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PechaKucha (pecha kucha)

PechaKucha is a presentation software format that lasts exactly six minutes and forty seconds.

Each PechaKucha presentation has 20 slides and each slide is set with the software's timer to display on the screen for exactly 20 seconds before the next slide advances. For this reason, PechaKucha is sometimes referred to as 20x20 presentation.

PechaKucha, which means "the sound of conversation" in Japanese, 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. The format inspires creativity by imposing constraints upon the presenter just as the Haiku format does with unrhymed verses.

Because PechaKucha slides progress automatically, the presenter cannot stop to advance a slide manually or go back to a previous slide. This forces the presenter to practice his presentation, a step that many speakers tend to skip when they know they are simply reading slides aloud to the audience. The constraints imposed by the PechaKucha format also make it difficult for the presenter to wander off topic.

The format works best when the presenter picks a main idea, writes a script for his presentation that supports that main idea and then breaks the script into twenty "scenes" that become slides. Only at this point should the presenter begin to think about finding or creating images to go with each slide. 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.

PechaKuchu is pronounced "pech-a-kee-shoe" with the stress remaining equal on all four syllables. The format has become so popular that it has inspired PechaKuchu Nights in over 500 cities around the world where audiences gather at bars and other venues to watch presentations, much the same way audiences gather for karaoke. To protect the efforts of city organizers, the name PechaKucha Night is trademarked.

See also: death by Powerpoint

 

This was last updated in August 2013

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