PechaKucha What?

Those of you who were at the ABC Midwest-Southeast meeting in Louisville a couple of weeks ago may have attended a presentation or two about (or using) PechaKucha. PechaKucha (Japanese for “chatter”) is a delivery format in which a presenter delivers images in 20 slides, spending only 20 seconds narrating each slide. Because slides advance automatically after 20 seconds, presenters must stick to the time limit, meaning that the entire presentation lasts only 6 minutes, 40 seconds.

Why use PechaKucha? How might it help students in the business communication classroom?

  • PechaKucha forces presenters to really think about their main points and stick to them. The time limits on the slides ensure that presenters do not get off on tangents or extensively elaborate on their topic.
  • Because the slides contain mostly images rather than text, presenters avoid the trap of reading slides to their audience and instead focus on the delivery of their message. Another benefit, of course, is that audiences are not subjected to a mind-numbing reading of the slides and then left wondering why they attended a presentation when they could have read the presentation on their own.
  • We all know the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Because PechaKucha relies on images, audiences may be more likely to recall a main point or idea if they can associate it with an image rather than with a lot of words or lines of text.

To see an example of PechaKucha, visit the PechaKucha Web site and check out Greg Judelman’s 18 Tidbits on the Design of Change. You can learn the 18 tips in 20 slides in 6 minutes, 40 seconds…impressive and effective.

Is PechaKucha right for every business presentation? As with any communication channel, PechaKucha should be used if it is right for the audience, purpose, context, and content for a presentation. Do you use PechaKucha in your classes? If so, tell us about it.

4 thoughts on “PechaKucha What?

  1. I have frequently used this technique for four years with fairly good
    results. My Records Management course lends itself to this style
    because the subject matter is dry and PK spices it up.

    Specifically, I have teams present using PK on topics such
    as cloud computing, QR codes, firewalls, data mining, electronic
    health records and other electronic imaging concepts. These topics
    reinforce the PK presentation with good visuals and Google Images
    offers a plethora of pertinent visuals.

    All team members must present and rehearsals are required to
    practice transitions and cohesiveness. Each team grades itself using
    an established rubric that includes presentation style and a written
    component, namely an Executive Summary.

    Students love it because it is different and it is not the usual Powerpoint presentation. So between using Prezi and Pecha-Kucha,
    we have been able to create more enthusiasm for course content
    and learning in various subjects.

    Tom Pickering

    • Hi, Tom~

      Do you find any drawbacks to this approach? At the ABC-MW/SE conference Kathy and I wondered if there were any types of presentations that do not lend themselves well to this approach (e.g., presentations with a lot of financial detail). I’m guessing the presentations you get on the topics you list are much more interesting done PK style. I also like how you incorporate the executive summary as part of the assignment. Our students do not get nearly enough practice, so thanks for the tip on how to slip one in some place other than the formal report!

      ~Paula

      • Paula,

        I think you have to be selective for sure on topics. I try to select
        topics of personal interest that relate to the job search.

        An example might be FICO scores. There are statistics, but
        FICO is of particular interest because some employers are using
        this indicator in their background searches on potential employees.

        The job search has taken on an entirely new complexion and topics
        related to this always merit attention.

        Tom

  2. Just wanted to mention that Mariann Maris and Sally Stanton of the U of Wisconsin-Milwaukee presented this cool idea at the conference–and that the conference itself was super. Kudos to Teresa Sekine and Lisa Gueldenzoph Snyder (VPs of the ABC midwest and southeast regions) and Kathryn Rybka (the local chair) for a great experience!

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