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"PechaKucha™ is what “Show and Tell” always dreamed of becoming." (as seen on the PechaKucha™ website)
What, Why & When
PechaKucha™ is a 20x20 format for short presentations consisting of exactly 20 slides on auto-timer, with each slide being displayed for 20 seconds. This results in a talk of 6 minutes and 40 seconds.
A PechaKucha™ presentation is a great alternative to the classical, plain slideshow, and it is especially useful for storytelling or for presenting creative portfolios. More generally, it can be used for any subject when there is one clear idea to be communicated (e.g. a concise overview of your research results). The slides usually contain one full-width image or photograph each, which makes this format very engaging for the audience. Because of the limited duration and the auto-timer, the speaker is required to sharpen their message when preparing their talk, and he is forced to stay on track when delivering it.
Name and Origin
PechaKucha™ means "chit chat" in Japanese. This format was invented by Tokyo-based architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham because they thought people in their industry talked too much. Instead, they wanted to set an example by delivering presentations where the focus was on actually showing the work.
Since then, PechaKuchas™ became a global phenomenon, with regular "PechaKuchas™ events" or nights being held in major cities from more than 140 countries. It is also used widely within the corporate world, as well as in schools as universities as an educational tool.
PechaKuchas™ are about helping you to:
- Present something in exactly 6 minutes and 40 seconds
- Be concise and clear
- Stay on time
- Engage your audience with compelling visuals
- Put your spoken message at the center (vs. slides with too much text)
You can prepare your PechaKucha™ by using a conventional presentation software (e.g. MS Powerpoint), but also simply as a .pdf to be presented with Adobe Reader (yes, it seems Adobe Reader also has an auto-timer function, see here how to do that).
- Decide on your key message;
- Create a story line for 20 slides;
- Choose 20 images for your slides;
- Set the auto-timer so that it switches to the following slide after 20 seconds;
- Practice your presentation (don't underestimate the importance of this step!);
- (Optional) Instead of Step 5, you can also pre-record your voice and play it with the slideshow (or combine them into a movie).
Links & Further reading
The official website of PechaKucha™. Find here:
- information about events around the world
- many examples of PechaKucha™ talks
- the online platform where you can create your own PechaKucha™ as a video with pre-recorded audio (but possibly for a fee)
- Technical tips for making a PechaKucha in Powerpoint or as a .pdf
The author of this entry is Cristina Apetrei.