Pecha Kucha

Our Own American Idol

The DeFinis-Lydon first annual Easter Brunch and Talent Show was a huge success!  On Easter Sunday a family style version of American Idol (minus the crusty Simon Cowell) was served up by our guests who ranged in age from sixteen to eighty-five. Beat boxing, cowboy haiku poems, cowbells, a love letter from a 78 year old grandfather, guitar favorites, the ABC’s in sign language, show tunes, a Times Square story from a first time Fijian visitor, a contortionist, a golf lesson, a Sicilian author reading a travel article about a Sicilian passion play, and last but not least, my dear god-daughter stuffing her entire right fist into her large teenage mouth, a talent that none of us could match.

It was the Pecha Kucha of performance, alive and enthusiastic, greater than “show and tell” and only slightly less than Carnegie Hall. There was generosity, boldness, spontaneity and a willingness to be a part of a small community in action. Watching our talented performers deliver such individual and touching presentations gave everyone a chance to share in a glorious celebration of spring.  

What I loved most was that everyone took this celebration seriously and came prepared to contribute something unique. People practiced their songs and skits; they worked on their timing and audience participation. And while any one of these presentations would have been great entertainment for a Sunday afternoon, the cumulative “show” made it all the more dramatic. The group connection grew deeper as each performance built on the one before. Everyone was committed and eager, not only to support the performer, but to fully enjoy the experience. 

That’s how life is. If you have the desire to create and a simple talent to share you will bring richness and joy to those around you. Creativity and generosity go hand in hand. It’s not a difficult thing to do. Singers sing, guitarist strum, writers write, beat boxers beat—and each inspires others in a unique and powerful way. 

This magic of connection can be created just as easily in the world of business. And when it does, working teams are solidified, new partnerships are forged, and goals and values are realized. There is no stopping the positive outcome that can occur as a result of a generous performance and shared connection.

The PowerPoint Revolution: PowerPoint Karaoke and Pecha Kucha

The PowerPoint Revolution continues! Every few months another contender appears in the marketplace, attempting to poke a hole in the thick skin of the 800 lb slideware-gorilla that dominates meeting rooms across the globe. I don’t believe that there is anything inherently wrong with PowerPoint, but it has undoubtedly become the software program everyone loves to hate.

 

For instance, American-born statistician and Yale Professor Edward Tufte wrote a popular essay denouncing PowerPoint’s ability to provide quality analytics. The worth of PowerPoint as a diagnostics tool may be debatable, but the fact that slideware presentations almost always lack entertainment value is undeniable. If companies insist on creating PowerPoint presentations that lack creativity and bore audiences, then they’d better be ready for backlash.

 

Besides prominent voices like Professor Tufte, groups of presenters have taken it upon themselves to re-format their presentations into light, image driven and entertaining events called PowerPoint Karaoke and Pecha Kucha (pronounced “pe-chak-cha”). Could this be a big leap towards the demise of dense, mind-numbing, inaccessible slides?

 

Let’s take a look…..

 

 

PowerPoint Karaoke is a spin-off from traditional Karaoke; However, instead of singing songs, participants give a presentation about an unfamiliar topic with slides they’ve never seen—a random, impromptu PowerPoint presentation. Think charades with words. No rehearsal, no preparation. For those of you who like to wing it and let the creative juices flow, this activity is for you.

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PowerPoint Karaoke is not only fun, but can be a great training tool for those looking to improve with improv and sharpen their rhetorical presentation skills. It is also a great team building activity or party game…with or without a glass of wine.

 

Take a look at the PowerPoint Karaoke Tournament website to see some hilarious videos of past presentations. And if you’d like to host your own PPTK event, you can download some very bad slides here.

  

Pecha Kucha was created in 2003 by two Japan based architects who wanted to give architects, designers and other creative types a way to informally present their ideas in a more engaging, dynamic manner. Presenters speak for twenty seconds (the slides change automatically) using just 20 slides, a format called “20x20.” The total presentation time is 6 minutes and 40 seconds, so these presentations are concise to say the least.

 

The official Pecha Kucha website will tell you what it’s all about, provide videos of past presentations, locate upcoming events, and more. Also, here you will find a Pecha Kucha guide that will help you get started.

 

 

So what do you think? Is the dinosaur nearing extinction? And will the revolution be televised?