Ignite Minneapolis #7 speaker Lori Koppelman

Speaking at Ignite

Deadline for submissions: Midnight on Sunday, April 22, 2018

Know all this stuff already? Go straight to the Talk Submission Form. Otherwise, read on.

Speaking at Ignite is an unforgettable experience. You step up to the mic, your palms sweat, you can hear the thump of your blood rushing, your voice cracks for an instant, and then you launch into a rant for 300 straight seconds, wearing your passion on your sleeve, barely pausing to breathe. The crowd goes wild.

What’s your burning idea?

There is no theme for Ignite. You can talk about virtually anything as long as you can show us your passion for it. What’s the thing you most geek out about? What’s the topic of conversation that quickens your pulse and sets your toe a-tappin’? That is what we want to hear you speak about.

This ain't self-help time

Some people think Ignite is about self-help talks. It isn't. Nobody wants to hear a preachy pep talk. We're already "good enough and smart enough," so let's keep this about you and your passionate ideas.


All speakers get equal time and equal billing. All talks are 5 minutes. You create 20 slides, and we set them up to auto-advance every 15 seconds.

The Ignite Audience

The audience at Ignite is generous and patient. They know the Ignite format is difficult, and they realize you might be an absolute beginner at public speaking. Don’t worry – they’ve got your back. You’re giving them your passion and your vulnerability, and they love you for that. You won’t find a more appreciative audience at any other event.

Some Must-Watch Talks

This playlist contains some must-watch talks, especially if you've never been to an Ignite Minneapolis event before.

If you've never been to an Ignite Minneapolis event, we highly recommend you watch the talks in this playlist. There's a special kind of energy at Ignite Minneapolis and you need to be prepared for it. These talks will help you do that.

If you have attended Ignite Minneapolis before, watch these talks anyway. They're excellent examples of how to structure and deliver a compelling Ignite talk that grabs hold of the audience and delivers unexpected insights.

Tips on getting picked

Before each event the speaker selection committee will read through, score, and discuss between 70-100 talk submissions before winnowing them down to just 18 selected speakers. If you want to get picked, you’ll need to stand out. Here are the main factors we’ll rank your talk submission against.

  1. Topic. Will the topic be interesting to a wide and diverse audience? Does it have the potential to offer unexpected insights?
  2. Communication. Does the speaker seem able to communicate the thesis and flow of the talk effectively? Is the submission lucid and organized? Does the passion come across?
  3. Idea. To what degree is the submission about a new idea or story? If it starts to sound like self-promotion, even a little bit, this score will plunge precipitously.
  4. Known entity. Is there a record of the speaker giving other talks that suggest they’d be good at Ignite?

The first two are weighed more heavily. State your topic, but focus on your talk. While you should be able to convey your topic, the most important thing is that you convey a sense of how your talk will be structured. What is the main thesis? What are some of the supporting points? Will it be mostly funny, or mostly serious? Give away your spoilers – nobody's going to see this except the selection committee. Describe how you're envisioning your slides.

Number 4 can give an otherwise mediocre score a real boost. So if you’ve done other speaking gigs about a similar topic, make sure we know about them, especially if they’re viewable online.

Seriously, no pitching

Finally, we’re serious about the no pitching thing. We know that sometimes a speaker must mention their profession in order to give their talk context, which is totally fine, but Ignite is not the place to tout your organization or to troll for clients. The “pitch my company or product” checkbox on the submission form is a “gotcha.” If you tick it, we’ll know you weren’t paying attention.

You have 5 minutes. Enlighten us, but make it quick.

Alright. Now you're ready. Submit your talk.