Slides and speechesReinvention of new formats and styles of presentation has been quite a revelation
The thing that often leads to misconstruing a presentation is its conceptual confinement within slides and speeches. For a long period of time, we have been fed with this narrow notion of what a good presentation entails that has compelled us to look at presentations as mere tools for reading out contents from a projected slide. It starts with our academic upbringing—the limitations that are set by our mentors. Slides overloaded with information are bombarded on students by their teachers demanding undivided concentration. This unattainable goal set by mentors and their continuous practices with such monotonous approaches in teaching creates a dissonance between students and slides. Furthermore, the approaches inherited by laureates and scholars about the actual presentation also need serious reforms. Their expertise and experiences heavily stacked in umpteen slides usually make conferences and workshops less interactive and boring. Therefore, amendments in these aspects are necessary in order to create a clear demarcation between public speaking (although it has its own procedures) and presentations.
Leading the revolution
Breaking these aforementioned shackles and creating new avenues, #PresentationStuffs—a free and interactive platform—has been up and running
for the past nine months. Currently being hosted at the Sarwanam theatre in Kalikasthan every Wednesday, this community allows students and professionals to explore the possibilities of conducting presentations in different forms. The modus operandi of the is to provide a cushioned platform which helps presenters mitigate their fear of failing. As a matter of fact, the constructive and encouraging atmosphere helps presenters achieve continuous self-exploration, majorly in terms of their presenting and performing skills. Another important feature of #PresentationStuffs is the collaborative effort it makes in exploring different forms of presentations. Be it through ideas, experiences and facts shared by the presentation gurus or through participants’ own study and practice, the reinvention of new formats and styles of presentation has been quite a revelation to everyone.
A self-coined rendition of the widely popular format-Pecha Kucha, Pachyak Kuchuk has been an exciting yet challenging format of presentation. With a set stipulation of ‘20 X 20 rules’, this arrangement allows the presenter to present a single slide within 20 seconds. To add up to the challenge, Pachyak Kuchuk styles do not allow presenters to have control over the progression of slides. Hence in a total of four hundred seconds, presenters should complete their set of 20-slides presentation. This peculiar mode of presentation helps to instill punctuality and preparedness in performers. Also, the rehearsals and planning become essential components of this mode of presentation. The inclusion of this format in the #PresentationStuffs community has helped participants to explore more satirical, humorous and brief-yet-striking content during their presentations. Meanwhile, Presentation Karaoke, a uniquely
witty form of presenting has pushed the envelope further in the domain of presentations. Invented by the #PresentationStuffs community, this format attempts to bring most of the presenters out of their comfort zone while performing. The presenter’s ability to manage impromptu changes and abrupt transitions is an integral factor when it comes to Presentation Karaoke. Since the slides are prepared by someone else, the presenters have almost no clue about the projected contents and need to quickly adapt and weave a story out of slides. Apart from these styles, the poetic form of expression is also making swift inroads in the spectrum of presentations.
Regardless of the form and structure of delivery, #PresentationStuffs has been an effective platform for individuals coming from different walks of life. All of their stories of struggle and success, passion and perseverance and emotion and expression have significantly inspired and influenced each other. For instance: Prasiit Sthapit, a visual storyteller, once shared the story of his childhood aspirations and his inspirational journey into photography. The organically developed presentation, dealing with conceptual dichotomies, was able to calmly draw the audiences and captivate them into Sthapit’s own world of photo-revolution. Similarly, Sundar Lama’s depiction of his own depressive phases in life and his gradual recovery, all done through painting and installation arts, was another mesmerising moment at #PresentationStuffs. Moreover, Shishir Shiwakoti’s presentation on Return on Arts dealt with his answers to the skeptical society, which has been always questioning his achievement and involvement in theatre art. These moments simply represent the wide ranges of stories that are frequently shared within this interactive community. Hence, with all these stories, styles and structures incorporated in its offering, it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that #PresentationStuffs has been undoubtedly leading the presentation revolution in Nepal.
Paudel is associated with Sarwanam Theatre as a theatre artist and director