As part of the module EN6009, a task was set to complete a Pecha Kucha presentation on Friday March 28th. Pecha Kucha is the format of 20 slides with 20 seconds per slide totaling a 6 minute and 40 second presentation. But the catch? You have no control over the slides. Here’s a link to Pecha Kucha for more information http://www.pechakucha.org/
I can still feel that pulsing dread that starts in your toes and spreads up through your legs to the base of your stomach when I think of the moment our lecturers chose to spring this on us. I tried to let Dr. Orla Murphy’s words sink in “Let not your heart be troubled” But my heart was troubled. Very troubled.
After the initial numbness and fear subsided and I actually began to write my presentation, the temporal structure actually began to aid my writing. My presentation was on Spenser’s depiction of Alma’s Castle as the body. The density of this topic, no one has quite yet discovered. It is deliciously rich, disturbingly complicated and anxiously intentional. The Pecha Kucha format forced me to delve deep into this work and carefully pick and choose not only the relevant material but also the material that would capture the attention of an audience who may not have been the biggest Spenser fans. (I do not understand it either!)
I daren’t say I enjoyed this presentation for fear of ever having to complete a Pecha Kucha again but I certainly didn’t detest it with the same concentrated intensity as I started with. I enjoyed the structure for the creation of my presentation, I less enjoyed it for the actual speaking.
On reflection, had I taken a breath before I began, the presentation would have gone off without a hitch as it had every time I practiced. Unfortunately, I decided to jump straight in, and about 50 words and 1 slide later, I was out of breath.
Pecha Kucha is very unforgiving.
I spent most of the 6 minutes and 40 seconds playing catch up and when it came to an end and I was asked to take a seat, I did so gladly. While my delivery of the presentation left a lot to be desired it certainly was a positive experience. Even the Q&A session after filled me with confidence on my own knowledge and genuine passion for the topic at hand.
Completing such a challenge is exhilarating. You don’t hear much but blood pumping in your ears and you are fully concentrated on not letting the shake in your hands give you away. When I spoke my last word, I immediately wanted to do it again (probably because I wanted to rectify the mess I had made!). When you stand up and speak and people look at you, listen to you and want to know what you have to say: I can see the attraction.