300 seconds to speak

I now know more about hand-dryers, London shopfronts, origami and women’s weightlifting that I did a few days ago.

Why? They’re all topics that were discussed by speakers at 300 seconds at Facebook, London, on Tuesday night. Over the course of a few hours, 14 speakers presented ‘lightning talks’ for 300 seconds (five minutes) each on diverse subject matters, as a chance for them to practice public speaking.

300 secondsThe event was organised by Sharon O’Dea @sharonodea, Ann Kempster @annkempster, Hadley Beeman @hadleybeeman, Louise Kidney @loulouk and Jane O’Loughlin @teacamplondon. The aim was to hear more about the personal and professional passions of peers in the digital community. It was also a chance for people to test out a new presentation and try something new.

I thoroughly enjoyed it for a variety of reasons. I met a really interesting fellow delegate, Abi Roper @abracabadger. She is a Research Speech and Language Therapist who works with people with aphasia and is researching a computer-delivering speech therapy programme and I found her profession fascinating. We met in the reception area at Facebook while waiting to go up to the event, introduced ourselves and started talking.

We chatted before going in, shared a sofa during the event and were still talking on the Tube after it. I found it intriguing to hear her take on communication and language, particularly through research she is doing and we discussed the various crossovers in our professional worlds.

But back to the event. I created a Vine (six-second video clip) as it started and you can see it below:

Speakers included

  • Darci Dutcher, Agile Development and User Experience – best friends or bitter enemies?
  • Alex Blandford, UK Parliament, Digital Democracies: the good, the bad and the OMFG LEAVE ME ALONEs
  • Lily Dart, dxw, 5 awesome things we’ve learnt from gov.uk design
  • Laura DFolding Drupal
  • Emily Webber, Government Digital Service, London Shop Fronts
  • Pippa Davies, FYI Network, How To Digitalise A Small Town
  • Camilla West, The joy of toilet hand dryers
  • Ella Weston, WPP, What can you unlearn from an unconference?
  • Sally Moss, Gubernatrix.co.uk, Women and Weight training
  • Anne Marie Cunningham, Cardiff University, Health Professionals and Social Media
  • Charlotte Curle, Standard Chartered, Going global with a social media campaign
  • Melinda Seckington, Miss Geeky.com, Being a Social Introvert

EmilyI was mesmerised by Emily’s presentation on London Shop Fronts (pictured). It’s a topic I’ve never given any thought to as I’ve walked past shops. Her slides showing the variety and wealth of choice when it comes to design were intriguing and I encourage you to check out her blog: http://www.londonshopfronts.com/

There is an increasing trend for shorter presentations – I saw ‘ignite’ sessions at the Melcrum Digital Comms Summit a few weeks back that were in the same format, but with slides that automatically transitioned to keep the pace up (similar to Pecha Kucha – style – meaning ‘chit-chat’ and is 20 slides at 20 seconds each).

Have you tried something like this before? Would it work in your organisation? How would speakers at your internal events feel if they only had 300 seconds to get their point across? I’d love to know if you try it – do let me know.

Congratulations to the organisers of 300 seconds, I think the format worked well and will look out for future ones. It’s refreshing to listen to topics you don’t know about and to get a snapshot view of different worlds – such as women’s weighlifting. The speaker for that session, Sally, made me chuckle throughout, particularly as she showed a photograph of her hauling a truck and other images that I didn’t expect to see.

What’s on?
If you want to know what events are around for internal comms pros to attend over the coming months, don’t forget to check out the comms calendar I’ve created with my fellow the IC crowd co-founders. If there are events, courses and conferences that you’ve heard of that are missing, do tweet us @theICcrowd or me @allthingsIC.

If you’re attending an event and think readers of my blog would be interested in knowing what went on, do check out my guidelines and get in touch with your idea as I find it hugely beneficial to get peeks into what happened and know from your feedback that readers do too.

Post author: Rachel Miller

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