On Doing a Pecha Kucha Presentation

On Tuesday evening both Eliza and I gave presentations at the most recent Greenville Pecha Kucha Night at The Warehouse Theatre.  Our friend Maxim, who MCs the events, had used his wily Jedi mind tricks back in February to get us to agree to do the presentations.  All around I think I would say it was an interesting event and experience.

Pecha Kucha, Japanese for “chit-chat”, is a presentation style in which each presenter has twenty slides of material and twenty seconds to talk about each slide, for the total of a  six-minute forty-second presentation.  The idea is that such constraints will strip a presentation down to its bare minimums.  The presenter has to stay on topic and also know his or her content very well.  All around, both watching and presenting, it is a very fast paced occurrence.

I think that both Eliza and I felt some inhibitions going into this thing.  While both of us a familiar with giving presentations (at work for me, and on gardening stuff for Eliza) neither of us was quite prepared for the whole timed slides experience.  Additionally, I had a hard time choosing a topic (I finally settled on talking about my “doodling” little drawings on everything).

As far as the presentation itself went, if seemed like it was over in mere moments.  Pecha Kucha is extremely fast.  However, thinking about the slides prior to actually going up to the stage, each twenty seconds seem almost unbearably long.  When it was done I had a major adrenaline rush.

As an observance, I suspect that there are a couple of considerations for how to create an ideal and effective Pecha Kucha presentation.

  1. Topic:  Obviously, the best topics for this kind of presentation format is something that you are very familiar with.  If you are not well versed in the topic you are just setting yourself up to trip up and miss points.  Choosing “doodling” for me was kind of because it is something I do all the time and think about quite often, making it, ideally, pretty easy to talk  about for seven minutes.
  2. Slides:  I see there being t wo kind of choices with slides (probably more, but these stand out the most to me).  The first choice is to make really specific slides with things on each that you intend to address in that slide’s allotted twenty seconds.  The second option, as I see it, is to simply provide a bunch of slides that just support your topic, but not worry too much about what is on an individual slide (basically focusing more on the entirety of the six minutes and forty seconds to address the topic as a whole).  Personally, I went with more specific slides and had some ideas about what I was going to try to say about each.
  3. Presenting:  Another thing that see two major choices for is how you perform the presentation itself.  On one hand, you can opt to basically remember almost scripted content, and get yourself timed real good.  On the flip side, you can have an idea about what to talk about but basically just wing it and do some improv up on the stage.  My suspicion is that a lot of people try to scrip theirs at first, but ultimately end up relying on at least some degree of improv.  For me, personally, I am almost always in improvised presenter.  While I usually have an idea of talking points and a strong familiarity of the content, I tend to rely on my own fast thinking in the moment to say whatever it is that I feel like saying.  Usually this works for me pretty well (not always, but most of the time).  It seemed to be successful for this Pecha Kucha presentation.

All around it was an interesting exercise in an entirely different form of presentation.  Considering the ubiquity of PowerPoint presentations, Pecha Kucha challenges people to approach a familiar format in a new way.  If you are desiring to get better at being more concise and staying on topic, Pecha Kucha might be something you’d want to try some day.  I might consider doing it again someday (though probably not any time soon).

Once the presentations are posted on the Greenville Pecha Kucha Night site I will provide an update with a link here.

Peace y’all.

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~ by Nathaniel on March 29, 2012.

One Response to “On Doing a Pecha Kucha Presentation”

  1. […] On Doing a Pecha Kucha Presentation (generallordisimo.com) […]

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