Looking for a way to spice up content at your next show? Think Pecha Kucha (pronounced peh-chak-cha). It may sound more Pokémon than PowerPoint but it could be just the thing to spice up a stale session.
Here’s the skinny: Each presenter shows 20 slides for 20 seconds each resulting in an overall presentation that lasts less than seven minutes.
The concept (Pecha Kucha is Japanese for “the sound of conversation”) was created by a pair of architects as a way for creative types to show off work and ideas in a fun fast format. Over the past few years Pecha Kucha “nights” have started sprouting up all over the United States. At the events people gather to watch a series of the mini-presentations. Sometimes the presentations are united by a theme but often it’s open to a variety of topics.
The challenge to creating a Pecha Kucha presentation is also the format’s greatest strength. By forcing a presentation into 20-second slides a presenter has to drill down to the essential takeaways and deliver information in a digestible easy-to-understand format. For an attendee the benefit is getting a quick overview of a topic without committing more than a few minutes to something that may or may not pique their interest.
Peter Exley an architect and co-host for Pecha Kucha Night Chicago refers to the concept as the antidote to a formal presentation. “You don’t have the luxury of having a great deal of time ” Exley says. “You have a 400-second lecture and it forces you to be succinct and to get your idea across in a swift fashion with great clarity.”
As the popularity of Pecha Kucha nights grows the concept is now making waves in the corporate and event world. Autodesk for example has made Pecha Kucha a mainstay at its annual user event. The Pecha Kucha component regularly draws 400 to 500 people according to Colleen Rubart a senior manager at Autodesk.
“It’s very fluid and flexible ” Rubart says of the sessions. “The format makes for a well-prepared speaker and an entertaining presentation. The outcome is usually very concise clear and to the point.”
Want to make Pecha Kucha a part of your next event? Consider mimicking the environment of Pecha Kucha Nights by going off-site to a trendy bar or restaurant to promote a creative laidback vibe. If you’re limited to on-site locations try to create a set-up that’s not as formal as a regular presentation—perhaps by experimenting with different types of lighting and bringing in stools or other alternative seating options to promote informality.