Ignite@AGU: Ready to practice? (And invite folks to attend!)

Our first practice sessions are Thursday and Friday.

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Practice Session Plan 

Our practice sessions via Zoom kick off this week, too. We have blocks from 1-3 p.m. EST on Thursday 11/30 and 3-5 p.m. EST on Friday 12/1. Next week is Thursday 12/7, 1-3 p.m. EST and Friday 12/8, 3-5 p.m. EST.

You do not need to be at every practice or stay the whole time. You do not need a finished presentation (although it does speed up practicing). We just need to see you once to provide feedback, but you are welcome to pop in as many times as helps you feel comfortable with the Ignite format.

Here is what we suggest you prepare:

  • Powerpoint slides at the ready – No themes or backgrounds, please! This helps us make the big slide deck with more ease.
  • Short, snappy titles – In doubt? Check your profile on igniteagu.io and judge your title's length and tone. Or ask our opinion; we can offer suggestions.
  • Start with a script – You can ease up on it later, but especially if ABT and templated slides are a new format to you, then try practicing with a script.
  • Big images – And we mean BIG; take up the whole slide with one photo. Layering is okay, but less is more with Ignite.

Remember, Ignite is not the kind of talk you will hear at the rest of AGU. Short and templated, Ignite is a box to help us reach past our science-talking habits and get creative. Lean in!

And to help, Adler Planetarium science writer and 2022 Ignite presenter Aubrey Henretty has a few more tips…

Aubrey's talk boldly took on song and dance to help explain dark matter pulled back the curtain on her team's science communication processes. It's a great example of visuals, humor, and quirk. 

Her advice…

Don’t hit your audience with too much information too fast.

Your verbs may be strong. Your sentences may be short. But if you ask your audience to make too many conceptual leaps at once — or retain a bunch of facts they’ve never heard before while you weave those facts into a tight, complex argument — you’ll lose almost everyone. What do you REALLY want people to know or understand? How do you want them to feel at the end? Pick something big and say it in an unforgettable way.

Make it personal.

This doesn’t mean “tell a story about yourself” (but if you have a good one, then do it!) — it means find the angle on your topic that nobody but you would ever think of. You can absolutely NAIL the mind-bending implications of a time travel paradox just by showing what would happen if you travelled five minutes into the past to bring yourself a bowl of potato chips.

Love your topic (and your audience).

Assume everyone who is listening to you or reading your work is your friend. How would you introduce your friends (smart people who you love) to a scientific idea you’re obsessed with? Tell them a story about it with the same energy you’d tell them about something beautiful or scary or funny or outrageous that happened to you. Show them why this idea makes you feel this way.

Thanks for taking the time to read! You are a rockstar and our Ignite team can't wait to meet you. 

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