On Tuesday I went to an event at Phoenix Arts in Leicester that Creative Leicestershire organised in which six creative and talented people presented a Pecha Kucha. It was really good fun, with a real sense of participation and creativity. I really like the Pecha Kucha style and I’ve been asking my students to do them as part of their social media coursework. The need for Pecha Kucha’s came from the need for creative people to be able to communicate clearly without talking for a long time. So if you want to be more creative, the secret is to shut up. This was the first Pecha Kucha event I’ve sat through, though, which let me come up with six rules that will help to make a Pecha Kucha more engaging.
Rule 1: Don’t talk to the slides – the habit of waiting for the twenty-second transition is distracting, keep your back turned to the slides and don’t worry about them, they will tell your story in the background. It’s your words and the speed that you speak that your audience will focus on.
Rule 2: Produce the images yourself, don’t use stock images. The last thing that you want is a text-based, PowerPoint style slide. Use images from your Facebook profile, or from the shoebox under the bed. Using standard images found on the web or in a stock archive aren’t as interesting as the images you make or take yourself.
Rule 3: Try to explain an idea. Rather than listing a series of events, or relating a journey, start by asking your audience to think about a concept, and then use the images and the evidence that you talk about to illustrate the idea.
Rule 4: Use LOL Cats. Actually, you can use any form of meme or cartoon image to provide a break in the chain of associations. Your audience can think about different things at the same time, but they will always appreciate some relief.
Rule 5: Wear a funny hat. This is an optional thing to do, but it certainly made me laugh.
Rule 6: Be honest, be yourself. Don’t try to over-project your idea, who you are, or what your experience has been. Keep it real and grounded in your experience. It’s you we’ve come to listen to, not a self-help book in a railway station newsagents.
I’m sure we can add more ideas to this list. What suggestions do you have?