PechaKucha 20×20 Night

A couple of months ago, I presented at the Baton Rouge PechaKucha 20×20 night, and it was kind of amazing!

PechaKucha was created in Tokyo about 15 years ago, and it’s a pretty fantastic concept. A presenter will choose a topic on whatever they care about, and that person gets 20 slides to talk about it. But here’s the catch: The presenter only gets 20 seconds per slide – the slides are advanced automatically, so the entire thing is rigidly timed. The organizer of the Baton Rouge chapter, Anna Schwab, pointed out the genius of this format: If you hate the presentation, you only have to wait 6 minutes and 40 seconds for it to be over.

My presentation was on Hallmark Christmas movies, which I enjoy writing about from time to time. The topic is one I’m really familiar with, but the format was at once challenging and invigorating.

The biggest challenge for me was that this is the complete opposite of my style of teaching in the classroom. I have a skeletal outline in the PowerPoint slides, and I try to read the room to see what needs emphasis. It’s worked for me so far, but given the structure of this talk, I actually had to write it out word-for-word; if I add-libbed, I was screwed. We were allowed to read (most didn’t) and so I didn’t have to memorize it, but it was still tough to stick to the script.

At the same time, because the time was so strictly enforced, I was able to make every word count, and it really forced me to tweak wording and phrasing so that it accomplished my goal.

In the end, I think it worked (for the most part). But it was an absolute blast, and if you get a chance to participate at some point, I very much encourage you to do so.

If you’re interested, here is my talk. Enjoy!

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