Short & Sweet: pecha-kucha and DemoCamp Vancouver
Unless you're telling a particularly good story, short and sweet is best. But as Mark Twain said, "If you want me to give you a two-hour presentation, I am ready today. If you want only a five-minute speech, it will take me two weeks to prepare." Though short and sweet isn't easy, people have created presentation formats that challenge presenters to achieve just that!
I first heard of pecha-kucha via Anil Dash's comments on this Wired post: Pecha Kucha: Get to the PowerPoint in 20 Slides Then Sit the Hell Down. From the Wired post:
"pecha-kucha (Japanese for "chatter"), applies a simple set of rules to presentations: exactly 20 slides displayed for 20 seconds each. That's it. Say what you need to say in six minutes and 40 seconds of exquisitely matched words and images and then sit the hell down"
This discipline is awesome, and amazingly doesn't have to cramp your style. Check out this pecha-kucha demo by Dan Pink of Fast Company fame (which is interesting in its own right).
Good ideas have other expressions. Although Vancouver doesn't have pecha-kucha, we do have DemoCamp:
There are three minutes for delivery and three minutes for discussion (or 6 minutes to use however you see fit...previous attendees highly recommend time for interaction, questions, etc.). The time limit is strict so if you take two and a half minutes to setup your laptop, you only get thirty seconds to present (the gong hath no mercy).
DemoCampVancouver03 coming up shortly: DemoCampVancouver03 -- September 13th or October 4th?. And they're not kidding about the gong.