Community Management Wiki

A lightning talk is a short presentation, usually limited to five minutes. Lightning talks are often scheduled as part of Conferences or other community gatherings, and commonly occur in a block of an hour or more. The practice of lightning talks originated with the Perl community.

Best practices[]

  • Don't limit the subject matter. Some of the best (or at least the most entertaining) lightning talks are those which are a bit off-the-wall.
  • Take signups close to the time, ideally right up to the start of the lightning talk session. Provide a whiteboard or signup sheet for people to put their names on.
  • Don't let the speakers use a projector. The time taken to set up each laptop to present will cause unwieldy gaps between presentations. The speaker can use other aids though -- written/printed notes, hand puppets, or whatever.
  • Instead, use the projector (if you have one) to project a countdown timer.
  • If you don't project a visible timer, have a time-keeper near the front of the room with a gong, bell, or very loud voice to stop people when their time is up.
  • Lightning talks work well in the evening, especially after the crowd has had a couple of drinks.
  • Encourage creativity: lightning talks in poetic form, with costumes, etc can be great fun.