PechaKucha means 'chit chat' in Japanese and it is a short-format, timed presentation that is designed to give a quick visual overview of something. They are increasing in popularity at academic conferences and many of you may get the opportunity to present one. This guide explains exactly what they are, how to design one and how to set it up technically.
What is a PechaKucha?
A PechaKucha is a narrated presentation of 20 images, each displayed for exactly 20 seconds - giving you just 400 seconds to get your message across.
Basically, you create a PowerPoint presentation where each slide contains an image and each slide automatically advances after 20 seconds - meaning your narration has to keep up!
Using PechaKucha for a research presentation
This video of a PechaKucha specifically looks at how they can be adapted for disseminating research:
Examples of PechuKuchas
PechaKucha.com has hundreds of examples that you can look at. You can browse by category or search a topic. They are not specifically research PechaKuchas but showcase some great examples.
A note on pronunciation
Most people in the UK pronounce PechaKucha as "petcha COOtcha" and if you do the same, people will definitely know what you are referring to. It is interesting, however, to note that the Japanese do not put the stress on the 3rd syllable, but put slight stress on the 2nd syllable making it more like "petCHEH kacha".
This silly video is a good way to remember it:
What makes a PechaKucha great?
One word - images. The whole idea of a PechaKucha is that it is image-driven. So, think about what compelling visuals you can use to help share your research.
For example, if you want to talk about why you are undertaking the research, show photographs of the [sort of] people/animals/plants/places you want to ultimately help. Yes, you can also show some common research images like data visualisations (charts, graphs, maps etc) but these should be very simple as you are only going to have 20 seconds to explain them. And, as the video below emphasises, these are not really the essence of a PechaKucha, which encourages you to use visuals to tell a story; so, photographs, cartoons, drawings, icons etc. are more expected.
You can put a few words on the slides too - but these should be secondary and kept to a minimum. Your narration should add the context to the images.
Setting up your PowerPoint
The only thing you need to do, is set each slide to advance after 20 seconds. You do this as follows:
- Display the Transitions ribbon.
- Ignore most of it, just look at the far right in the Timing section under Advance Slide. Uncheck the box for On mouse click, and check the After box and type in 20 (it will automatically change to 00:20.00 when you press Enter).
- Click Apply to All at the left of the Timing section to make sure it is set for all slides.
Now when you play your slideshow, it will automatically advance every slide after 20 seconds.