Do ya Pecha Kucha?

Pe-cha-ku-cha? Hold up, before you think I’m insulting you, let’s talk about it.

Pecha Kucha literally means “chit-chat” in Japanese, but in this context, it’s a style and method of presenting. So when I ask, “Do ya Pecha Kucha?” what I mean to ask you is, do you know how to rapidly present an idea in 6 minutes and 40 seconds? Better yet, can you devote a mere 20 seconds to 20 different slides? Let me tell you, if Peter Shaw and Bob Cole can do it, I’m sure you can!

Just before spring break I lead an open-ended workshop with Peter Shaw that helped 20 GSTILE students contribute 20 seconds each to 20 pecha kucha slides for the TESOL department…

And this past Friday I watched Bob Cole freestyle a pecha kucha presentation using truly random assortment of slides. Needless to say it was AWESOME and it even included some audience participation, which caught us all off guard.

Bob Cole’s 20×20 about MIIS Happening and Pecha Kucha


Both the process and finished products of the presentations were quite amazing, so in the spirit of MIIS Happening and the upcoming Pecha Kucha Clinic on Friday, April 10th, let me share with you some key takeaways…

  1. Pecha Kucha is direct
    • 20 slides may seem like an overwhelming amount of space for content, but 20 seconds is a very short amount of time to present anything meaningful. There’s no room for slides full of text or complex diagrams. Every slide is a short, powerful chapter in a story. Peter used 20 still images from his class field trip to Bay View Academy, where his graduate students taught foreign languages to middle school students. The voice overs for those 20 slides came from 20 students in the session, so each student had to be very succinct in the soundbytes they provided. Each one used an average of only 50 words!
  2. Pecha Kucha is engaging
    • Styles vary even within Pecha Kucha, but the idea is to convey a meaningful message or story in a short amount of time. In a way, it’s a direct response to death by powerpoint. Pecha Kucha tends to bring a presenter’s points to life by giving them a relief point. After 20 seconds, the slide shifts whether they’re ready or not, so when presented live it tends to keep the attention of the audience, who deep down inside know that they only get 20 seconds to hear and see each point. It’s like a power point that’s adapted to our short attention spans! Bob was riffing, but great at keeping our attention. He even had a timer built into his slides, which you can find the template for on the MIIS Happening page.
  3. Pecha Kucha is fun
    • Unlike all the text above, Pecha Kucha is enjoyable to be a part of. On the back end I got to help Peter Shaw put together a fast-paced multimedia project using PowerPoint, Garageband, and Camtasia, and on the front end it’s fun to watch! Get a group of Pecha Kucha presenters together and you’ve got yourself a party… of sorts, which is exactly what MIIS Happening is!

I don’t want to spoil the details of the MIIS Happening event, so just take my word for it that Pecha Kucha is what’s happenin’ – so follow the link to get schooled and I’ll see you on Friday in the DLC from 10-11am!