by: Dominic Basulto
Tired of really bad PowerPoint presentations, two architects in Tokyo created a new PowerPoint format defined as 20 slides, displayed for 20 seconds each, for a total presentation time of 6 minutes, 40 seconds. As Seth Godin points out: "If you are really and truly having a meeting to discuss something, then the Pecha Kucha approach is brilliant." Or, as Dan Pink suggests in Wired magazine, Get to the PowerPoint in 20 Slides Then Sit the Hell Down:
"Let us now bullet-point our praise for Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein, two Tokyo-based architects who have turned PowerPoint, that fixture of cubicle life, into both art form and competitive sport. Their innovation, dubbed pecha-kucha (Japanese for "chatter"), applies a simple set of rules to presentations: exactly 20 slides displayed for 20 seconds each. That's it. Say what you need to say in six minutes and 40 seconds of exquisitely matched words and images and then sit the hell down. The result, in the hands of masters of the form, combines business meeting and poetry slam to transform corporate cliché into surprisingly compelling beat-the-clock performance art."
Anyway, the first presentations were such a hit that Dytham and Klein began hosting monthly pecha-kucha events for hundreds of Tokyo-based architects and designers. Now there are pecha kucha nights in 80 cities all over the world.
ASIDE: According to Wikipedia, Pecha Kucha is pronounced as "peh-chak-cha," which in Japanese loosely translates to "the sound of conversation."