Ben Scofield

me. still on a blog.

The Presenter's Pentathlon

As I mentioned before, I’m thinking a lot about technical presentations and speaking more generally now. As part of that, I’ve had some fun discussions with friends about the different kinds (both content and format) of presentations, about practice, and about related topics, and something interesting has emerged from those talks: the presenter’s pentathlon. The basic idea would be to bring together five or six presenters and run them through a series of events designed to test their speaking prowess. The events might include things like:

  • A fifteen-minute prepared session on a topic of their choosing,
  • A five-minute Ignite-style presentation, again on a topic of their choosing,
  • A five-minute session of presentation karaoke, where they’re given one of the other presenter’s slide decks to speak from,
  • A ten-minute talk without slides on one of a set of topics, provided twenty minutes or so before they hit the stage, and
  • A ten-minute presentation done with a predetermined set of slides, provided an hour before they hit the stage.

We could spice it up by designating one of the talks as adaptability challenges, making something go wrong partway through (projector dies, persistent heckler in the audience, etc.) I think it’d be a lot of fun, for both the speakers and the audience (who’d be judging the performances - perhaps with a live-feedback system à la televised political debates?) So, who’s with me? Let’s get ready to rumble!