Having a funny five minutes

I was asked to do a five-minute talk recently.

“Great”, I thought. “I can practice my stand-up comedy skills.” (I’ve only done one stand-up performance before).

Then I discovered it was a Petcha Kutcha style talk. Turns out that it’s a Japanese phrase meaning ‘chit chat’ and is pronounced pCha kCha.

It’s a rigid discipline.

It meant using 20 slides (I hadn’t planned to use any) that automatically advance after 15 seconds each (traditional PK is 20 seconds). That means a maximum of 45 words per slide at a normal speaking rate of 3 words per second. That’s about 3 or 4 sentences. Not allowing for breathing, pauses or laughter.

I usually allow about one hour of preparation for each minute of speaking.

For this talk, it was at least double that. I workshopped the content with three or four people to polish it. They all added immeasurable improvements that I would never have achieved on my own. (Thank you Julie, Janice, Mitch and Fripp for your insights).

You might wonder how it went.

It wasn’t perfect. But it was far better than I expected.

I got amazing feedback (people laughed loads, told me it was brilliant, highlight of the night, and more of a performance than a speech).

Phew!

Watch it below: Why your job ads don’t work

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