Lightning Talks: The Hidden Gem at Agile2017

Added to Community

I have been attending Agile20xx conferences for years now, and last year I was asked to co-chair of the Lightning Talks track. I had heard of lightning talks before, and liked the idea of them, but didn't have much experience with how they worked in practice. So, I didn't really know what to expect, and I was blown away - they were one of my favorite parts of the conference. I heard several similar comments from others that had attended for the first time. Below, I'll share what I learned about the format, what I love about Lightning Talks, and how you can get involved.

The format

The purpose of the Lightning Talk Track is to provide a lightweight, flexible opportunity for conference attendees to share valuable information with other participants. Presentations are short with one of the following formats:

  • 3 minute Lightning Talk (no slides)
  • 5 minute Lightning Talk (slides)
  • 7 minute Pecha Kucha style presentation

What I love about Lightning Talks

With such a short format, Lightning Talks get right to the point. The constraints lead to creative ways to share an important topic without the luxury for any rambling or "filler". Speakers have to give you the 80/20 slice - the 20% of the content that gives you 80% of the benefit. In an hour, you get to hear around eight different lightning talks, so there's a great variety of content and a high likelihood that one of the topics will be really interesting to you. There's always a fun and supportive energy in the room. Last year, we had to turn participants away due to fire code restrictions!

How you can get involved

Submit: If you're attending the conference, you can submit your Lightning Talk Proposal here through July 26, midnight EST. We will fill the available slots with input from community voting. If there are open slots after the submissions close, we take last minute proposals during the conference.

Vote: If you want to provide input into sessions, you can vote at the same link above. See the FAQ under the Lightning Talks track for guidelines about lobbying for votes. Voting closes July 26 at midnight EST.

Attend: Come to the Lightning Talks on Thursday. Check SCHED for all of the details. Get there early in case we end up with standing room only again!

About the Author

My passion is catalyzing personal and organizational development to better deliver on purpose.


This is an Agile Alliance community blog post. Opinions represented are personal and belong solely to the author. They do not represent opinion or policy of Agile Alliance.