A speedy intro to Pecha Kucha

I recently went to a session demonstrating Pecha Kucha (Japanese for chit-chat) in action. For the uninitiated, this is the discipline of speedy but impactful presenting – presenters have to deliver 20 slides and can only spend 20 seconds on each before the slide automatically progresses. So each presentation lasts no longer than 6 minutes and 40 seconds. It was invented in 2003 Tokyo, by architects, and is apparently most popular in creative fields.

This was the first time the four presenters had used this method, And so I was expecting them to be a lot more rushed than they actually were. Instead, 20 seconds felt like more than long enough to get across key points. The Wikipedia article suggests that the method depends on strength of both personality and ideas. That was certainly the case in the examples I saw, while they all had a strongly visual element – as someone pointed out, a picture was literally painting a thousand words.

It’s something I’d love to try – although I don’t think I’d fancy the very public Pecha Kucha nights, which sound a little too public and competitive an introduction. But I couldn’t help thinking that the mixture of short sharp and incisive content really gels with what works in social media – so potentially an interesting way to explore its value to those who want to know more.


    • That didn’t seem rushed at all, nor did it feel like a first attempt. The session I was at was also the first time that the people had tried it, and they pointed to the amount of preparation it had taken. I guess anything that improves presenting style and focuses on getting a message across succintly has to be good.

  1. I think it’s a great format. While not quite brave enough to enforce the 20×20 format, I’ve certainly aimed to run MailCamp events to a similar structure (5-7 min talks, in batches) which certainly throws up a lot of content and ideas in a short space of time.

    • As long as you’re in control of those 5-7 min talks that’s ok, but too many times what starts off threatening to be a 5 or 10 minute talk ends up being much much more. Having the enforced discipline of the slides moving along with no control at all definitely focused people. M

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