Back in February I spoke at Ignite Swansea's second event at the wonderfully atmospheric Cinema&Co. The concept is simple, you have 5 minutes, with 20 slides that automatically progress every 15 seconds to talk about an inspiring topic of your choice.
My teaching background gave me the confidence to stand up in front of a room full of people, but the format made me nervous. I am not used to speaking with such rigid timings, enjoying the natural flow of conversation that can be encouraged in a classroom setting.
After lots of practise I arrived on the evening and was told that I had been chosen to speak first. Delight and fear took hold, going first meant that I could finish my talk and simply enjoy the rest of the evening, but also meant that I had to kick things off with a bang.
Once I got going, luckily, everything seemed to fall into place. There were no technical errors - except an initial battle with the microphone height - and I didn't commit any tragic public speaking blunders. It was, in fact, a lot of fun sharing our Pyrenean adventure and it was great to chat to some members of the audience after about their own aspirations for hiking, travel and love of the mountains.
The other talks were a truly diverse blend, covering everything from stickers, feet and online dating to challenging perceptions and stereotypes and taking community action in the face of disaster. The evening definitely achieved its goal with an enthusiastic and invested audience and a great mix of speakers, engaging and inspiring each other.
The next Ignite event will be in the Autumn and you can sign up to be a speaker now! if you don't fancy speaking then watch out for the ticket launch a few weeks before. They are free but they go fast so keep your eyes peeled.