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Pecha Kucha… Come again?

Have you heard of Pecha Kucha ? No, it’s not another Japanese delicacy or a new fashion trend. In Brazil, due to the success of hair-straightening techniques, one might even think it’s the latest concotion for slick hair. Sorry, none of the above is right.


Pecha Kucha (chit chat in Japanese) is a presentation methodology in which presenters explain their ideas supported by 20 PowerPoint slides, each shown for 20 seconds. In total, each daring speaker has 6 minutes 40 seconds to send his message to the public. Topics may range from personal collections or a professional project to the latest tendencies in design, someone’s travels or whatever pleases the speaker – the fun in the event is that there’s a wide variety of topics (usually from 8 to 14 a night) and presenters substitute one another on stage at a very fast pace. The audience can be seen holding their breath at times, such is the light-hearted tension in the air.

Although it was originally devised in Tokyo in 2003 as a way to let designers talk about their work, the idea spread like wildfire and nowadays Pecha Kucha Nights can be found in diverse cities all over the world. In our teaching/learning field, it’s becoming a regular feature of Seminars and EFL encounters.

My introduction to this peculiar presentation format was in ABCI Rio 2010, where I marvelled at the courage of those wonderful teachers who, before an audience of over 300 colleagues, put themselves to the test of being awarded a round of enthusiastic applause – or not. Watching a live performance has no comparison to the recorded videos we can find on the Internet. When you watch the speaker take the stage you can almost feel their hearbeat, you see them open their eyes wide in surprise as each new slide pops on the screen unexpectedly – “Oops, I still had something to say, but forget it, let’s move on”. They then rush through the next one and find out they had 3, 4, 5 seconds to spare at the end– seconds they’d never imagined could feel like hours when you have one hundred or so pairs of eyes glued on your face. And once again the audience holds their breath – what will the next slide be like?

Sunday, 17th April – Pecha Kucha Night at IATEFL 2011 – I won’t miss it for the world!

Find out more about Pecha Kucha at http://www.pecha-kucha.org

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