The enemy of great presentations is verbosity: too many slides, too much text on each one and even too many themes. Yes, they’re an intelligent audience (never assume they’re not) but we need you to simplify things, because:

  • We’re not going to remember much more than three key points. Probably best that you reduce what you’re presenting down to that number. What’s that? You can get it down to less than three? Even better.
  • It makes you look more knowledgeable, because true experts can easily explain their complex subject in a way that anyone can understand. I love Stephen Hawking because he can help me understand concepts that would normally bamboozle.
  • It makes you look modest and approachable, because you’re a.) not trying to impress us with a ton of information or b.) not so arrogant that you don’t even realise you should be trying to aid our understanding instead of overwhelm us with your brilliance.
  • Less is more. Always. People love simple solutions.

Enter PechaKucha

Pecha what? ‘PechaKucha’ is a presentation format of 20 slides, with 20 second per slide. Learn more about it here.

The name is a Japanese phonetic meaning ‘chit-chat’, because PechaKucha Nights (special events where a group of people deliver PechaKucha presentations on anything from Polar expeditions to collecting Japanese toys) are fundamentally social events where people learn about wonderful things they may know nothing about in a friendly but concise format. Inspired. I co-run Cambridge PechaKucha.

I love the PechaKucha format because it’s based on simplicity and discipline (‘disciplicity’, if you will. Or ‘simpliscipline’). The speakers have a challenge to keep what they say concise and interesting.

Constraints Force Creativity

Embrace the limits of time and the number of slides – they will stimulate the incredibly useful skills of conciseness and creative editing, which are vital for a creating any written material, whether it’s for a presentation, email or spoken introduction.


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