Teaching Tip #14: Pecha Kucha

One of the biggest challenges for an audience today seems to be to sit politely attentive through a tedious presentation! Having sat through such tedium, many a presenter would do well to relook at yet another way to remove possibility of monotony in what he or she presents. Pecha Kucha, pronounced “pech-a-kee-shoe” with the stress equal on all four syllables, meaning “the sound of conversation” in Japanese, is one such way.

It was first conceived by Tokyo architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham, who were seeking a way to encourage student presenters to use PowerPoint in a more organized and succinct manner. This form lasts exactly six minutes and forty seconds. Much like the pre-structured haiku, each pecha kucha presentation has 20 slides and each slide is set with a timer to display on the screen for exactly 20 seconds before the next slide advances. For this reason, pecha kucha is sometimes referred to as 20×20 presentation. The presenter has to practise his presentation, a step that many speakers tend to skip when they know they are simply going to read slides aloud to the audience. The pecha kucha format also makes it difficult for the presenter to wander off topic. Part of the spirit of pecha kucha is that an image on a slide should support what the speaker is saying and not be something the audience has to read. A simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images forward automatically and you talk along to the images.

Teachers could make this format an option for students to use while presenting assignments, since students today are drawn to graphic representation of concepts and enjoy plan-solutioning and execution. They are adept at sourcing graphics from internet. This 20×20 format is likely to inculcate the twin skills of precision thinking and concise expression and make them future ready for audience management, across all walks of life.





Author: Sonali Bhattacharyya


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