Pitches vs. Talks

by Scott Berkun on January 15, 2013

in Seattle,Speakers

For every Seattle Ignite we get dozens of submissions. Some fall right on the line between being an interesting talk and being a sales pitch. Sales pitches have their place, but Seattle Ignite isn’t it.

We know our audiences don’t like it. They don’t want to merely be sold something.

Instead the heart of any Ignite talk should be one of the following:

  • Inspiration
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Great Storytelling

If along the way or at the end you mention the URL for your website, or your twitter handle, that’s great! We very much want people to learn more about you, or your project, when your talk is over. But don’t confuse your 5 minutes of fame with a free 5 minute advertisement. If you go too far we’ll have a hard time inviting you back.

If you want to talk about a book or blog:

  • Pick stories, facts and lessons and talk about those (one chapter or post is enough)
  • Think of the talk as the movie version of your book, not the trailer for the movie
  • Deliver substance, not teasers

If your talk is about an organization or company:

  • Focus on a personal story: such as who founded it, how and why
  • Focus on a meaningful result: the story of one person, family, place or thing that was helped (or not)

If your talk is about a cause or campaign:

  • If it’s a non-profit there is more room for pitching – we’re a community and like to help community builders
  • You should still focus on telling a great story though

If you’re not sure if you’re going to far, we’re happy to help guide you. If you really just want to market to our audience, consider being a sponsor.

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