Do You Know Pecha Kucha?

Do You Know Pecha Kucha?

You might have done this already a hundred times. But - shame on me - until a few weeks ago, I haven’t even heard of the concept of Pecha Kucha. I know Poetry Slams and Science Slams. I am aware of Prezi and TED Talks. I am an experienced presenter. But I have to admit that it wasn’t until last week that I delivered my first presentation Pecha Kucha style ... it worked extremely well.

I instantly liked the concept, when I was being asked to present Pecha Kucha in front of Architects in Dornbirn, Austria. I was also curious about how it would differ from a conventional talk.

Pecha Kucha is a rapid form of presentation. It has been developed in 2003 by architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham in Tokio. Presenters are allowed exactly 20 images or slides, and just 20 seconds with each one. The result is a streamlined 6 minutes 40 seconds presentation that gets the key points across and allows for multiple speakers to share their ideas over the course of a short period of time.

EckartSchmitt Gubi

In our event for the architects, eight speakers covered eight alluring topics related to wood in less than an hour. The people in the audience seemed to enjoy the format. At least, they acknowledged each presentation with enthusiastic applause. Having listened myself to all, but my own performance, I would say, the presentations felt more like glittering fireworks of arguments than meandering flows of thoughts.

Preparing the presentation was also different than usual. French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal is being credited with the sentence: “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time”. That was what the preparation of the Pecha Kucha talk was about: Starting off with the thoughts and story I wanted to convey, I shortened it and shortened it and shortened it ... to the essence of what really mattered (select repetitions can still make sense, if they underline what is really important :-) ). I also rehearsed the presentation quite a few times to make sure, what I would say, stayed in sync with the slide show that would merciless advance from one slide to the next every 20 seconds.

So, what did I finally say? Even shorter than 6 minutes 40:

  • I’m glad you are here.
  • It’s going to be interesting for you.
  • Wood is good – wood in general ... and hardwood from Danzer in particular.
  • Danzer does much more than 3D-Veneer, the topic of today’s talk
  • Unlimited design possibilities
  • Professional support
  • Looking forward to interesting – potentially – joint projects

If you ever have the opportunity to listen to a Pecha Kucha style presentation, or to deliver one, or to introduce the format to your organization, I’d recommend, try it! I hope, you enjoy yours as much, as I did mine.

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About the Author

Eckart Schmitt

CEO Danzer Specialty Division

Eckart Schmitt works on developing, producing and marketing technical veneers for Danzer. He focuses his organization's sales and marketing efforts on architects, designers and product developers who want to realize projects with wood that perform technically and commercially. He has worked in architectural sales for other building products before. Today, he also represents the marketing function at the Danzer Corporate level and believes in the old marketing adage: Give your very best and talk about it. He lives with his family close to Lake Constance.