My Introduction To PechaKucha


This past Thursday I got up in front of 600+ people and presented on behalf of Ride To Learn at Edmonton’s PechaKucha Night 14, facilitated by NextGen.

Have I ever publicly spoken before? Heck no. Been part of something like Toastmasters? Not once! Did I opt for this exciting (re: kinda terrifying) chance to throw myself so far out of my comfort zone I couldn’t find it back even with the help of Google Maps? Yes, yes I did.

Why? Because World by Cycle repeatedly proves to be an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime project that I am always so honoured and proud to be a part of. Telling all those people at PechaKucha about what Nic & Kristina and the team are doing was just too good an opportunity to pass up. Despite the terror.

And I think I did alright! Granted, I have yet to watch my presentation (which can be found on the Edmonton Journal’s site, here), but from the sweet compliments during intermission that night, and Facebook’s virtual backslapping, I know the experience was worth the nerves.

If you haven’t heard of PechaKucha Night until now – the official website describes it as such: it’s an event that was devised in Tokyo in 2003, for young designers to meet, network and show their work to the public. Now it’s turned into a massive celebration, with events around the world where creative people of all walks can speak about whatever inspires them. The name comes from the Japanese term for the sound of “chit chat,” and rests on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds.

The other nine presenters were all to be admired, not only for the myriad of engaging topics that each undertook, but also, of course, for their courage. I was particularly excited by the presentation by Renne Vaugeois & Chelsea Freeborn of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights. They are a non-profit human rights education organization based in Edmonton, dedicated to programming that fosters a sense of dignity, responsibility and justice. One of their key areas of work has been to bring youth to new levels of engagement and awareness about their role in the world. What amazing ideas right in line with what Ride To Learn and World By Cycle are trying to accomplish!

As I mentioned earlier, I have yet to see the recording of my presentation. I’ve put it off until almost a week later, and I think, with this nice little pool of backyard late-October sunshine, and a mug of iced chai tea, I’ve finally mustered up the courage to hit “play.” Update to follow in six minutes and 40 seconds.

Well! That was much less painful than I was expecting. Besides the awkward balance of trying to gesticulate and hold a microphone at the same time, forgetting what an acronym or two stood for, and being unable to say “biodegradability” when I’m nervous, I’m happy with the job I did! Three cheers for PechaKucha!

Now, I challenge you – what can you do today to get out of your comfort zone? Believe me, I know you can do it, and I know you won’t regret it!