A couple of months ago, I presented at the Baton Rouge PechaKucha 20×20 night, and it was kind of amazing!
PechaKucha was created in Tokyo about 15 years ago, and it’s a pretty fantastic concept. A presenter will choose a topic on whatever they care about, and that person gets 20 slides to talk about it. But here’s the catch: The presenter only gets 20 seconds per slide – the slides are advanced automatically, so the entire thing is rigidly timed. The organizer of the Baton Rouge chapter, Anna Schwab, pointed out the genius of this format: If you hate the presentation, you only have to wait 6 minutes and 40 seconds for it to be over.
The biggest challenge for me was that this is the complete opposite of my style of teaching in the classroom. I have a skeletal outline in the PowerPoint slides, and I try to read the room to see what needs emphasis. It’s worked for me so far, but given the structure of this talk, I actually had to write it out word-for-word; if I add-libbed, I was screwed. We were allowed to read (most didn’t) and so I didn’t have to memorize it, but it was still tough to stick to the script.
At the same time, because the time was so strictly enforced, I was able to make every word count, and it really forced me to tweak wording and phrasing so that it accomplished my goal.
In the end, I think it worked (for the most part). But it was an absolute blast, and if you get a chance to participate at some point, I very much encourage you to do so.
If you’re interested, here is my talk. Enjoy!