Saturday 12 April 2008

Pecha Kucha

Not the pokemon, the presentation style.  These days I am particularly interested in unique presentation styles that promote attention and retention as I tend to do a lot of public speaking.  And when have to steer a reasonably big organization you can't expect to be able to spend long periods of time with every single individual so being able to effectively get your message across in a more public 'batch' forum is a key leadership skill.

What's attractive to me about Pecha Kucha is the 20/20/640 concept; you use 20 slides each shown for 20 seconds (for a total of 6:40 talk time) and that's it.  I think it is particularly good for engineers because we just love verbosity.  There are so many great things you could say about your architecture, about your new product or how you solved problem X while still keeping that instant fail-over why wouldn't you want to say them all?  Because people will die of old age.  Putting such strict constraints on the normally freestyle art of presenting forces you to think carefully about the information that makes the biggest difference, culling the marginal and the good-but-irrelevant.  It's a lot harder than it sounds, as George Bemard Shaw once said "I'm sorry to have written such a long letter, but I didn't have time to write a shorter one."

There is always gold on Presentation Zen but my current favorite is punchy pace, lots of images and heavy use of repetition; like Dick Hardt's Identity 2.0 keynote.  It makes for a big deck but if you have a nice flow and keep it moving it really holds people's attention and leaves an impression.

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