Let’s discuss reasons why you might be reluctant to submit a spark idea to Ignite Denver. And then, let’s read my responses as to why those ideas should be ignored.

1. I’m not a good public speaker.

To this I say: Me neither!

Don’t get me wrong – it’s no secret that I’m comfortable onstage. However, I’m OK when I get to wing it. I enjoy being up there because I don’t have to pre-plan things. I’m an improviser. Until I got involved in Ignite Denver, I actually turned to the stage primarily as self-care tool to treat my anxiety. While onstage, making things up on the spot, the ugly part of my brain was forced to take a time-out. I guess I sort of used it as a mindfulness exercise.

Giving a talk onstage that is structured is scary. For most people, it’s a really vulnerable experience. I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard the statistic that public speaking is the greatest fear out there. However, I challenge you to find a single Ignite Denver participant who will tell you that their speaking experience with us was anything other than exhilarating and empowering. We have an amazing team of individuals whose only job is to put you at ease and aid you in putting together the best presentation possible with all the love we can muster.

2. I want to talk about something that might not be real interesting to others.

You would be so surprised by how open and receptive the Ignite Denver audience is to topics. I think, oftentimes, it’s the seemingly “weird” talks that have wound up being the most captivating. Hell, you might tap into a topic that inspires someone to do something or try something or laugh about something they never had considered until that moment you started talking.

3. I’ve never been to an Ignite Denver show before. I should do that first.

Did you know we have our own YouTube channel? We do! I had never been to a show prior to my first experience as an Ignite Denver speaker. However, I spent hours watching the videos. I got so inspired by seeing the talks online. If someone has mentioned Ignite Denver to you and suggested you should get involved, please don’t let your lack of involvement up to this point be the reason you choose not to give it a shot.

4. PowerPoint is scary and the idea of having to put together slides is totally overwhelming.

I am so with you on this one. If you’ve been able to convince yourself that you have a topic you want to discuss, and you’re willing to risk being onstage, please do not let your fear of putting images to your presentation be the reason to stop you in your tracks. I’m technologically challenged. At committee meetings, it’s not unusual for me to be the only one without a laptop in front of me. Shocking confession: I still use notepads. My calendar is made of paper. I KNOW! I’m a freak of nature. The thing is, the slides are secondary to your talk. If your spark is selected, I would encourage you to write your speech, create an outline, or however you build your talk most comfortably first. The slides don’t have to be the focus until later. Your talk is enhanced by the slides, not the other way around. The slides should be predominantly built up of images, not words. Hell, you could even build your slides by drawing them yourself, or using photographs you’ve taken.  I promise, the audience is more focused on you than the pictures behind you (unless you have included pictures of yourself dressed up as a zombie clown or a photograph of poop in the toilet – you know who you are). Again, our committee is here to help you. If you are worried about building your deck of slides, there are so many of us totally ready to offer assistance and support.

5. I’m too old. Or too young. Or any other limiting personal opinion you may have of yourself.

The greater the diversity, the better our show. If anything, this excuse should be a specific reason as to why you absolutely should submit an idea.

Please consider taking a chance on Ignite Denver by submitting a spark idea. You still have time! Everyone is so stoked to read about what you want to say. Join us tonight for an educational workshop: Building a Spark Pitch. You have until September 1st to submit a spark idea here. The voting process will be open through September 8th, and speakers will be announced on September 11.

Personally, I want to meet you. I want to see you try something new. So, if nothing else, do it for me. You’ll make my day.

Want to hear more from Kat? Check her out over here.