Why You Should Try Lightning Talks

Charlie Koster
4 min readApr 29, 2017

A Lightning Talk is an informal ~6 minute presentation where anyone can speak about anything they want.

The idea of doing Lightning Talks at the office sprung up more than two years ago and since then Aviture has been doing internal Lightning Talks on a bi-weekly basis.

Every other week up to four Aviturians sign up for a 10 minute slot (6 minute talk + a couple minutes for questions/overtime). The topics have ranged from Data Visualization to ADHD, from showing off your side project to describing helpful UX tips, from how a startup incubator works to how to budget as an adult. We’ve even had a talk on lingual accents which was particularly entertaining.

Why Lightning Talks?

Knowledge Sharing

Sharing knowledge within a company can be tricky business. Teams can be working on different parts of a product, working in different business divisions, or teams may be working in different geographic locations. All of these factors can put up impermeable knowledge barriers within your company.

Lightning Talks can periodically bring teams together to break down those knowledge barriers. It’s an opportunity for teams to escape whichever silo they work in and cross pollinate ideas and information with other teams.

Practice Speaking

Giving a Lightning Talk is a great way to practice public speaking.

  1. You’re in a safe speaking environment. You know your audience, literally. They’re your co-workers. Most of the time giving a Lightning Talk is analogous to speaking at a work meeting, except it’s far less formal and more fun.
  2. The talks are completely informal. Slides are optional. A demo is optional. Visual aids are optional. There is no process or standard format. The only thing we require is that you convey a message to your audience for up to 6–7 minutes.
  3. The talks are short. Lightning talks are not about monolithic speaking sessions. They are meant to be short and to the point which can easily be accomplished with most topics, even ones you don’t consider yourself an expert in.

It’s difficult to emphasize how beneficial public speaking practice actually is. Public…

Charlie Koster

Software Architect | Conference Speaker | Blog Author