This past week I was invited be part of a slate of PechaKucha presentations at the Emergence Christianity Gathering in Memphis, TN. Just before it was about to begin I tweeted . . .
And Adam Walker Cleaveland, another of the PechaKucha presenters replied,
doing something difficult, new and crazy in front of 200 people!? No. No nerves here.
Nerves and all, it was wonderful.
What?!?!?! You have never heard of a PechaKucha presentation?
He says smugly as if he knew what it was when he was first asked to do one 😉
In short, a PechaKucha (Japanese for “chatter”) presentation consists of 20 images projected for 20 seconds each, during which time the presenter talks about whatever he or she wants. 6:40 – Simple, concise and, when done well, beautiful and mesmerizing . [Read more on wikipedia and on www.pechakucha.org]
For some of you, this might seem like an exciting opportunity and for others a terrifying prospect. As one who talks for a living, it was both of those things: liberating and confining. No longer could I lean into comfortable stories and my normal speaking schtick, but I had to be clear about what I wanted to communicate AND free myself up to see where things would go in the moment. I suspect that I accomplished both tasks with varying degrees of success [my favorite response, albeit maybe a little much], but I did survive.
One of the things that I loved about the PechaKucha experience was that, for many folks, this platform was used as an opportunity to step outside of their normal of style and content bubble. I kind of wish that I had done that. While I think mine was well received, next time – and there will be a next time – I will definitely challenge myself to try something new. Maybe I’ll do some spoken word and/or take on a topic that I might not otherwise get a chance to muse about in such a forum: fantasy sports and the body of Christ, the spirituality of baseball or the beauty of 80’s culture.
In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and am grateful for the opportunity. I would also encourage any conference or gathering to hold an evening of PechaKuchas. Not only would it provide a change of pace for participants, but PechaKuchas create space for fresh voices to share new perspectives and seasoned voices to present in different ways.
And if you ever get an invitation to do one . . . say yes. You will not regret it.
If you are interested in more from the Emergence Christianity presentations, Adam has listed a few on his post, Emergence Christianity: PechaKucha Presentations. Below is my presentation as posted on Slideshare . . . and yes, the last slide has a typo. Grrr.