INSIGHTS INTO PECHA KUCHA – THE ART OF CONCISE PRESENTATIONS

Photo source

Photo source.

The MosaicLab team is regularly involved in events that feature speakers and presentations.  As we all know, regular old PowerPoint presentations can sometimes be a little lengthy, dull and un-engaging.  So, to shake things up and ensure each presentation really connects with the audience, we often encourage the speakers we work with to adopt a very high-energy, fast-paced style of presenting known as Pecha Kucha. 

Pecha Kucha, the Japanese term for the sound of conversation (“chit chat”) began in Tokyo in 2003. Devised by two architects that realised many PowerPoint presentations could be overly long and tedious, Pecha Kucha is a simple presentation format built around 20 images.  Each image appears for 20 seconds before the slides advance automatically.  Each speaker has just 6 mins and 40 seconds to convey their message.

Pecha Kucha is a concise, visual, exciting way of conveying information.  While it can be a little challenging to use at first (because it takes most of us out of our presentation comfort zone), it has some great benefits.  More is said and conveyed in less time and in a more interesting way. Ultimately, every speaker wants to engage and entertain their audience and Pecha Kucha offers the perfect platform for doing so – no more text heavy slides, long winded sentences or rambling tangents! 

Additionally, there’s a certain feeling in the air when Pecha Kucha presentations are taking place.   Speakers are ‘battling the clock’, attempting to tell their story within the time allowed.  The audience often becomes engaged in not only the content, but the challenge, taking the journey with the speaker and willing them to succeed as they experience the highs and lows of this simple yet very high impact way of presenting.


MY PECHA KUCHA EXPERIENCE: TIPS AND INSIGHTS FROM 3 SPEAKERS NEW TO THE STYLE

At a session facilitated by MosaicLab’s Keith Greaves during the 2016 IAP2 Australasia Conference, a number of speakers trialed Pecha Kucha for the first time. Three of these presenters have kindly shared some reflections on their experience as well as some great tips for overcoming some of the challenges associated with working within this format. 

 
microphone pecha kucha
 
It’s a bit like I tell my 3 year old when he’s unwell and doesn’t want to take Panadol. It tastes a bit icky but will make you feel better. The PK process was like that for me – trying to wrangle it was a bit icky but the benefit was a pithy, (hopefully) engaging, presentation.
— Rachael, first time Pecha Kucha presenter

Q and A with Rachael Laverton, Department Premier and Cabinet, South Australia

How much experience had you had with Pecha Kucha previously? None.

Can you describe how you felt/your reaction when you were first asked to present using this style?
How on earth am I going to wrangle a research project that is data heavy to PK – which is meant to be fast and visual??

How would your presentation have been different if you hadn’t used the Pecha Kucha style?
Not sure as I broke the PK rules a bit!

What benefits do you think this style can offer?
It made me focus on the key points. What did I really need to include in the presentation.

How did you feel or what did you observe about the audience reaction to your presentation?
It seemed positive. I definitely heard a bit of discussion in the audience when I was going through the data but I couldn’t absorb what it was.

Do you think this style presents any challenges and how did you overcome them?
Lots of challenges. Overcome by developing several iterations of the presentation.


 
microphone pechakucha
 
Hindsight is a wonderful thing - approach your content more like a story, keep it high level and less is more! It can be more light hearted, than an usual presentation due to the length. Practice once or twice as 6mins 40 secs isn’t as long as you think!”
— Clair, first time Pecha Kucha presenter

Clair Paddison, LandCorp

Can you describe how you felt/your reaction when you were first asked to present using this style?
Interested – good opportunity to learn a new style of presentation. (it would have been useful to be advised with a bit more lead time so I could have prepared more thoroughly).

How would your presentation have been different if you hadn’t used the Pecha Kucha style
Probably not a lot more different – certainly no more slides but content would have been more detailed.

What benefits do you think this style can offer?
Keeps the presentation quick and punchy

How did you feel or what did you observe about the audience reaction to your presentation?
Can’t recall too busy trying to ensure I kept to the 6mins and 40secs – but I did get a laugh at the last slide, which was intended!

Do you think this style presents any challenges and how did you overcome them?
Yes finding images to align with content  (and vice versus) when what you are talking about isn’t always visual. Ensuring content is succinct so it can be presented within the allocated timeframe.


 
image microphone pechakucha
 

Andrew Lamb, Department Environment, Water and Natural Resources, South Australia

Can you describe how you felt/your reaction when you were first asked to present using this style? 
“I’ll wing it.” 

How would your presentation have been different if you hadn’t used the Pecha Kucha style?
I would have more time, to deliver more information. 

What benefits do you think this style can offer? 
A good way to get through lots of presentations and limit the ability of people to be boring or pedantic. 

How did you feel or what did you observe about the audience reaction to your presentation?
Seemed to get pretty good feedback.

Do you think this style presents any challenges and how did you overcome them? 
We had to identify the two or three key points we wanted to get across and wrap the presentation around these. 


KEY TIPS FOR SUCCESSFULLY DELIVERING A PECHA KUCHA PRESENTATION


To assist speakers new to this presentation style, MosaicLab has provided a free download 4 top tips for successfully working with Pecha Kucha.

To download your free resource by clicking the image provided.


WANT MORE FREE DOWNLOADS?

Head over to our free resources page.


Inspiration and content for this post thanks to www.pechakucha.org where you can find more information about Pecha Kucha and Pecha Kucha nights in your region.