Lightning Talk Guidelines

(Adapted from Mark Fowler’s PERL article 7/30/04)


  • Offers an opportunity for speakers to present exciting ideas and programs that do not require the length of a longer talk
  • Offers a variety of topics to a large audience without them having to change locations


  • Talks should be energetic, exciting, challenging
  • The entire session will consist of no more than 5 lightning talks
  • Talks last no more than seven minutes each


  • No more than 20 presentation slides
  • Moderator will notify speaker at specific time intervals and end session promptly after seven minutes
  • Question/Answer period, if any, must occur within the seven-minute time limit; we do not recommed Q&A due to the session format constraints.


  • Make the point and explain it quickly (though do not rush)
  • Always keep your rapport with your audience, not the computer
  • Don’t get caught up in background info (no more than one minute)
  • Only include details if they are necessary and fit within the overall scope for such a short presentation
  • Slides should show things to the audience, not help presenter remember what to talk about
  • Provide contact info somewhere (e.g., on the last slide) in presentation materials (or on a handout)
  • Practice, practice, practice to fit it into seven minutes


  • Send PowerPoint, PDF and/or other presentation materials to LIGHTNING_EMAIL_INFO by LIGHTNING TALK SLIDES DUE
  • Meet with the Lightning Talk coordinator before lunch on LIGHTNING TALKS DATE to test and verify PowerPoint, web links, etc, prior to your talk
  • Give handouts (if any) to moderator prior to presentation

If There Are Any Problems...

  • Someone from LOEX will be ready to assist, but in the main, if something unexpected happens, just keep talking and move on


  • Encourage the audience to talk with you later individually during conference
  • Remember – you have seven minutes total – that’s it!