paid staff, nobody in our organization will be financially hurt by the postponement of our June event. 

However, like everybody else, we are sad. We’ve all lost something during the crisis and losing the next Ignite is just another disappointments for us. 

We hope what’s happening will bring people together to tell more stories, some of which we’d love to see on stage in October. (Now may even be the perfect time to submit a talk.)

As always, we’ll be working to make our next event the biggest and best yet. We hope you’ll be there to join us.

See you in October.

– The Ignite Seattle Team


Top 10 Ignite Seattle Talks of 2019

2019 was a fantastic year for Ignite Seattle! Here are a few highlights:

  • The event moved back into our old home at the beautifully renovated Town Hall Seattle.
  • We added new volunteers to the team.
  • We started a podcast.
  • We had our first open mic.
  • We had two new guest emcees.
  • We became a 501(c)(3) organization!

Thanks to the 35 amazing speakers who shared their stories on our stage and made 2019 an amazing year for Ignite Seattle. We had 226 talk submissions in 2019 and from that list we chose 35 of those speakers.

From that list, I give you our favorite talks of 2019:

I Like Your Shoes, Wanna Be Friends? – Nadine Khoury
Making friends later in life can be tough, especially when you’ve moved to a new place (and maybe doubly so if that place is Seattle). Nadine gives some great tips on making friends.

Saving the Planet With Your Fork – Mary Purdy
Mary is a licensed nutritionist and she gives great tips for eating better for the planet’s sake (and for your own). Spoiler: you don’t have to give up bacon.

Does This p-value Make My Lies Look Good? – Josh Jelin
Josh’s cleverly titled talk shows us how others lie with numbers and how you can too! NOTE: one of those statements is false.

I’m the Weirdo Who Left the Elevator Note – Sixta Morel
Sixta moved to Seattle from the Dominican Republic and found Seattleites a little, um, different than people in her home country. The Seattle freeze is real and Sixta shares how we can melt it a little more.

Cats, Rats, A.I., Oh My! – Ben Hamm
Ben’s talk was one of the most viewed talks in Ignite Seattle’s history. You’ll see why when he shows you how he built his smart cat door using off-the-shelf parts and a little cloud based machine learning know how.

A Transgender Band Walks Into A Rural Olympic Peninsula Bar… – Ginger Chien
I’m pretty sure that their wasn’t a dry eye in the room for Ginger’s talk about her journey to (what she thought would be) an unwelcoming place.

An Immigrant’s Battle – Salome Munyaka
What’s in a name? Kenyan-born Salome Munyaka’s light hearted talk details her challenges moving to the United States and teaches ways that you can make an immigrant’s life a little bit easier.

Convincing People: An Attorney’s Guide to Negotiation — Alexander Theoharis
Isn’t your way the best way? Alexander Theoharis outlines 3 methods of always getting your way (without the other side losing).

The Unbearable Lightness of Being… – Bruce Dawson
Do you ever get tired of going the same way to work every day? Ignite Seattle alum, Bruce Dawson got carried away answering that question by getting other people to do all the heavy lifting 😉

OCD is a Family Affair – Melissa Reaves
Melissa delivers an intense personal story about what it’s like living with OCD both as person who has it and parenting a child that is learning to manage it.

Dating Tips from a Former Dominatrix – Miss Kaila Yi
What do a dungeon and the dating world have in common? Veteran dominatrix, Miss Kaila Yi outlines what she’s learned from her career and how it applies to having more fulfilling relationships.

Whew… what a year 🙂

We’re looking forward to a fantastic 2020 and our next event is February 27th at Town Hall Seattle. Buy your tickets now.

Announcing Guest Host Sumit Basu – for Ignite Seattle #41

At our last event, we had our second guest host Rovina Broomield. We’ve done this twice now (first was organizer Nicole Steinbok), and it’s been so much fun and they’ve done so well, we’re having one more.

This time, we’re very excited to announce it’s Ignite Seattle alum Sumit Basu. He’ll be the host (formerly called MC) for the evening, introducing the audience to the Ignite format and inviting our speakers to the stage.

Tickets are on sale now (early bird price of $10) and as usual, we expect to sell out, so don’t wait. And talk submissions are currently open, if you have a story or lesson you’d like to share with your city (and the world).

Sumit spoke at Ignite Seattle #37 at the Egyptian about “De-Mystifying The Instant Pot” which you can (and should) watch below.

Why are Ignite Talks Only Five Minutes Long?

We often get asked why do speakers only get 5 minutes? The answer is obvious to us: most presentations, most of the time, aren’t very good. One reason why is that with 20, 30 or 60 minutes, there’s no natural way for speakers to make sure they get to the heart of their story or lesson and stay there. We take seriously the idea that if you can’t use 5 minutes on stage well, why would we give you more? We’re convinced a shorter format helps speakers do a good job, even inexperienced ones. It forces them to prepare, practice and refine. It also creates energy, drama and allows more people to share the stage at our events.

Although Ignite began in Seattle in 2006, there is a long history of short-form speaking events. In 1917, The Four Minute Men worked for the U.S. government to convey information to citizens. More recently, in 2000, software developer Mark Jason Dominus realized most speakers were far from concise. They go on too long and rarely make their points clearly no matter how much time they have. His solution? Instead of giving them 60, 30 or even 20 minutes, just give them five. The time limit was the only rule, and he called this format the lightning talk. Today events do 99 second or 60 second talks, and in some cases allow anyone brave enough to walk up to the microphone to take a turn.

In a similar spirit of brevity, Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham from the architecture firm Klein-Dytham wanted to inspire creative people to express themselves more clearly. In 2003 they started a new format for presentations called Pecha Kucha (pronounced pe-chak-cha), with the goal of making presentations fun and interesting, and increasing the number of speakers that can present in a few hours. Their format is 20 slides and 20 seconds for each slide (20×20), for a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

In 2006 Brady Forest and Bre Petis, who worked for O’Reilly Media at the time, created the first Ignite event, an evening of short talks and socializing here in Seattle. It was an experiment to see if the Seattle community wanted a more dynamic and social speaking event. They simplified the format to 20 slides, with 15 seconds per slide, to make a nice round number of five minutes. It went well. They promoted the idea of the event and there are now dozens of them around the world.

Here at Ignite Seattle, two of our major goals are sharing diverse stories and teaching the craft of storytelling. To achieve this we provide free coaching to all of our speakers to help them master the five-minute Ignite format as well as gain confidence in all of the core skills of public speaking.

[This is a revised version of The End Of Boring Presentations, Forbes.com]

5 Reasons To Submit a Talk Idea To Ignite Seattle

UPDATE: Submissions are now closed. Thank you to all who submitted.

Submissions are currently open for our next main stage event, Ignite Seattle #40, on Thursday, Oct. 3rd at Town Hall Seattle (Tix $10). If you’ve thought about proposing a talk in the past, now is a great time. Here are 5 reasons why you should do it:

  1. It’s Seattle’s best live audience. We fill the great hall at Town Hall Seattle with almost 1000 of the most curious and supportive people you will ever speak in front of. They’ll cheer you on, laugh at your jokes and appreciate the effort you put in.
  2. You get to think about what you really care about. Submitting a talk is a forcing function: it gets you to think about your life experiences and knowledge and what you most wish to share, or want people to understand. Even if you don’t get in, you’ll better understand yourself (or realize you might need some more adventure in your life to make for new stories!)
  3. Receive free expert speaker coaching. We do everything we can to help our speakers, including two practice sessions with expert speaker coach Scott Berkun.
  4. You’ll become part of the Ignite Seattle family. For more than ten years we’ve put some of the most interesting people in our city on our stage, and you’ll be invited to our alum events to meet and get to know many of them.
  5. We give you great advice on what we’re looking for. Read our handy little guide that explains the common mistakes people make, how submissions get chosen, and what kinds of topics and ideas are most likely to get accepted.

Submissions close on August 22. Don’t wait! Go here to see the form and get started.

August 19th: Ignite Seattle’s Public Speaking Workshop

Get past your fears, learn new skills, have some fun and buy your ticket to our next public speaking workshop today.

Want to improve your ability to tell your story? Learn how to organize and structure a truly compelling presentation? Or finally get past your fears of speaking in public? At Ignite Seattle we’ve been coaching and training speakers for years and we want to teach you what we know.

Join us on Monday, August 19th for a fun and fast paced evening where you will learn everything you need to know about storytelling and public speaking. We’ll give actionable and proven advice on:

  • How to tell better stories at work or in life (and do it fast!)
  • The 6 common mistakes speakers make and how to avoid them
  • The science behind speaking fears and how to manage them
  • Q&A where you biggest and toughest questions will be answered
  • Advice for getting talk proposals accepted at events like Ignite Seattle, TEDx, etc.
  • Plus a few volunteers who come prepared with 60 seconds of a talk will get an expert critique

This event is not focused on the Ignite format, although it is referenced, and you do not need to have a talk prepared to attend!

Your coach will be professional speaker and Ignite Seattle emcee Scott BerkunIn addition to giving 20 to 30 lectures and keynotes each year, he wrote the bestselling guide to public speaking, Confessions of a Public Speaker.

Other events like this charge as much as $250. For the Ignite audience, this workshop on August 19th is only $10. How can you pass up that deal?  (We also provide free tickets to those with need. Just email us.)

Buy your ticket today, before tickets sell out.

(By purchasing a ticket you agree to uphold the Ignite Seattle Code of Conduct.)

5 great reasons to come to Open Mic @ Ignite Seattle

Over the years, Ignite Seattle has grown to be a wildly popular, well curated and high-quality storytelling event. But way back at the beginning there was a chaotic fun in our first events in 2006, surprises and unexpected moments, that don’t happen often anymore. But now that’s back, with our first ever Open Mic evening.

When: Monday, July 8th, 7pm
Where: Market Theater (Pike Place Market)
Tickets: $5 on sale now

Here are 5 great reasons you and your friends should come.

  1. We don’t know what’s going to happen! We’ve never seen these talks before. Some will be amazing! Some will be… less than amazing! Ignite talks are high risk, with automated slides, so you may see some amazing things and some spectacular failures. Or some talks that are some of both. We’re excited to see what happens and you should be too.
  2. We’re in a smaller and cozier venue. We’ll be at the Market Theater, home of the improv group, and our friends, Unexpected Productions, and it has a lovely college vibe and a cozy bar just a few steps away from where you’ll sit. We love Town Hall Seattle, but Market theater is great for the vibe this event is going to have. The Ignite Seattle team will be there, so you can easily chat with us, give feedback and suggest other things we should be doing.
  3. Talks are only 3 minutes long. To quicken the pace and give room for more folks to take the stage, talks are only 3 minutes, 2 minutes shorter than the standard Ignite format. Don’t forget that you can say a lot in 3 minutes – the Gettysburg address can be read in under 2 minutes.
  4. Tickets are only $5. That’s less than half the price of a movie ticket, and you’ll get live action, high drama, high stakes edutainment and storytelling, performed live on stage (and no sequels or prequels or Nyquils). It’s a bargain in every way.
  5. There’s a great talk lineup. Maybe curation is overrated? The list of talks are challenging, interesting, funny and inspired. All things we know Ignite Seattle fans love to hear.

Talk / Speaker List (order TBD)

  • My Personal Experience with ID Theft – Christopher Wilson
  • An Unexpected Call for Courage – Kiesha Garrison
  • What My Kids Teach Me About Networking – Lynette Garcia
  • Data Bases and 3D Paintings – Bronson Shonk
  • Good News & Bad News A New Way To Deal With Things You Don’t Want to Hear – Matt Jensen
  • My Crimes and My Punishments – Daniel Baird
  • Out of the Box Belonging – Rebecca Kathleen Andersen
  • How to Be Old, Pissed off, and Wildly Hilarious* in Five Easy Steps –  Ro
  • Toss the Design Porn and Find Your Happy Place – Rebecca West
  • Blockchain for Direct Democracy – Ana Jamborcic
  • The Lonely ‘Lancer – Melissa Strawn
  • Escaping Ordinary Consciousness Through Sex– Jen Martin
  • Happy Birthday Women’s Suffrage! – Tonya Peck
  • C Level Under 30 – Altagracia Daly
  • 3 Lessons From the Commune – Uri israel
  • Why are Disability Products so #$@&%*! ugly? – Sarah Dillingham
  • One – Lennee Reid
  • Planning a Themed Wedding (if your theme is disaster) – Laura Williams Argilla
  • Quitter to Queen: How Getting Fired at Forty Changed My Life for the Better – Riah Gonzalez
  • The Life Changing Magic of Firing Marice – Marice Sy

You really don’t want to miss this. It’s going to be a special and memorable night in the 13 year history of Ignite Seattle. It may never happen again!

Get your tickets ($5) now.

Ignite Open Mic Submissions are Now Open

UPDATE: Submissions are now closed!

If you read last week’s announcement, you’ll know that we’re putting on a new Open Mic event on July 8th at the Market Theater in Seattle (7pm-9pm).

The first 20 talk submissions we receive for the open mic will automatically be accepted to go up on stage on the night.

Submissions are open – currently 0 slots available (last updated 6/26). If you act soon you can be on our stage. Scroll down for details.

If you’re more partial to being an audience member, you can buy a $5 ticket for the event right now by clicking here.

How do I submit my talk?

For the Ignite Open Mic, we want to see 20 speakers giving 3 minute talks. Each talk will follow a Ignite format. Slides will still change automatically every 15 seconds, meaning you need to include a 12 slide PowerPoint presentation with your submission.

To become one of our 20 speakers, send us an email at openmic@igniteseattle.com with the following included:

  1. Your full name. (E.g. Major Tom)
  2. The title of your talk. (E.g. Being a Space Oddity)
  3. A short description of what your talk is about. (E.g. I’ll tell a story about the time I went into space in a rocket and then did a space walk.)
  4. Your completed PowerPoint slideshow for the event: this should be 12 slides long and in PPT format. We’ve created a handy template you can use to start you off.

If you make it into the first 20 submissions, we’ll send you a reply within a few days to confirm that you’re going up on stage. Please assume when you submit that you’ll be doing a talk. (So make sure you’re free on the evening of July 8th.)

Being a speaker will get you free access to the open mic. It will also be a great opportunity to wow a supportive audience and the Ignite organizers. Most important of all, you’ll have a whole lot of fun.

We’re looking forward to seeing your submissions!
– The Ignite Seattle Team

Announcing: Ignite Open Mic

A new way to speak

We’ve been getting over 80 talk submissions for Ignite lately. But only 12 of those speakers make it up on stage.

We want everybody to have the chance to do an Ignite talk, so we’re starting a new event: Ignite Open Mic. 

How does it work?

From June 13th, we’ll start accepting submissions for our open mic night which will take place on July 8th. The first (reasonable) 20 submissions we receive will automatically go up on stage. We’ll be playing with our format a little: this time speakers will only have 3 minutes to give their talk.

Anybody can submit to the first Ignite Open Mic, but we’ll also be reaching out to people who previously submitted Ignite talks to give them a chance to shine.

There’s more info below if you’d like to speak or buy a ticket!

When is it happening?

Want to see 20 speakers take to the stage to give a 3 minute Ignite talk? Here are all the details you need:

Date: July 8th
Time: 7pm-9pm
Location: Market Theater, Post Alley, Seattle
Cost: $5 (cheaper than a fancy IPA!)

Buy your ticket now

But I want to speak!

You lovely, amazing person. Read carefully.

Submissions are open and go here for all the details. If you’re accepted to speak, we’ll send you a reply within a few days to let you know more about the event.

The first 20 submissions we receive will go up on stage. Let’s say the first “reasonable” submissions, just to cover us if somebody submits something really mean spirited.

With your submission, you will need to submit your PowerPoint presentation, along with some other essential details, like your name, talk title and a short description.

For our open mic, we want to see 3 minute talks, with 12 slides which will change automatically every 15 seconds.

Why take part?

For being our open mic guinea pig, you’ll get a free ticket to the event and a chance to earn the respect and admiration of your audience.

But you also get a chance to impress us too. We’re always looking for different ways to get quality speakers on stage at our main Ignite events. We make no promises, but this could be the first step in your path to becoming one of those lucky 12 speakers at Ignite 40. 

See you at Ignite Open Mic!