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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.


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 “20×20.” 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?

December 21st, 2009 | Permalink | Trackback | Bookmark and Share

7 Responses to The PowerPoint Revolution: PowerPoint Karaoke and Pecha Kucha

  1. Gee Ranasinha

    About a month ago I was invited to speak at an Ignite conference ( It’s a similar sort of deal to a Pecha Kucha event - 20 slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds.

    Being forced to strip away all the non-essentials - to concentrate and optimize your presentation’s message - was a great exercise for me. It’s far too easy to find yourself adding ‘fluff’ to cushion the presentation, which usually has the effect of diluting your message.

  2. Simon Raybould

    I’m sceptical about this whole area; it seems to me that we risk throwing the baby out with the bath-water. Sure, most Powerpoint slideshows are bloated and rubbish (rather like the software itself?) but that doesn’t mean silly things like Pecha Kucha are the answer. They’re a fantastic discipline/training exercise, certainly, but what happens to those ideas which simply CAN’T be passed over in that amount of time?

    Or concepts which don’t need that long?

    The whole point of presentations is that they should take as much time as needed - and not a second longer (or shorter). Rigid, artificial structures like this certainly stop bad presenters padding and waffling but at the expense of stopping good presenters getting it *right* :)


  3. Shlomit Pessah-Gilboa

    I use power point a lot in my work as a training designer, and I am aware of all its advantages and power as a teaching aid. But I think the key word here is ‘aid’ - it can not replace a well structured lesson/presentation/argument, or transform a poor presenter.

    In my opinion, in many ways bullet Power Point slides were the first step in turning presentations and discussions into ‘instant’ shallow events. Pecha Kucha is another step in this direction which marks one key problem in today’s learning and development skills- the reduction of attentions span and the expectation that learning will take place instantly and with minimal effort.

  4. Art Levy

    To me, the biggest issue isn’t with Powerpoint, it’s with the idea behind most presentations.

    When you think about it, where we all learned to present was in school. And in that case, the teacher already had all the knowledge and we had to show we knew as much as he or she did. So the more detail, the better.

    In the business world, it’s the opposite. The people to whom we’re presenting know nothing about our subject matter — and really don’t care all that much. Yet most of us are still trying to show we did all our homework.

    My personal conclusion: the best presentations — Powerpoint or not — are the ones that understand the audience doesn’t care so much about the information, but rather about their own needs and situations. In that case, the information becomes a support, not the main point. The main point is how whatever you’re saying relates to their lives.

  5. Antonia Hyde

    Unfortunately, Simon, and here’s the point, Most speakers haven’t a clue about “how much time is needed and not a second more”. The last riveting speaker I heard completely disarmed me. First, his personal appearance was in every way the opposite of what one might stress of a potentially good speaker. He looked messy, his posture was awful, and he sounded distant and unconnected to his audience. About five minutes into his delivery however, he began warming to his subject, speaking so personally about his experiences that we were left enthralled and charmed. No powerpoint, but rather lots of personal photographs of the people and projects he spoke of. It was a revelation. I think the bottom line was that he was an articulate speaker with HEART. Powerpoint doesn’t give you that.

  6. Angela DeFinis Blog; Best Public Speaking Blogs; DeFinis Communications Blog; Top Blogs; » Blog Archive » Our Own American Idol

    [...] the Road: My Experience Teaching PowerPointPublic Speaking and the New YearThe PowerPoint Revolution: PowerPoint Karaoke and Pecha Kucha Success with Slides: A PowerPoint Presentation GuidePublic Speaking and The HolidaysSorry to have to [...]

  7. Madie Monfils

    Hi,Awesome blog dude! i am Tired of using RSS feeds and do you use twitter?so i can follow you there:D.
    PS:Do you thought to be putting video to your web site to keep the visitors more interested?I think it works.Kind regards, Madie Monfils

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