Performance Anxiety

The PechaKucha format is so different and challenging. In standard storytelling, the teller has no additional pressure except for telling the story well and not going past the time limit. In the Pecha format, you have to speak as pictures are projected behind you. The teller has twenty seconds per slide to tell the story of that image. The additional pressure of not coming up short and standing there awkwardly waiting for the next slide, or going long into the next one really impacted me.

I was prepared, but I was stressed. More than I have been in a long time. It was kind of a long drive to the theatre, and I barely had a word to say to my wife. I felt bound up. 

Yet, when I walked to the microphone, all my nerves fell away. When my first image was projected, I got right into my story. And frankly, I kind of killed it.  

My takeaway from this is that I’ve earned confidence. I belong talking into a mic. As long as I continue to be respectful of the process, I can approach performing with a feeling of belief.   

PechaKucha

A new kind of storytelling for me. Telling a story with images projected in the background. Twenty seconds per image.

I’m a little nervous about it, which I love. I’ve learned that nerves are often an indication of my limits being pushed. Pushing my limits is what I want to continue to do in my life.

Storytelling is a Foundation

I wrote the other day about the Thoreau quote that talks about putting the foundation under your dreams. Live Storytelling has been part of my foundation. I love it. One reason is I love performing and being the center of attention. But that’s not the real lesson.

What telling true stories in front of an audience has taught me is:

  • How to shorten my stories to give them more punch
  • How to craft stories for an audience
  • The value of the immediate feedback from an audience

Writing doesn’t give much feedback. So knowing people like my stories gave me a lot more confidence. I’ve always thought of my audience so that just supported what I already knew.

But writing with brevity is not something I did in the past. It has really helped me be a better storyteller, and, I hope, blog writer. I’m trying to keep my entries short so that people can relax, enjoy them, and hopefully get something out of them.

I thank you again for being my audience. I’d love to hear from you in the comments. I do not collect emails in the comment form, in case that matters.