So you’ve attended our events and are an expert in your disease area. You’ve done all the research and are passionate about raising awareness of rare diseases. Then why not do a lightning talk at our upcoming Rare Disease Showcases in Cambridge and Manchester?

‘Oh but I couldn’t!’ I hear you protest, which is an understandable reaction given that you may not have experience in public speaking and the idea of speaking to a room full of eager faces may seem daunting.

In this week’s blog, you can cast these fears aside as we give you a rundown of our top four tips on how to deliver a successful lightning talk.

First and foremost, what is a lightning talk? A lightning talk is a micro-presentation which lasts five minutes. They condense ideas to their essence and their aim is to inspire the audience to go searching for more information after your talk. Lightning talks play a pivotal role in our showcases as they act as a springboard to stimulate dialogue between attendees, providing a topic of conversation which people from all facets of the rare disease community could have a vested interest in.

Here are our top four tips:

1. Less is more– the aim of your lightning talk is to inspire your audience to research the subject after the presentation rather than flooding them with all of the information about a topic in the shortest time frame possible. Don’t be afraid of not giving your audience everything they need to know!

2. Simplicity is key– You could perhaps use the Takahashi method, which is way of distilling your ideas to their essence by including only one or two words per slide in a large font. This will make it easier for yourself to keep on track, as well as for your audience to understand.

3. The art of delivery– It is all too easy to get so absorbed in your topic that you lose track of the way in which it will be delivered. Arguably, it is the delivery of a lightning talk which takes precedence over the content. Make sure you have logical transitions of ideas in your presentation and that you stay confident. Remember that your audience is rooting for you!

4. Practice, practice, practice– Practice against a timer as much as possible to get an idea of how your presentation will flow. If you find yourself speeding up towards the end of the five minutes to be able to share as much information as possible, then take a step back and consider condensing your presentation.

We hope that these tips will inspire you to put together your own lightning talk! Please email maryrose@findacure.org.uk to put forward your proposal for a lightning talk at one of our showcases.