Have you heard of Toastmasters? Was it something you thought sounded cool and you would try sometimes, but not THIS time, because other things take priority, you don’t feel “ready,” you can’t find anything to talk about or you think that what you have to say won’t interest anyone else..
I met Tobias while setting up the Erlangen Coworking space. One of his (many) pet projects is hosting/moderating the PechaKucha events in Erlangen. PechaKucha is a dynamic presentation format that was created by two expats living in Japan in 2003. The idea is to present your topic in 20 slides (preferably images and little to no text) and speak exactly 20 seconds to each slide. 20×20. As I witnessed in my first PechaKucha event last night, even the most complex topics can be presented and well received using this format.
And I quote Albert Einstein, “If you can’t explain it simply, then you haven’t understood it well enough.”
I was put “on the spot” when asked to present when another speaker cancelled. At first, I panicked. And then I internalized. Here I summarize some of the learnings on how to get through a public talk like this without losing your mojo:
- Find one guiding idea/symbol that holds all the content together and you can always refer back to. For example, when talking about myself, I like to use the “bridge” symbolic and it helps me to talk about my background as well as professional achievements.
- Tell a story. Make it a narrative.
- Be lighthearted. In this I mean: don’t take yourself too seriously.
- Find a topic you can be passionate about.
- Have a goal in mind. If all else fails, what do you want to have gotten out of the experience? My friend advised me to present a topic that is difficult for me to present, so that I get practice doing it. So I then I didn’t really mind if I bombed, because it was “practice.”
- Be yourself. Find your own style and be authentic. People will appreciate you just being you.