Categories: Guest Posting

How to Avoid Boring Presentations

Pecha Kucha, or how to avoid boring presentations.

When I was studying Graphic Design, I had a specific subject in presentation design. I have never been bad at speaking in public, so I did not know what to think about a subject dedicated exclusively to this subject. Still, my first staging for the subject was enough to understand why: it is one thing to know how to speak or improvise in informal settings, but… communicating and convincing about your project is another story.

In an entrepreneurial context, having certain expository skills can be very valuable. You cannot reduce everything to the presentation, but of course, knowing how to transmit your proposal correctly will have a lot to do with the final success. There are many situations in which we have to resort to our oral and performing skills to communicate a product, a concept, ideas, present ourselves, our projects, intentions …

When I talk about this, I remember all the presentations, talks, conferences and defenses that I have attended over the last few years. I have soporific memories, others in which only the context remains and not a trace of the objective of the presentation; and some brilliant performance memories that I may never forget. I get an idea from all that: every time we present more, nobody wants to be bored or boring. You have to make convincing presentations.

Let’s look at a – little – great presentation technique.

Against boredom, a casual talk

In 2003, architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham realized that sometimes words are unnecessary. Dytham says on the page of his architecture studio in Tokyo, that architects talk too much and that this was the reason for looking for a new model of making presentations.

This new type of presentation was intended to cut to the chase and avoid long exposures that can drain the listener’s attention and lead to ineffective communication.

The point is that this idea crossed the borders of architecture and, according to Pecha Kucha’s official website , “the sessions soon became happenings” and the “Pecha Kucha Nights” began, first in Tokyo and later all over the world. Currently, more than 50,000 people make their Pecha Kucha presentation in the more than 1,100 “Pecha Kucha Nights” that are celebrated each year throughout different cities around the globe. In addition, the format is becoming increasingly popular and extends from the business environment to the academic, to replace long presentations, difficult to digest, by a standardized format that seeks equity and dynamism in environments where the number of workers or students it requires an effective distribution of time.

According to Ernesto del Valle, the etymology of Pecha Kucha, which experts pronounce as pet-shah coot-shah, comes from Japanese, can be written as a single word pechakucha,” and is an onomatopoeia that represents the sound of a “casual talk.”.

The format counts.

Literally. A Pecha Kucha must narrate through the union of image and word.

The Pecha Kucha has an internationally standardized format and, although aesthetics and content remain in the hands of the person presenting, it has very specific rules:

The main thing that best defines the Pecha Kucha is that the presentation must have 20 slides that automatically pass every 20 seconds. For this reason, these types of presentations are also known as “20 × 20 Presentation”. This means that the exposure can only last 6 minutes and 40 seconds, no more, no less. This is the time that your speech should occupy, in any case, whatever the topic or difficulty.

Via Giphy

Regarding the contents, there are some common references. Use large-format images conceptually consistent with your speech, to enhance the rapid assimilation of information. It is allowed to repeat an image on two different slides.

The presentation should be entertaining and run as a story. For this, the slides must appear integrated with the speech and, if they incorporate text , it must be reduced to what is essential: outside explanatory paragraphs, bullets or tables. The tonic should consist of the use of very short and concise sentences, such as headlines or slogans, well organized and consistent with the speech and images.

Another important thing: the presentation is short and fluid, so the pause for questions is for the end.

If you want to get an idea, you have some examples of very inspiring presentations on the Pecha Kucha website.

The advantages of counting on Pecha Kucha

Contextualized the concept of Pecha Kucha, we are clearer when, how and with what objective the idea arises – in the fight against endless or boring presentations -. But, in case you still haven’t convinced yourself to put it into practice, here is a list of pros:

  • It is a very clear format, with defined rules that can be applied to all kinds of topics and, thus, equalize speeches. Defined limits prevent rambling, force synthesis, and accuracy.
  • The use of visual slides and automatic succession every 20 seconds favors the development of storytelling or the narration of the contents, such as a story that will more easily capture the public’s attention.
  • It prevents disinterest, apathy, or a lack of commitment that can worry you when delegating or working in a team. Although it appears to be a simple presentation, it requires preparation, coordination, and a lot of rehearsal. Synthesizing is complicated, narrating requires oral planning, and adapting to automatic reproduction in defined times requires great coordination.
  • With essay, it is a handy format for speakers with little experience, as it offers a reference structure to organize the information.
  • You will never go too long and avoid introducing secondary or superfluous content. Your audience will appreciate this brevity; indeed, they will follow the speech better, stay focused throughout this time, and communicate more effectively.
  • With such a clear structure, you will avoid confusion and interference in the intervention, so you will not forget important aspects.
  • You will keep a rhythm. The automated slideshow will add rhythm and emphasis to the skip if you tend to monotonous speeches.
  • This format acts as an “equalizer.” Time and format restrictions avoid inequality in the speakers’ development, involvement, and presence.
  • It is beneficial in situations where the presentation sessions have a certain time limit, such as a Speed-dating, or Speed-Mentoring.

Keys to making a Pecha Kucha

It is true that, as the saying goes, “each teacher has his booklet”, but some reference keys can serve as a starting point to start with the clearest things. There go four:

  • Flowability. The tricky thing in this type of presentation is matching the speech with the slide show. The most important thing is to rehearse, but it is not everything. For things to flow, in addition to having a clear speech, take into account the tone of voice and gestures. Body language says a lot! Vocalize and regulate the volume of your voice, because if you speak too loud it can be aggressive and unpleasant, but if you speak too softly, it will make hearing difficult and you could lose the audience’s attention. Adjust your speaking speed to match the jump every 20 seconds. The best way to achieve this is to have the content internalized and organize it in a script that you can communicate as if it were a story.
  • Visual. You already know that the Pecha Kucha, as a standard, is essentially visual and, as far as possible, dispenses with texts unless they are titles or slogans. Your presentation slides are a support, accompaniment, or backdrop to your speech. They serve to contextualize, but they should not take center stage: the one who has the information and leads the presentation is you. In addition, strategically it is better not to put a lot of text that can give you away if you miss saying something.
  • Automatic . Autoplay can be a problem and an ally when it comes to presenting. You will not have to be aware of changing the slide, so you can focus on telling what you want to tell and enjoy the narration a bit. If the speech is well spun and you have rehearsed it previously, it will work perfectly with the slides … as long as there is not a great time lag, be careful!
  • Memory . Sneaking glances at the presentation every two by three can convey a sense of insecurity to the audience. It does not mean that you never look at the screen as, from time to time, it can serve to draw attention to the content. But this gesture must coincide, more or less, with the specific slide corresponding to what you are counting. Again: rehearsal. Be clear about the speech and trust your memory about the order of the narration.

Make yourself a method.

We don’t want to close this post without offering you some design guidelines. You can adapt them to your way of working, because the one who is going to face the scene will be you and your own comfort is very important in these cases, but this is what I would do:

  1. Gather all the material you can on the subject and read it carefully, you know, a first quick read on the general content and then the necessary ones to deepen and extract the key points.
  2. Synthesize! , order and classify the information based on what you want to highlight.
  3. Think about the structure of the slides. We have 20 slides, with 20 seconds for each. The first slide can be dedicated to our own presentation and the last one will surely serve to close the presentation. With this, there are 18 slides among which to distribute the contents. Think about the topic, if you can divide it into sections and what proportion of slides should occupy, according to importance and hierarchies, each of them.
  4. Make an outline of the contents and begin to organize the script as a story, counting on the 18 + 2 (presentation and closing) slides.
  5. Rehearse the outline or script you have organized out loud and start the timer. Swap, take off, put on and reorder until you meet 6 minutes and 40 seconds correctly.
  6. Think aesthetics. When you have the speech more or less organized, it is time to work on the slides. Theirs is that the entire presentation maintains a visual coherence, so as not to deconcentrate the public with the changes. Think very clear concepts for the sections you have delimited in the script and look for images that can be related to each other and maintain a global aesthetic. You can work with your own images or with image banks, you have a choice. You can also combine them, the important thing is that at least the consecutive slides are related. In this way, if there is some time lag in the discourse, it will not be very evident, but the previous image and the later image will also be able to support the story.
  7. Assemble your slideshow with the images. If you put some text, take care of the typography and keep it consistent. Use a single font family with different weights if you need to establish hierarchies. If you combine more than one family, you should reduce it to only two that combine well.
  8. Rehearse again. Alone with a timer, with some kind volunteer, alone again … Boring Presentations, until everything fits perfectly. Finally, rehearse your presentation without looking.
  9. All ready! – Boring Presentations


The Pecha Kucha formula has spread enormously since its inception in 2003. Not surprisingly, with the features and benefits, we have discussed. It is a simple way to present a topic, equitable, very visual (this can favor a careful aesthetic, which is always appreciated), and effective, which will keep the public’s attention and can help your idea get to where you want it to be.

Read Also – Best Video editing website online


Founder/ Director of LTR Magazine - Tech Blog For Reviews.

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