Entries from May 1, 2010 - May 31, 2010


Pecha Kucha Sketchnotes Talk: Video, Slides & Notes

On Tuesday May 11th I performed a Pecha Kucha presentation 'Lessons Learned from Sketchnotes' at PechaKucha Milwaukee #7 and had a great time.

Pecha Kucha is a presentation approach using 20 slides x 20 seconds per slide. The slides switch automatically, every 20 seconds until your 6:40 time is up.

Here's the video of my performance:

You can see that I was a little nervous at the start, but settled into a groove and focused on telling my story. As I got into the flow of the story, it felt great to see people in the crowd enjoying the experience. What a rush!

Check out my Pecha Kucha slide deck on Slideshare.

Public Speaking is OUT of My Comfort Zone

Public speaking is something I want to do more of, but it's something I feel I have much to learn about. My solution is to get into positions where I have to speak (and prepare) to move my comfort zone out farther and farther.

I think doing Pecha Kucha with the added challenge of tight timing has really moved me to a new level and I'm excited about speaking more and improving as a result.

Pecha Kucha Advice

For those about to perform a Pecha Kucha talk, I'd like to capture tips and things I've learned from this experience, in the hope that my knowledge can help you.

1. Choose a topic you know really well. — I felt completely knowledgeable about sketchnotes having discovered them 3 years ago. I've been practicing the sketchnotes as a discipline and a approach for a while now, which gave me confidence.

2. Invest time in preparation — I was most pleased in having invested a good amount of time in establishing a flow on a whiteboard and preparing a unified set of slides from that hard work. This also made me more confident.

3. Ideas and memorization — I decided to deliver my talk without any notes — facing the audience and talking directly to them without distraction. I know when I read a speech I stiffen up and don't sound natural and I didn't want that.

On advice of James Carlson my friend and Pecha Kucha presenter , I wrote out my talk within 20 cells of a spreadsheet, to help me see where it was generally long and short. Eventually those wordy texts were boiled down to 20 ideas I could memorize.

I didn't memorize the words related to the ideas, instead I memorized the ideas themselves in proper order (1-20) which allowed for spur of the moment improvisation within the structure.

This turned the talk into a storytelling performance rather than reading of cards or looking at the slides for cues. My slides instead supported the story I told, not the other way around.

4. Practice, A LOT! — I invested time in practicing my talk over and over again, probably 30+ times. I did the talk on my own, with my wife, work colleagues and friends until the story was in my head and flowed well. Repeated practice helped me calm down once I started talking.

5. Practice with Audiences — I think it's critical that you perform the talk multiple times, with your slides in front of real people. Performing the talk in private had some value, but as I performed the talk in front of others I received great feedback and reduced the stress I had speaking for others, bit by bit.

6. Nail the Timing — I found that by performing the talk with my slides and also with Peeky, an iPhone timer that buzzed every 20 seconds, I was able to get the words to the right length and feel how they worked with my slides.

I ditched the iPhone app after James Carlson suggested I become aware of my slides as they reflect off of hard surfaces and the crowd, so I could stay focused on the audience. That was a huge help for me in sensing the slides changing behind me.

7. Find Friends in the Audience — I always like to find friends in audiences if I can, as they help me connect with those I'm speaking to and provide the confidence that there are people out there supporting me.

I was blessed to have so many friends at Tuesday's Pecha Kucha, supporting and cheering me on as I shared my story. Thanks everyone!

Go Pecha Kucha!

If you have a chance to see or present at a Pecha Kucha night, go for it! The approach is challenging in a good way for speakers and lots of fun to watch as an audience.

I feel much more confident after presenting a talk at a Pecha Kucha night, and I hope lessons I've learned and shared will help others prepare for a talk of their own.

Thanks Jon and Dylan at 800-CEO-READ for the opportunity!

Related Links

YouTube: Video of my talk
Slideshare: Pecha Kucha slide deck.
Dwellephant: PECHA KUCHA RECAP • 5.11.2010


SXSW 2010: Visual Note-Taking 101 Podcast + Slides

The audio podcast of the Visual Note-Taking 101 panel Austin Kleon, Dave Gray, Sunni Brown and I presented at SXSW Interactive in March is now available, though it needed something more. So, Austin stitched our slides together with the audio to make a great visual presentation on Slideshare:



My Sketchnote Video Interview

Had a great time sharing stories about my sketchnotes and the REWORK book illustration process with Marquette grad student Daria Kempka. She turned my video clips and samples into this very cool 2:25 video. Have a watch and enjoy.

Thanks Daria!