As with most thing in life, I was a little slow on the uptake. The Pecha Kucha format has been around since 2003 but somehow it took me 10 years to do my first one and even then it was under duress. For those more behind than me (which probably means you are still clinging onto your VHS collection for non ironic-coolness reasons), a Pecha Kucha is a presentation format where you speak on a topic and support your ideas with 20 slides, each pre-timed to change after only 20 seconds.
For confident, loquacious individuals, these stipulations may seem like a doddle. However, as a recent inductee into the Pecha Kucha guild I can attest to the difficulty level of the challenge. To put the difficulty level in context, i think I can confidently claim that Pecha Kucha would be the chosen format if presentations were to ever become an Olympic sport. The level of precision required to make sure you speech links seamlessly with the images forces a presenter to exhibit all the best traits of a presenter whilst avoiding most bad habits.
Pecha Kuchas require you to be organized, to practice and to be succinct. The format also forces you think about your slide choice and forces you to shift beyond death by bullet point. There are no longer opportunities to milk a well-received joke or to shuffle through poorly organized note cards: the audience knows you are on the clock and will not be impressed if you lose the plot.
As a professional waffler, I felt the pinch as I stood before my Ed tech class. Had I prepared enough? Would I manage to keep it together long enough to get a passing grade? Pausing over the PowerPoint start button, I felt like I was jumping onto a water slide: no stopping, a definite end and no way to hit pause in-between.
My Pecha Kucha examined some of the positives and negatives of using different types of humor in the classroom. Here is the PowerPoint I created for this topic:
After admiring the pretty, cited pictures you may have a sneaking suspicion I am not all that I claim to be. And you would be right. If you who have bothered to scroll through my presentation, you will have already discovered my awful lie: yes it is true, I only did a half-Pecha. Oh the shame! Now you can throw me in the same liar-liar basket as those awful runners who bandy the word marathon or triathlon around without adding that crucial ‘half’.
Yes, I think it will be a while before I have the strength to join the ranks of the Pecha Kucha hardcore. In the meantime, go to the Pecha Kucha website and watch the professionals at work. Better still, join the presentation glitterati at the next Pecha Kucha Global hangout or read about Farmer Doble’s dalliances with the Pecha.
- Pecha Kucha Presentation. (farmerdoble.wordpress.com)
- Pecha Kucha Vol. 12: The Education Edition (thenextlouisville.wordpress.com)