3 things corporate leaders can learn from PechaKucha

Do you want to spice up your presentations? Have you wondered how you can get more out of your meetings? Consider exploring the PechaKucha presentation format.

PechaKucha events are being held world wide in front of thousands of people. What is PechaKucha? In a nutshell, it is a speaking format where you are allowed to have 20 slides, and each slide is on the screen for exactly 20 seconds.

PechaKucha is japanese and is derived from the sound of the ‘chit chat’. It was originally conceived by two architects in Tokyo as creative concept presentations often took far too long without getting to the point. Does this sound familiar?

The unique format of 20 x 20 forces the presenter to:

  • Have a rapid pace – every 20 seconds there is a new slide
  • Bring the core message down to 6 minutes and 40 seconds

Personally, I had the chance to participate in two PechaKucha events, in Brussels and Aachen, Germany. Have a look at my talk at PK Aachen on ‘Remote communication’ to get a feeling for the format.

The 3 things every corporate leader and business presenter can learn from this format are:

  • The short paced format: 6 minutes 40 seconds, and it is over. Meetings become lively again. Presenters are forced to really think about their core message. This requires some work beforehand but reduces the time spent deivering (and listening to) the presentation.
  • The visual attractiveness: PechaKucha pre sentations focus on visuals or BIG text core messages. This is brain-friendly and typically a lot more appealing to the eye than the average corporate slide.
  • Focus on igniting thoughts: rather than full-fledged explanations, PK presentations spark an idea and leave room for discussion as opposed to subjecting the audience to an endless presentation. In my experience the most productive meetings are the ones that encourage strong and maybe controversial discussions and not presentations that only share information. This presentation format is ideal for this purpose.

One of the (minor) disadvantages of the format is the fix pace – 20 seconds per slide, not more, not less. However, these are in my view outweighed by the advantages.

How is it done in practical terms?

  • When using MS Powerpoint, set the time on 20 seconds per slide
  • Have a maximum of 5 words per slide, and the use of pictures is encouraged
  • Keep the time

Also, the PK format can be useful when doing web conferences with e.g. WebEx or MS LiveMeeting– over the web short and concise content counts, so this will be much appreciated by your participants.

Corporate leaders, if you want to spice up your communication and the quality of your meetings, I suggest trying out the PechaKucha format out in one of your upcoming meetings.


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