Back in 2015 I was asked over Twitter if I’d be interested in presenting at a local PechaKucha evening in January. I’d never even heard of PechaKucha but took a look at the website and thought, why not give it a go!
For those that don’t know, PechaKucha (Japanese for chit chat) is a form of presenting using 20 images. Each image moves on automatically after 20 seconds. This encourages the presenter to be concise. PechaKucha nights originated from Tokyo as a way for people to meet, network and display their work.
PechaKucha nights are now held all over the world, including, as I found out, in my home town of St Neots, Cambridgeshire. The St Neots events are run by Neotists a group of local creative professionals.
When I agreed to present at the next event, January 2016 seemed like a long way away and I thought had plenty of time to prepare, after all 20 slides of 20 seconds only totals 6 minutes and 40 seconds. How hard could it be?
Being indecisive, I took forever to decide on my topic. I eventually decided to base my presentation on a blog I had written many years ago about the strange things people say in football. The piece takes you through a children’s mini-soccer match where the adults are using football clichés throughout and shows how confusing it could be for the young players.
I planned what I wanted to say and separated it out into twenty sections. Then I decided what pictures would best illustrate each section and set out with my camera phone to capture the images. Where I couldn’t take a photo I used royalty free stock images.
I practiced my presentation several times before the event and tweaked it to try and get the timing right. I’m not a confident public speaker so the last thing I wanted was to be standing in front of an audience with huge pauses as I waited for the image to move on.
At the event, in the town’s rowing club bar, I was greeted by the guys from Neotists who reassured me that the audience was nice and friendly and not to worry. I was pleased to hear them actively encouraging people to spend plenty on drinks over the bar to thank the club for the use of the room.
The first three speakers were great, with really interesting presentations. I was a little concerned I would disappoint the audience with mine.
Luckily for me though I was up after the break so a few more drinks were consumed and when I stepped up to the front I was pleased to see friendly faces looking back at me. I was nervous and there were a few awkward pauses but I think I pulled it off okay in the end. I was relieved when it finished and the audience applauded. I sat down, relaxed and enjoyed the final presentation.
Overall it was a great night. I’m proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone. Public speaking is one of those things for me that I have to make myself do in order to get better.
I’ll definitely attend another PechaKucha event as it was great to hear and see what other local people are involved in. You never know, I might even speak again at one too.
You can see my presentation on football clichés here: