Have you ever heard the term Pechakucha (Pe-chuk-a-cha)? Pechakucha is Japanese, meaning "chit chat" and the best way to understand it is on the Pechakucha website. It is "show and tell" for adults - with a twist.
So why am I blogging about a Pechakucha?
Because I live and thrive in the world of storytelling. And not knowing about Pechakucha presentations is like missing an arm or leg, or at least a few digits. Have I piqued your interest yet?
A bit of history is necessary before we dive into why doing a Pechakucha presentation. In 2003, architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Tokyo's Klein Dytham Architecture invented the Pechakucha presentation. Their goal was to create a way to maximize the exchange of ideas while keeping the audience's attention by streamlining long design presentations. Basically, twenty PowerPoint slides, created by the presenter, are flashed onto a screen for twenty seconds each. The slides automatically advance, giving the presenter a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds to make presentation. The Pechakucha method is currently being implemented in schools, business, and at what is known as Pechakucha Nights (PKN). There are one thousand cities worldwide that have PKNs. Klein and Dytham held their first PKN in Tokyo at the SuperDeluxe.
Who and where are PKNs held?
The general format for PKN events is the same, but some hosts add their own twist to the event. A few years ago, I attended a Pechakucha event called Spark Exchange, hosted by Pire Associates Architects in New Haven, CT. At this event there were a handful of wonderfully creative, invited presenters. Then host Laura Pirie challenged the audience members to participate. A random slide flashed onto the screen and an audience member had twenty seconds to tell the story of that slide. The entire night was a success.
Recently I attended a PKN where a presenter spoke about her fear of heights while hiking in Peru to Machu Picchu. Another explained how he created a community-building concept called Dinner Stories to bring ten housemates closer. I left the event totally inspired and have signed up to present at the June New Haven PKN.
Why is the Pechakucha important?
We all have stories to tell about our life's experiences. The Pechakucha provides an avenue to share our tales, inspire people, and develop interest in something we are doing. Remember that Klein and Dytham first created the Pechakucha presentation format as a business tool. PKN is a way to share what inspires you, an experience you had, or promote what you love to do. As an author, I can see the potential of sharing my work with groups of people and grow my reader list at the same time. Klein and Dytham were onto something. Google Pechakucha with your local city's name to see if there is one near you. If not, start one yourself by going on the Pechakucha website to register.
I recommend going to a local PKN first. You won't be disappointed. What's most astonishing is the diversity of presenters and topics. From aliens to zookeepers, inspirational to comical, you never know what's going to be coming your way. The presentations are always informative and if you're not interested, it's okay; there will be a new one along in just under seven minutes.
If you're wondering, speaking this blog takes about 5min 34sec. Add in a few deep breaths, perhaps a long dramatic pause, and you're at the 6min 40sec Pechakucha presentation limit.
Don't wait; be a Pechakucha presenter today!