The Japanese Key to Communication? Pecha Kucha
April 15, 2020
Image from https://www.mosaiclab.com.au/news-all-posts/2016/12/16/insighs-into-pecha-kucha-the-art-of-concise-presentations
Japan’s traditional Zen Buddhism emphasizes a spare aesthetic very commonly known as minimalism. While many associate minimalism with interior design and figures like Marie Kondo, the movement of throwing out what you don’t need and keeping only what’s essential has unsurprisingly spread into the way Japanese people communicate.
Call it “communication minimalism”. Or, as the Japanese call it, pecha kucha.
Pecha kucha, which started in Tokyo and has become increasingly popular the last few years, literally translates to “chit chat”. The idea behind it is simple: if you’re presenting, say only what you need to say and no more.
Here are the rules.
The 20 x 20 Rule
The cardinal rule to pecha kucha is this: when presenting, you’re only allowed 20 slides and 20 seconds of speaking per slide.
To wit, you have 400 seconds to tell your story. Your only option is to present precisely and concisely. Know your presentation objective, the power message of each slide, and what you want your audience to take away.
The Visuals Rule
The strict timeframe of pecha kucha emphasizes the use of powerful visuals to make each slide more impactful. As such, the words you choose should have high imagery value and they should complement your visuals.
A slide can be one word or one photo with no words. All is fair, so long as it’s visually captivating and underlines your message.
The Simplicity Rule
In pecha kucha, simplicity is the key. No frills, no fuss.
Speak simply and avoid corporate jargon. Show simply and avoid complex graphs or text-heavy slides. Pick simply and avoid subjects that can’t be explained in 400 seconds or less.
If you can master these rules, you can master pecha kucha, the art of communication minimalism.