How to Give a Great Pecha Kucha Talk

Pecha Kucha is an innovative and effective presentation method designed by a pair of architects that’s completely transformed the way presentations are delivered.

The rules for a Pecha Kucha presentation are simple: The presentation must contain exactly 20 slides that are displayed for precisely 20 seconds each, making the total presentation time six minutes and 40 seconds. That’s why Pecha Kucha presentations are also frequently called 20×20 presentations.

But just because the rules of this format are simple doesn’t mean their application is. If you’re interested in designing one of these groundbreaking presentations yourself, then apply the following tips to make it a whole lot easier.

Say Your Topic in a Sentence
When giving this type of presentation, it’s critical that your topic is concise and straightforward. If you try to say too much, you’ll end up not really saying anything at all. To be sure your topic is tight and to-the-point, try to say it in one sentence. If you struggle to do this, you’re probably trying to present too much information that’ll get lost in this short format.

Keep Slide Text to a Minimum
We always advise using minimal text on each slide, but this is especially important for Pecha Kucha presentations. Because the slides automatically advance every 20 seconds, your audience won’t be able to process more than a few words on each slide, so don’t include any more than that. Instead, focus on compelling slide imagery and design.

Find the Story in Your Topic
It’s nearly impossible to engage an audience in six minutes using dry facts and figures alone. In fact, research suggests that good storytelling is key to making any audience pay closer attention, no matter the format. That said, to really engage your audience here, you need to find a compelling story behind it that conveys the importance and value of your topic.

Tell a Story With Images
Speaking of storytelling, rather than focus on adding a lot of text to each slide, focus on adding beautiful images that enhance your narrative instead. However, keep in mind that what’s beautiful up close can often look fuzzy and confusing from the perspective of your audience. Your images should be as clear and straightforward from afar as your content.

Use Just a Few Main Points
It’s really challenging to present more than a small handful of main points in this short format. Generally speaking, try not to present more than three main points and fill the rest of your presentation with facts and examples that support those points.

Practice Your Timing
In addition to practicing what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it, you must also pay close attention to the timing of what you’re saying. Since the slides are moving forward at 20-second intervals, you need to make sure that your speech is perfectly in line with the timing of those slides otherwise you’ll leave your audience incredibly confused.

Give Yourself Some Visual Cues
To help ensure your speech coincides with your slides, it’s a good idea to include visual cues on each slide that serve as subtle reminders for what to say next. This will also help diminish the panic and anxiety that comes with worrying that you’ll forget what to say.

Ever wondered what kind of a presenter you are? Then take Ethos3’s Badge Assessment to discover your unique presentation persona.

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