Pecha kucha returns to Manchester

Last Thursday saw the return of pecha kucha to Manchester, at Manchester Art Gallery. Originally from Japan, the format of presenting 20 slides, with 20 seconds for each (auto-advancing) slide makes for a fairly fast-paced evening as each speaker only gets 6 minutes and 40 seconds to do their whole presentation before their time is up. It also made for a fairly random night, because with no set theme and people just talking about anything they’re interested in – which ranged from protein molecules to extracting colour from objects to a presentation in the form of a song about a painting – it was certainly entertaining! And there was a bar which was very nice on a Thursday evening, not something I knew was open at the gallery.

I’d seen the event advertised and thought I’d do a talk on creativity seeing as it’s something I seem to have been thinking about a bit lately. I based it on three ideas of how people could be more creative, and then talked about some of the things I’ve done to show some practical examples of the three things. The slides are below and you can probably get the gist without the speech (although I like to think I did add something to the evening  over and above the slides themselves – fail if not!). It was videoed on someone’s mobile phone but I’m not sure whether the footage will ever appear anywhere. The photos etc. are mine (from this site), the other images are from openclipart – a site I’ve only come across recently but which looks like a good source of  free images for presentations.

My tips for a good pecha kucha presentation:

  • Write your script before doing your charts. You can’t say a whole lot in 20 seconds, even if you talk fast (like I do) so try writing the whole thing and timing it before starting your slides, as you’ll probably find you have to cut it back a lot first.
  • Practice. And then practice a bit more. Ideally do it so you’re comfortable without your notes, but either way, make sure your timing is good and you know your material. This is unlikely to happen without timing yourself and practising and editing again and again.
  • Be yourself. The most memorable presentations from the evening are those where I felt like I’d seen someone interesting, talking about something they were passionate about. If you’re enthusiastic, even if your timing isn’t spot on, your audience will enjoy it.

Apparently there will be more pecha kucha in Manchester in the next few months so keep an eye out for them. I’m definitely aiming to be at the next one, although I think I’ll leave the speaking to other people next time.

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