What’s the first thought that leaps to your mind when you hear the words ‘PowerPoint Presentation’? Boring bullet points? Mind-deadening charts and graphs?

You may have not heard of PechaKucha, in that case. Pecha what, you’re probably wondering.

PechaKucha literally translates as “chit chat” in Japanese. It is an unusual storytelling format that has emerged as a popular alternative to traditional forms of presentation and is being used by millions of people across the world. 

The basic point of PechaKucha is to make presentations fun. And to be concise and precise. (By the way, in case you’re wondering, it’s pronounced petch-aa ku-chaa.)

A typical PechaKucha presentation tells powerful and visually compelling stories that move audiences in less than seven minutes. Or 6.6 minutes, to be precise.

It traditionally follows the 20-20 rule: 20 slides and 20 seconds of commentary per slide. That’s it. Each slide has simple content and is tied to the central theme of the presentation.

Over the years, it’s expanded from just a presentation style to an event. You have PechaKucha nights in hundreds of cities where people meet, network, and share their 20X20 presentations in public.

Here’s a link to a humorous and informative PechaKucha presentation, titled The World’s Best City When It Rains.

Why was PechaKucha created?

The PechaKucha technique was created by two Tokyo-based architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham in 2003 to share innovative and globally relevant ideas though quick and easy-to-digest presentations.

The idea was to replace tedious data-heavy reports and rambling lectures with an alternative that is far more accessible to the general public. You can think of it as a mini TEDTalk, minus the long talks and graphically heavy presentations.

PechaKucha forces the creator to creatively arrange their message within a strict form. And such creativity often produces amazing results.

How do you create a PechaKucha presentation?

There are four simple steps to create an impactful PechaKucha presentation:

1. Choose a Topic: If this is your first time creating a PechaKucha topic, start with a topic you absolutely love. You will not only have a healthy knowledge on the subject, but will  also be motivated to create and streamline your content.

2. Be Organized: PechaKucha’s format requires you to be disciplined while creating and executing it. Being organized goes a long way; always be sure to create an outline to structure your presentation and try your best not to deviate from the one point per slide. Don’t distract yourself with what you want to say. Instead, think about what your audience needs to hear.

Here is a PechaKucha presentation on how to create the perfect PechaKucha slide, titled How to Create Slides.

3. Create Your PowerPoint: The key to PechaKucha slides is simplicity. You’re encouraged not to use bullet points, facts and figures, and even text in some cases. Just choose an engaging image and speak over it.

This is the tried and tested format for PechaKucha presentations. Your audience has less than a minute to absorb each slide. No one wants to rush through text. A striking image that your audience can relate to or gain meaning from has much more impact than text-heavy slides with data.

Here’s a video tutorial, titled Creating a PechKucha Presentation Using PowerPoint

4. Practice Your Presentation: Practicing your presentation beforehand is very important when it comes to PechaKucha. The quick flow and inability to backtrack means you must know your content and the commentary of each slide well. Perhaps you learn your speech word by word. Or maybe you know the message of each slide and speak about it naturally. Either way, you must constantly be aware of the talking time you have for each slide.

Below is a list of some of the most popular PechaKucha topics currently trending in the world:

– Share Travel Experiences: My Last Vacation

– Talk Food: COVID Kitchen

– Emotions: How To Control Them

– Looking At The Future: What Does It Have In Store For Us?

– Explain What You Do: My Job, My Role, My Career So Far

– My Hobby: What I Love Doing, How I Got Good At It

– Talk About Pets: Tricks And Tips For Raising A Healthy Pet

– My Greatest Mistakes: What I Learned From Them

– Urban Gardening: How To Grow A Thriving Garden On Your Terrace Or Balcony

So, next time you have a presentation, don’t use boring old bullet points. Try PechaKucha instead.

Learn about the techniques and best practices of being an excellent communicator in a professional context with Harappa's Speaking Effectively course. Enroll now for the Online Learning Courses and pave your path to workplace success.

Tariq Hazarika is Manager, Operations at Harappa Education. He did a self-designed major in Anthropology, Journalism, and Gender and Women’s Studies, from Knox College in Illinois. He worked in AI research straight out of college and has been working with digital products ever since.

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