What I learned from my first Pecha Kucha Night

Almost a month ago I went to my first Pecha Kucha event, in Barcelona. For those of you not familiarized with it, PK is an innovative presentation format that started in Tokyo in 2003 by a group of young designers and since then it has been expanding around the globe (over 300 cities!!).

PK’s concept is a 20×20 presentation, 20 slides and 20 seconds per each. Therefore, is aimed at keeping up the level of concentration during the whole session, increasing the learning experience. Besides, slides tend to be very visual and speakers much more engaging than in a ‘traditional’ presentation.

So I had high expectations about what would happen in PK Night. It was the 9th Edition in Barcelona, which is always a good sign because it means they might have improved over time. However, it was a bit of a disappointment and I left at the first break (although I must say that the fact that it was freezing was another motivation to leave!).

In my humble opinion, the PK format is just OK. I like the idea of visual presentations and speed, although perhaps this 20×20 format it’s a bit too structured, unless you’ve got the right speakers.

In this case, I noticed that some of the presenters had slides that didn’t have anything to do with what they were actually talking about, just beautiful pictures. So yes the slides kept changing every 20 seconds, but not their topics!

But, what PK (and any other format) can’t change is the importance of having an engaging speaker and some substance in the content. While a few of the speakers were really good and had something interesting to say, others were dull and irrelevant. This reminds me to this old saying: ‘You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’.

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