Pecha Kucha is a global presentation phenomenon started in 2003 in Tokyo by two expatriates. What is Pecha Kucha? Our friend Daniel Pink sums up the essence of Pecha Kucha in the title of his Wired article on the subject: "Pecha Kucha: Get to the PowerPoint in 20 Slides Then Sit the Hell Down." The Pecha Kucha method of presentation design and delivery is very simple. You must use 20 slides, each shown for 20 seconds, as you tell your story. That's 6 minutes and 40 seconds. Slides advance automatically and when you're done you're done. That's it. Sit down. The objective of these simple but tight restraints is to keep the presentations brief and focused and to give more people a chance to present in a single night. I attended my first Pecha Kucha Night in Tokyo last May and the place was packed so tight with such a buzz in the crowd that it was difficult to hear some of the presenters.
Pecha Kucha in Tokyo
Pecha Kucha Nights are held in cities from Amsterdam and Auckland to Venice and Vienna. Checkout the main Pecha Kucha Web site to find info on the Pecha Kucha night near you. If you search on YouTube you can find some example presentations, but none that I can find really do the method justice (if you know of a good quality video please let me know). This clip from Tokyo below pretty much shows how it went on the night I attended as well (in Japanese with some English on the slides).
If nothing else, I think Pecha Kucha is good training and good practice. Everyone should try Pecha Kucha; it's a good exercise for getting your story down even if you do not use the method exactly for your live talk in your work. It does not matter whether or not you can implement the Pecha Kucha "20x20 6:40" method exactly in your own company or school, but the spirit behind it and the concept of "restrictions as liberators" can be applied to most any presentation situation.
The method makes going deep difficult. But if there is a good discussion after a Pecha Kucha type of presentation then it may work well even inside an organization. I can imagine having college students give this kind of presentation about their research followed by deeper questioning and probing by the instructor and class. Which would be more difficult for a student and a better indication of their knowledge: a 45 minute recycled and typical PowerPoint presentation, or a tight 6:40 presentation followed by 30 minutes of probing questions and discussion?
An example by Daniel Pink
If you want to see a good example of the Pecha Kucha method (sans speaker, just slides and narration) watch this nice piece below put together by Dan Pink on signs.
Dan's topic is very interesting to me as I too am a big fan of signs and notice them all the time. I snapped this pic below in Manzanita on the Oregon Coast this summer. Another great example of "emotional intelligence" that produces "a smile in the mind" for all those who pass by (and it may lead to greater compliance as well).
Bow wow wow...roof.