The 20-Sentence Guide to PechaKucha Presentations

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Image shamelessly ripped off Archimedes’ Pool of Ideas

  1. PechaKucha is an event in which people prepare and present decks of 20 slides that advance automatically every 20 seconds.
  2. Most people can’t pull off a decent PowerPoint presentation, let alone 6:40 of timed slides, and they fail badly.
  3. These are powerful tools for delivering a world-shattering PechaKucha, and they make a damn good PowerPoint too.
  4. Enter the writing process by clearly visualizing the thing you want an audience member to do after he or she hears your presentation.
  5. Each 20-second slide should have five to ten seconds of vocals, since you’ll speak more slowly in front of a crowd.
  6. Aim for consistent timing, cadence, and aesthetics throughout the presentation.
  7. If each slide is logically connected to the next, overrunning your timing will look intentional and be easy to recover.
  8. If you want to change the topic, do it abruptly, as through you’re presenting a stream of consciousness.
  9. Repeat your name, repeat your company, repeat the moral of the story, and repeat your Twitter or URL.
  10. Do not repeat anything else; telling the punchline twice ruins the joke.
  11. Text is OK; people will read it ravenously since they don’t know if you’ll have time to say it, so reward them by not saying it.
  12. “Here’s a list of things I’ve done” presentations are too risky; overrun timing once and you’ll never catch up.
  13. Use multiple slides per concept or project so the audience can drink in the details.
  14. Strip out everything that isn’t an epiphany, a punchline, a “holy hell” moment, or ways people can make you famous.
  15. Keep your presentation relevant to the expected audience.
  16. Don’t adhere rigidly to the event’s theme – everyone else is doing that and things will get repetitive.
  17. Rapidly run drafts by others and edit out everything that doesn’t visibly excite them.
  18. Be bold and make controversial claims you can back up in one-on-one arguments.
  19. Give audience members an entry point into your objective – a URL, a Twitter handle, a word with rock-solid SEO.
  20. Rehearse your presentation until you can deliver it with your eyes closed, three times in a row, in ten seconds per slide.
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