Author: Guest Writer

Setting your presentation up for widescreen [16:9] format


Open your presentation and select File. Then Page Setup as shown below.

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In the dialogue box that opens select the drop menu next to Slides sized for: and select On-screen Show (16:9) then click OK.

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If you have changed an existing presentation you will need to check that any images have not been stretched and resize them.


To change the aspect ratio of your slides in Keynote first [if it’s not already open] open up the Inspector window as shown in the image below.

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Then making sure you are on the document tab select your screen size. 1280 x 720 will give you a 16:9 aspect slide.

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Leap Reasons To Attend Ignite Denver #22

We don’t need an extra day to give you extra reasons to come to Ignite Denver #22 on Thursday night, but here are TWO:

One: Ultralowfi is bringing their brand of stripped-down jams back to Ignite Denver! Check their website for a taste of what you’ll get to see and hear at the Oriental Theater:

Photo courtesy of Ultralowfi

Two: Biker Jim’s Dogs are back! I’ve personally had the Southwest Buffalo dog, and I think maybe the reindeer. SO GOOD. They get rave reviews from everyone and there’s a whole stack of fixin’s to pile on your own dog. Doors to the Oriental open at 6pm and the show starts at 7, so show up early for some grub (you too, vegetarians – they sell a vegan dog!).

Biker Jim's Dogs

Bonus reason! The weather is supposed to be gorgeous! Last  year we sold out the Oriental Theater in the middle of a snowstorm, so get your tickets ASAP to avoid being shut out! See you in the sun on Thursday, Denver!

Here Are Your Ignite Denver #22 Spark Presenters!

It’s that time of year again, when we throw a party for Denver to come listen to Ignite Sparks, learn, maybe heckle a bit, have a few drinks, and nosh a dog from Biker Jim’s cart. Not necessarily in that order, of course.

I have it on great authority that this lineup is amazing and will move you, but – you have to be there to see them! (It’s just not the same watching on our YouTube channel after the fact, trust me.)

In no particular order, here is the list of Spark presenters for ID22!

Kimberly Brokling – Deal with that obnoxious morning person… by becoming one!
Michelle Archuleta – Disparities in Medicine: A Journey from MIT & Harvard to Rural Colorado
Mike Kilcoyne – Stop Being Such a Wimp – Thoughts on The Power of Honesty
Shawna Urbanski – Why life is wonderawetascially horruckful!
Brier Fine – I am Not my Stereotype
Paul Heffner – Get an Extra 30 Minutes in Your Day
Chrysta Bairre – White on Welfare
Meagan Cain – We Will Rise: Resiliency in Chaos
Mike Sudolsky – Temporal Architecture – Denver Homeless Shelters
Andy OConnor – Five Minutes to Freedom – 4 Financial Blunders that Kill Your Financial Goals
Joe Fleenor – The World at its Best

See you one week from today! Doors open at 6, show starts at 7. Biker Jim’s will be there serving their tasty dogs (even the vegan one!), and Ultralowfi will be playing the afterparty. w00t! Click it for tickets!


A Few Things You Should Know About Denver

Whether it’s watching the Denver Broncos play at Sports Authority Field or grabbing beers while watching the Colorado Rockies, Denverites will use any excuse to get out of the house. That being said, here are a few things you should know about Denver.


Let’s start with the beer, which is always plentiful. Though we may be home to the domestic brew powerhouse Coors Brewing Company, we are really known for being the King (or Queen) of Microbreweries. According to more than 10 percent of the nation’s craft breweries are in Colorado. That equates to roughly 230 breweries, an ever growing number as more and more continue to pop up in every town. Denver also hosts the Great American Beer Festival, bringing together brewers and aficionados from all over the country tasting the largest collection of U.S beer ever served.

denver beer


Everyone loves it here. Therefore, the Denver area is a melting pot of sorts. Which means that traffic can be kind of a shit show. Think too few lanes, too many people, and then add snow and ice to the mix. It’s not pretty. Not to mention the construction that always seems to be happening on at least one road to wherever you are going.

denver snow traffic


Yeah, that is not a typo. Denver is a young city, and a great city for singles. Nerdwallet put together some stats and Denver was only included on the “Best Cities for Singles” list and also ranked the No. 9 spot for single ladies to go on the prowl.

menver denver


We have covered that Denver is a great city to be single in. That said, don’t be surprised to be asked out on a first date to hike a 14er or ski a Black Diamond slope. Denverites are adventure seekers with a little bit of crazy running in their veins. (For those of you not from Denver, a 14er is a mountain that is 14,000 ft. and higher. They are not an easy feat, but many Coloradans will make them seem like a walk in the park.)

denver 14er mountain


If you choose to partake in the marijuana movement of Denver don’t be a n00b. Yes, it’s legal. Yes, you can buy it at a dispensary. But don’t be asking random strangers where the nearest weed store is or try and smoke it wherever you want. There are still (some) regulations.

denver weed


Denver is a music hub. Bands of all genres from all over the country and world come to Denver, not only for its central location, but for the vast amount of venues. Not to mention that we are home to one of the greatest open-air venues in the world: Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

red rocks ampitheater

Now that you are a little more informed on the great city of Denver, come and get to know some of the friendly, eclectic people of this fine city in person.

The next Ignite Denver is on March 3rd, 2016. We will see you there!

SparkPlug: Bhopal Disaster by Mariah Master

Mariah Master gave her Spark at Ignite Denver 21 on Thursday, November 5, 2015. She asked us to share this information about the Union Carbide disaster in 1984, and what they are doing to help.

In 1984, the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India spewed a toxic cloud over the community, taking thousands of lives. Within 2 weeks the death toll grew to 8,000 people. While there are some whom have heard of the disaster, what most people don’t realize is that 30 years after the incident, people are still being affected.

In January 2016, the Integrative Health Care Program at Metro State University will be traveling to Bhopal to facilitate a service-learning project at the Sambhavna Clinic. The clinic is an integrated health center that provides free conventional and Ayurvedic medicine to the survivors of the Bhopal community who continue to suffer from severe health issues.

Often in life, there comes rebirth from destruction, beauty born from pain. So where is the beauty in this catastrophe? Our group of students think we may have found one answer. Since the tragedy, the people of Bhopal who may have never thought they would be empowered to use their voice have stood up to fight for what they deserve. Many have succeeded with the Sambhavna Clinic.

So how exactly are 14 Denver students making connection with such an immense situation on the other side of the world? Well, similar to the hard working passionate people of Bhopal, we too have been stepping into authoritative roles. We have taken full control of our education by making this trip happen. We have jumped through many hoops and pushed ourselves harder than we ever imagined possible. Only 2% of Metro students travel abroad. We have many faculty members talking by making this trip happen. The work we have done to make this happen – for ourselves by ourselves – has many people in awe, including each one of us.

We hope to build a long-lasting relationship with the Clinic. Our fundraising efforts will pay doctors salaries, update the facilities, and bring needed health education materials. We are reaching out to our greater community for their support in helping us raise funds in order to help see this vision flourish.

From the other side of the world, we are all linked in one way or another, and when we put our attention on that which is progressive and meaningful, huge things happen.

Donate to our crownfunding page at:

Tuesday Two! Two more reasons to attend Ignite Denver 21.

As if you needed two more reasons than 14 engaging speakers, right? (If you don’t have your tickets yet, get them here:

Reason #1: Biker Jim’s Dogs is back to serve up pre-Ignite Denver food in front of the Oriental Theater! Gotta get you some. They even have a vegan dog in addition to the standard reindeer, elk, or beef. Tasty.


Dogs & caramelized onions
Dogs & caramelized onions

Reason #2: Afterparty music by Dandu! Pretty chill, will be perfect for a Thursday night.

Bonus reason #3! Our MC is the brilliant and funny Kat Atwell. (No pressure, Kat.)

Here’s her opening Spark from Ignite Denver #20 for a little preview of what you can expect on Thursday night!

The Votes Are In: Here are Your Ignite Denver 21 Presenters!

Ignite Denver Banner 600x160

Get ready for November 5th, everyone: here is our AMAZING lineup of speakers!

  1. Juan Diaz de Leon – The Online Dating Struggle Is Real
  2. Matt Holmes – Nightmares of Student Loans and Credit Cards
  3. Erin McElroy – A Call to Adventure – Geeking out on the Hero’s Journey
  4. Tom Groover – How Do Corporations Control Us?
  5. Elan BenAmi – Synchronicity and Self-Actualization
  6. Katie Mason – Velvet Covered Pringles: The Gift of Dreamtime Absurdity
  7. Amanda Yuill – Blow Up Your Life! (Figuratively Speaking)
  8. Jayson Gaddis – Shattering the Marriage Fantasy in 5 minutes
  9. Adrian DeBarros – Edgar Allen Poe and Dr. Seuss stuck in a photo booth.
  10. Kyle Shannon – The Renaissance of Storytelling
  11. Mariah Master – The Worlds Largest Industrial Disaster you don’t know of.
  12. Kurt Woock – We gave up our car! (but that’s not really the point)
  13. Doyle Hanks – I wanted to do something about gun violence.

Got your tickets for November 5th yet? Our early-bird rate of $5 tickets ends on October 29th, so hurry up and purchase tickets now!

Tuesday Two! Alcohol. (There, I said it.)

Our lives don’t revolve around alcohol. Far from it. But we do enjoy a libation from time to time. Responsibly, of course. And in moderation. (What’s that saying? “All things in moderation, including moderation.”)

We’ve distilled two talks about alcohol from the long history of Ignite Denver, and we’d like you to watch them responsibly. And perhaps in moderation.

Scott Sheridan: Interesting Facts About the Wines of the World – Ignite Denver 6

Joseph Labrecque: Absinthe: Artistic Rituals, Intestinal Parasites, and Psychoactive Madness! – Ignite Denver 12

(Stick with the meandering camerawork here, folks. It’s an interesting Spark!)

Someone might talk about alcohol at Ignite Denver 21. We don’t know. It’s up to you to vote.

Come out to Ignite Denver 21! Buy tickets here. Early bird pricing! What what.

Bonus alcohol video! “D.R.I.N.K.” by The Jazz Butcher (The video is just some pictures of folks who seem like they like drinking. The song is by The Jazz Butcher.)

Mike Kilcoyne – Lie, Cheat, Steal: How I Give A Talk

Mike Kilcoyne was one of the presenters at Ignite Denver #19 in February. This post is a cross-post from his personal blog.


Recently, I spoke at Ignite Denver 19, an incredible event hosted by even more incredible people that consisted of a bunch of quick, snappy (and often hilarious) five minute talks. It was awesome. Here’s what I learned.

Ever since I hit puberty, people have suggested to me, you should do radio with that voice! (I get it, I have a face for radio.)

Never once has anyone said to me, you should speak in front of people about your ideas! (I didn’t get the hint, obviously.)

So for the past year or so, any opportunity I’ve gotten to put together a speech or talk or presentation, I’ve taken. It’s been a totally selfish endeavor, but it’s an interesting way to test out messages to different audiences, and to tell cool stories.

That includes: Eulogies like this, pitching ideas at work, trying to sell people on some organization I’ve been working with for just a week, announcing my name during an ice-breaker or presenting a unique interpretation of a section of the Torah at my local synagogue (that one was interesting). For me, these are speaking opportunities — tiny moments in the hot-ass sun, if you will.

Really, any chance I get to speak in front of more than a few people with their attention centered solely on me is a speaking gig. (And it’s a wonderful opportunity to stroke my own ego.)

And when it comes to talks — presenting a cool idea to a large audience — I’ve learned an incredible recipe for success: lie, cheat and steal. That’s it. Here’s how:


The first thing I do to completely disarm my audience is completely lie about my credentials.

I tell them I’m an incompetent buffoon (false, kinda) who: barely graduated from college (true), doesn’t know what a PHD is (false) and was never published in any sort of academic journal (also true) and am therefore completely unqualified to discuss what I’m about to discuss (absolutely fucking true).

Here’s where the lying comes in: I’ve set the expectation that for the next five, ten, fifteen minutes, my audience is going to witness a bumbling idiot futz around on-stage, stumble over his words and lower the collective IQ of the entire audience. (That last part might be true, too.)

The reality is: I have a ton of poise (because I breathe, more on that in a bit) and confidence on-stage, great wit because I know my content in and out and just don’t give a fuck and really powerful messaging because my stories make sense, are ridiculously simple and (somewhat) insightful.

Lower the expectations of the audience and anything you say after that immediately comes as a delightful surprise.


A script is an exceptional tool — it gives you clarity of direction, ideas and key takeaways, and when delivered well, can really enhance your message.

The issue is, on-stage, you can’t rely on a script, or notecards, so if you fuck up, and your brain goes into total oh shit mode (and you’re not an expert at presenting, and catching yourself), you’re screwed. Totally screwed.

I just cheat. Here’s how:

A. Create a deck with pictures. Images that, for you, trigger a particular set of emotions, stories, ideas. Cats are fine. Memes work. Landscapes are way too vague.
B. Have a basic framework for your story, remember intently the beginning, three (or more) key points in the middle and the end.
C. For the really difficult details — specific statistics, quotes, ideas, etc. — put those on the slides in text. Bonus cheating: For all of your details, put those in text on the slides (no more than a few words, though). They’ll help the audience, and they won’t even realize that you’re a total hack.

That’s it. It’s basically cheating. If you have these three things down, you can wing it from there and deliver an awesome presentation. And the cool thing is that now, you don’t have to worry about memorizing a script you wrote (which can fuck up your timing), or losing your place (because it should be obvious on your slides) and even if (and when) you do fuck up, just take a deep breath and move onto the next slide. If you play it off super casually most people won’t even notice or care.


If you’ve read a book (or a few in the past several years), chances are, there are plenty of ideas and theories and statistics and stories that you can extract and basically rip-off to craft your own unique narrative.

My presentation was about five daily habits. (You can check them out here.) There wasn’t one original thought or idea in it.

These were the main takeaways: Keystone habits are crucial for success; the only way to develop keystone habits is by starting small; there are plenty of really simple ideas that you can start implementing into your daily life immediately that will have huge residual effects on your levels of happiness and stress over the next 30 days or so.

The first one — the notion of keystone habits — I got from Charles Druhigg’s, The Power of Habit. The second bit, I learned from James Clear’s blog, most of which he has adapted from much more prestigious behavioral psychologists. And the last piece, and many of the habits I included in the talk, were discussed in Shawn Achor’s, The Happiness Advantage.

There are no original ideas. Just steal your content from other people (but give them credit, too), and give your own unique spin on it.

Tell your story.


As soon as I wandered into the auditorium, about an hour and a half before I’d be rumbling on-stage and presenting in front of peeps, I started having difficulty breathing when I’d realized just how large the audience was going to be. (A few hundred, at most.) Easily the biggest audience I’d ever spoken to.

And then I sat around in front of the stage, waiting for the speakers before me to make their rounds. I was going third. It couldn’t come soon enough.

Soon after, I’m tucked away in the side of the stage, hyperventilating and trying to ensure that I don’t pass out before I get a chance to talk. The only thing I’d digested since lunch was three or four Neapolitan wafers.

And then — Michael Kilcoyne! — and I wander, up to the mic, in front of the audience of a few hundred insatiably hungry audience-members, and the natural expectation is that, as soon as I grab the mic, I’m just going to start running my stupid mouth.

Instead I pause, take a deep breathe (into the mic), and then start. The audience laughs a bit, because it’s awkward. And then I start opening my gullet to spew whatever nonsense I’m about to start talking about. I’m not sure where I was going with that whole beard thing, were the first words out of my mouth.

They laugh some more.

Now I’ve got them.


In many studies, public speaking is viewed as one of the most common paralyzing fears out there — more than snakes, loneliness and even death in some instances. (According to Jerry Seinfeld.)

Which makes absolute sense — it’s fear of the unknown on an absolutely absurd, potentially catastrophic level. If you suck, people throw tomatoes at you and bruise your ego and want to scratch your eyeballs out (not really).

It’s also ridiculously fun and cathartic — if you’re funny, you’ll have an audience of hundreds, potentially thousands in complete stitches. If your story is insightful, a lot of drunk people will tell you, holy shit that was awesome, dude! And if it’s especially powerful, they’ll hold their breath and cry and have difficulty talking to you.

There was a moment during my talk where I completely forgot a point I was going to make — and it increases… something, I said — and I just laughed it off, because it wasn’t a big deal. Because I was having so much fun.

Once you get over the initial, often crippling fear and anxiety that strikes you immediately before you walk on-stage — the emotional equivalent of a panda-bear attack! — and you get your sorry-ass out there, you’ll be thankful you did.

It’ll become your coke addiction. You’ll need a bump every now and then to remind yourself that you’re still alive. And you’ll always want more.

Tuesday Two! Hop in the Wayback Machine!

For this Tuesday Two, we decided to go old-school and show you our humble beginnings: The first two videos uploaded to our YouTube channel! It’s always good to reflect back as we move forward, and we certainly appreciate how far we’ve come in the almost six years since Ignite Denver 5. Well, maybe we haven’t come that far…. Our speakers are still fantastic and irreverent, our crowds are still a bit rowdy (a few drinks can do that to you), and it’s still just 20 slides in 5 minutes. We also still have a great community in Denver who supports the craziness, three times a year.

With that in mind, here’s where it all started – on our YouTube channel, at least.

An Bui – How To Pick Up Chicks – Tips From A Totally Hetero Woman

Krista Jurczenia – Cupcakes and Dating: A Comparative Study

Bonus video! Our most recent upload from our most recent event – Kat Atwell: Welcome to Ignite Denver 20

Want to be part of the craziness of Ignite Denver 21 on November 5th? Submit a Spark by THIS FRIDAY, October 2nd!

Just want to watch the craziness? Tickets are now available at Early Bird prices. Either way, we’ll see you in November!

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