While catching up with this month’s Wired magazine, I noticed a short article with a very clever and descriptive title of “Get to the PowerPoint” from one of my favorite authors, Daniel Pink. Seems that Daniel has recently been introduced to the fun form of presentations known as Pecha Kucha (pronounced peh-chak-cha), which you may recall from my recounting using this format back in March and the great time I had. You can read about my thoughts on doing a Pecha Kucha style presentation and more details of this format and its history in the previous OCOT posting "Fast, Fresh and Furious".
Daniel found this Pecha Kucha to be much more than just a novel form of presentation, as did I. As he put it, the simple 20/20 format of Pecha Kucha, (20 slides each displayed for precisely 20 seconds each):
".... turned PowerPoint ..... into both art form and competitive sport."
As is often the case, simple things are often the most profound and valuable. This certainly seems to be the case with PowerPoint slides where everyone is given but six minutes and 40 seconds (20x20) from start to finish, when every slide is given equal time, and then you're done! Think of how much time would have been saved and how much productivity would have been gained if even a fraction of the slide presentations you've sat through were compacted into this size, and presenters were required to boil their messages down to such succinctness. I got a kick out of Richard Nantel of Brandon Hall Research who was so taken by the economy of PK that in a posting earlier this week he suggested:
"I believe the designers of pecha-kucha should be awarded the Nobel prize in economics."
And YES, I'm quite aware that many of you may be wishing this for MY presentations!
I don't think that all topics or presentations are suitable for this format. But I have found it to be both liberating and humbling to approach presentations with this new insight into how often it is true that less is more. And I'm doing my best to practice what I preach! I'm honored to be touching down in Chicago tonight (Aug 28) just long enough to do an encore performance of one of my Pecha Kucha presentations at an Autodesk Leadership Summit. Then, at the Learning 2007 conference in October in Orlando, Elliott Masie and I will be hosting a Pecha Kucha Night as well as encouraging attendees to use this format elsewhere in the event.
Continuing my perpetual theme of the value (and rarity) of experiential learning, I strongly encourage you to try this out. Many of these events are done in a social context in the form of a Pecha Kucha Night. This format has worked well for the ones I've been involved in because they stimulate some great conversations when the PK presenters mingle with the crowd afterwards. The format also works well for helping to find and mine some of the gold nuggets that are hidden away within some of the more introverted and quiet individuals. Better still, think about scheduling an event or grab an opportunity to try out this PK style on one of YOUR next presentations.
BTW, Daniel is the author of a book that I HIGHLY recommend called "A Whole New Mind: Why right-brainers will rule the future" His views on the future are very much aligned with mine. I think you'll find a lot of insights in his book that will change the way you see the world of the future and will show you how to excel within it. I'm looking forward to joining Daniel on the stage at Learning 2007 at the end of October and will have more to report to you after that fun experience.