Anxiety, nerves, and a 20-second shot clock. Sounds more like the final minutes of a closely fought basketball game, right? But it has more to do with collaboration than competition, and the only athletic feats on display are of exercising jaws and vocal chords, and, of course, that big muscle on top.
I’m describing the 17th edition of Pecha Kucha night at Martyrs’ in Chicago. I shared stories about the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and Herman Miller’s environmental commitment, all with the idea that if you do stick to your beliefs, even in the face of doubt, good things will happen. I joined nine other presenters speaking to a sold-out house of about 400 people.
Pecha Kucha, which roughly translates to “chit-chat” in Japanese, refers to gatherings in over 390 cities around the world where creative types, activists, entrepreneurs, designers, and just about anyone else can share their “passion not portfolio” with an engaged audience. The format limits all presentations to 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide, with the slides running on auto-advance.
This lack of control over the slides keeps the presentations brief, the speakers on track (or not), and contributes to a collective sense of “you can do it” emanating from the audience to the presenter as they roll through their presentation. This fight against the clock is part of the fun for the audience and the anxiety/excitement for the speaker.
You should be sharing what’s important to you at a local Pecha Kucha event. Check out the Pecha Kucha website to find one near you.
Photo credit: Visualized Concepts