First things first, I love lightning talks. There is little time for excessive explanation, meaning there can be multiple ways to interpret the message. This means I get a lot of new ideas from lightning talks.
Test Bash have 99 second talks, I’ve also seen lightning talks that are longer - up to 15 minutes long. Sometimes there is time for Q and A, but I find this is rare. There are usually several lightning talks within the time slot, so I find it is easy to forget the previous talk as soon as the next talk starts.
I like to use lightning talks as a way to practice note taking. Only writing out the most important details, but writing enough to prompt my memory. The ability to take notes quickly, and only include the most important information, can be a difficult skill to develop. I then review these notes later on and see what new ideas can be generated from them.
One major benefit of lightning talks is that it is a great way to encourage more people to try speaking at conferences. My first conference talk was a lightning talk, at the online test conf. My chosen topic was Women in Testing. I enjoyed the experience so much that I chose to apply to speak at other conferences.
I’m interesting in hearing what other people think of lightning talks. What are the benefits for both speakers and listeners? What is the ideal time for a lightning talk?