reflections after pecha kucha new westminster

A week and a half ago, I was invited to speak at PechaKucha New Westminster on February 20th. It's safe to say time flew in a whirlwind of excitement, nerves and preparation. I felt like I haven't stopped working since I was asked, yet I find myself very behind on work I need to get done.

For those who don't know, PechaKucha is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images. There is no changing or modifying of this. The presentation format was devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture. The first PechaKucha Night was held in Tokyo in February, 2003. They are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps -- just about anything, really -- in the PechaKucha 20x20 format. And it happens in over 800 countries world wide. I like to think of PechaKucha as what would be birthed if TEDtalks and haiku's had sex.

Holy wow. And I got to speak at one of these.

What an incredible honour. I presented along with nine other inspirational and talented artists, community leaders and thinkers within my slice of the world. I cannot believe some of the caliber of talent I was fortunate enough to share the stage with. The great news is, all of the presentations from the other night were recorded and will be posted at an unknown point down the road. So yes, you will be able to hear what we all said! You can bet I will be sharing it here the second it's online.

Shortly before the show started, with one part of my amazing support team.

Shortly before the show started, with one part of my amazing support team.

Of course, I talked about this blooming business I have started. The what, the how and more importantly the why. I won't give too much away because I would love for each of you to hear the full presentation without any clues but I promise I spoke authentically and raw. Would you expect any less?

As a last minute addition to the speaker list, I was under an immediate time crunch to get things done. Surprisingly to me, I found myself creatively blocked and uncertain of where I wanted to take my presentation and my audience. There was so much to share and the 20x20 format only provides six minutes and forty seconds. That goes fast!

It was a random moment at work where I turned the corner and had clarity. Literally, I was just turning a corner and my presentation outline hit my brain like a bus. Two nights later, my speech was written and my twenty slides were ready to go. It was memorizing time.

Because I was sharing my story, remembering what I wanted to say wasn't hard. And my slides would remind me which order I wanted to say it. My main concern was timing, but I seemed to play my cards smart and went through it enough to know where I was pressured for seconds and where I could take more time. Of course, the universe thought I was having too easy of a go at it, so it threw a cold and sore throat at me the day before PechaKucha night. Just to add some fun to the mix.

By the way, I am still suffering greatly from this cold. I hate it with a passion. But everyone tells me my voice sounds normal and I don't seem too awful. I'll have to believe them. Honestly, it was a miracle I didn't have a coughing fit while onstage.

Nerves were high on presentation night. I was to speak right after the intermission and I thought I was going to pee my pants during those ten minutes of torture. But seconds before the MC called me up, I reminded myself that this is what I do, this is what makes me feel strong. Its what I am here for. And I have to start now. I got up, and the presentation went as smooth as it could have gone. At least, from what I can remember.

PechaKucha is a truly inspirational and fun night. I encourage each of you to seek out a series in your area and attend. I also encourage you to speak if you are ever asked. It is a challenge, but it is an opportunity for incredible growth. We all have stories which deserve to be shared. Others out there will find value in your experiences. It is terrifying but so rewarding. It felt like the biggest investment in my community I have given to-date. It broadened my community bonds. New Westminster has become such a home to me these past three years and to have the chance to share my voice with this city is humbling.

This experience has come and gone so quickly, I still haven't quite processed that it happened. Through it, I was able to grow and develop as a speaker and as a coach in way I expected and in ways that surprised me. And I can't wait to do it again one day soon.

P.S. Going to be in the Vancouver area in April?

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