Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pecha Kucha: Connections or Commercials

There are 333 cities around the globe that hold Pecha Kucha Night events. I am involved in the Fresno group and have attended all 8 volumes so far. The presenters are "encouraged" to align to the night's theme, but that is only successful about 40% of the time. Today, Famous Whitewater asked about the purpose of Pecha Kucha as part of his gig review. I was going to offer my answer on Fresno Famous, but I think this might require a little more space.
Sometimes a presenter will use the 6:40 for self-promotion or to launch a product/service/website. I am guilty of doing that. On Feb 20 at the volume 6 event, I used my 6:40 to talk about Smartagious.com. The theme for the night was Re:Build and I attempted to share the philosophical premise behind Smartagious: rebuild the value we can find from connections on the web.

After each event, the presenters that have the most
positive buzz are those that seek to make a
connection over presenting a commercial. The term designer is left up to interpretation. When I describe a perfect Pecha Kucha presentation, I often discuss those presentation in which the designer brings the audience into his or her world--a photographer shows you how they see, an architect redefines space, a developer exposes behind-the-scenes secrets that are generally only discussed on forums and message boards.

In my opinion, you have to know two very important things to put together a powerful Pecha Kucha presentation:
1) Know yourself
2) Know your audience

Use the 20 slides to create a greater overlap between the field of experience of the presenter and that of the audience. The goal is not to persuade the audience that you are right, cool, or have an amazing product that will change their life. The goal is to connect.

Again, this might just be my opinion. Like Famous mentioned,
It's actually a smart move if you have something to sell. Here's a large, captive audience of people who are interested in moving Fresno forward in a positive way. And it can be good for the audience, no doubt.
So maybe a little self-promotion is okay. I still challenge the presenters to make a connection first. Try, try, try to follow the theme. Challenge yourself.

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