What is Pecha Kucha?

Pecha Kucha is a presentation format.  It’s increasingly common at conferences and for #altc2011 a variation is being used for poster presentations.

Tokyo TowerPecha Kucha presentations are 6-minutes 40-seconds.  The speaker must use 20 slides that auto-advance every 20-seconds & you are not allowed to run-over! Strictly speaking each slide should only contain an image. The format was developed in Tokyo (hence the Japanese name) by two foreign architects: Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein. Pecha-Kucha roughly translates to chit-chat.

It’s a great format as it really makes you focus on what you need to say and keeps it short for the audience ;). It has been used to effectively at the LSE for students’ seminar presentations on a Geography course, with positive feedback from staff and students.

Pecha Kucha at ALT-C 2011

This year the traditional poster exhibition has been replaced by ePosters with accompanying short presentations spread over 6 sessions.  The presenters will be delivering Pecha Kucha style, but with different timings: a maximum of 9 slides for 45-seconds each & without the image-only restriction.  I’m really looking forward to these sessions and will be attending at least 3  (as I’m chairing them!).

How do you pronounce Pecha Kucha?

I’m not usually pedantic but as an ex-Tokyoite English teacher I have a duty to answer!  There are two basic options: traditional japanese (ie the correct way) or incorrectly (with limitless variations it seems).

  1. In Japanese it is pronounced pe-cha-ku-cha (ie as written) with equal stress on each of the 4 syllables
  2. The most common mis-pronunciations are pe-chak-cha or pe-chach-ka usually with emphasis on second syllable.

How many ways can you pronounce Pecha Kucha?

I’ve only tried it once, it’s hard.  This is a recording of my live PK on Cloudworks in 2009.

Full details: Less is more

Reader Comments

  1. I’d prefer a proper PK than this halfway house. I’ve enjoyed PK when I’ve done it before, although it is challenging. 9 x 45 is too long per slide – but not long enough at the same time.

    1. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes. I’m not sure how the 9 x 45 as opposed to 20 x 20 was arrived at. Hopefully the overall benefit of the time-limited format will still win through. Not chairing yours but may pop in to heckle, sorry, cheer.

  2. Hi Matt
    Umm… Are you sure it isn’t a short resounding b, ie pronounced beta kutcha? 🙂
    I’ll brobably should give it a go. I love bresentations withs bics only.

  3. Hi Matt, As a fellow ex-Japan person I thought I’d join the debate on pronunciation. Doesn’t the ‘u’ in ‘ku’ virtually dissappear in Japanese so that the pronunciation becomes pecha k’cha? As per mecha k’cha(めちゃくちゃ)? Just when you thought the issue was closed….

  4. As I recall, the “ku” at the end is not pronounced, but at the start of the word, it is pronounced, as above, all four parts said with equal stress.

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