Pecha Kucha: Speed Dating for Presenters

The purpose of speed dating is to get as many “good” phone numbers as possible in a short time. Little time is wasted, and potential suitors have to sell their best qualities quickly. If the bell rings before you told her that you liked romantic walks on the beach and kittens, you’re out of luck.

There is a trend in presentation delivery that places a presenter in a similar situation. Unlike speed dating, however, your success rate is determined by more than your rugged good looks. It’s called Pecha Kucha (pronouncedPecha Kucha not Pickachu peh-chach-ka, not to be confused with Pikachu). Originating in Tokyo and created by two architects, this presentation style has officially gone viral and has swept across the globe. Regular “PechaKucha Nights” now happen monthly in (at last count) 527 cities across the globe… including San Francisco! Pecha Kucha is named for the Japanese sound of conversation, or “chit chat” when translated.

When the two creators were asked why they started this whole thing in the first place, they replied, “Because architects talk too much! Give a microphone and some images to an architect – or most creative people for that matter – and they’ll go on forever! Give PowerPoint to anyone else and they have the same problem.” Amen to that!

This is how it works: Each presenter talks through 20 slides, each of which is auto-timed to appear for exactly 20 seconds. The format is also referred to as 20×20. And so, each presentation is exactly 6 minutes and 40 seconds long. And that’s pretty much it. Simple.

But is it effective?

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Top 5: PowerPoint Alternatives

Contrary to popular belief, PowerPoint isn’t the only slide show creation application in town. There are other apps available, some that live in the cloud, and some that are free to use. PowerPoint is arguably the most powerful app with the most features, but it’s not necessarily the best tool for every job. Furthermore, most of these other apps allow you to “save as” to other formats, making it easy to port your presentation from one app to another with minimal compatibility issues. Here’s a roundup of popular PowerPoint alternatives! Continue reading

Unique slide backgrounds

We all want to create unique and engaging slideshows. However, we undermine this goal when we start the creation process by opening PowerPoint, and selecting a prepackaged design template as the basis for our entire presentation. These templates can stifle our creativity and often lead to typical (boring) presentations. Think back to the last few presentations that you attended… did any of the presenter’s slides use background designs and bullet point graphics that you have seen before?

With that being said, it can be intimidating to start a presentation with the “blank” template, especially if you’re new to the idea of presentation zen. As a compromise, consider starting with a simple, clean template, and then mixing in some different designs and backgrounds on a select number of slides. PowerPoint practically forces you to use the same template background on every slide, however, so you have to know the trick!

before and after PowerPoint slides

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