Friday, August 7, 2015


Like many people, public speaking makes me very uncomfortable.  Fifteen years ago, I was co-presenting a training class to 100+ people and my voice quivered for the first 30 minutes of the session.  Eight years ago, a different organization sent me across the country to present our product roadmap at a variety of user groups.  I was presenting on things I didn’t even understand (mainframey things).  What that year did for me was get me more and more comfortable speaking in front of people until I was almost sorta good at it.  

I speak annually at our user conference and have spoken over the course of the year to smaller audiences (<25)  as a regular part of my job.  I’ve come so far that I don’t want to lose that level of comfort (comfort is a relative term). To keep that edge, I elected to present at our local PechaKucha gathering.  Yep you read that right – “I elected to” and “PechaKucha”.  

I’m presenting this Sunday at Octane. It’s been an interesting process because its 20 slides/images, 20 seconds a slide.  Seems so simple – 6 minutes and 40 seconds.  I’m known for my less is more approach when it comes to words so this seemed relatively easy.  The template I received in powerpoint auto advances every 20 seconds.  During my first practice run the first slide advanced mid-thought.  How can that be? I’m not verbose.  

What I’ve learned in my limited preparation (I've got a lot of work to do Saturday) is that I better focus on getting my point across as quickly as possible, while still being engaging & using compelling images (no bulleted  powerpoints in this format).  It’s been a good exercise and I'm almost looking forward to Sunday night.  No matter what happens, I know it will be over in 400 seconds. If you’re interested improving your presenting skills in a safe environment look up your local PechaKucha, they are all over the world.

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