A new type of speaking club is starting to be the rage around the world. It’s known as pecha-kucha (pronounced (peh-chock-uh-chuh), from a japanese phrase meaning “the sound of conversation.” It is characterized by succinctness of presentation, imposed by a mandatory limit of twenty PowerPoint slides shown for twenty seconds each, automatically advanced by the timer feature in PowerPoint. The resulting 6 minute and 40 seconds presentation is often elegant, brief, and piercingly to-the-point.
Pecha-kucha was started by two American architects working in Japan as a new way to encourage architectural designers to express the essence of their new designs with brevity and clarity. It worked so well that it is now being shared around the world in clubs that come together regularly to share this form of expression. It reminds me of Toastmasters.
Professors at least one university, Georgia Tech, are starting to require students to adopt this mode of presentation for class projects and oral assignments. Make that two universities. I am planning to start teaching a course in Business Communications at ORU in the spring semester of 2010. I plan to instruct my students in pecha-kucha and require them to use it in their class presentations.
The call-out quotation in this blog post came from an online article in Creative Loafing. You can read more about the international organization that now promotes this interesting new communications technique at www.pecha-kucha.org.