Try ‘Pecha Kucha’ to teach tighter sales presentations
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Try ‘Pecha Kucha’ to teach tighter sales presentations

Until about 30 minutes ago, I’d never heard of Pecha Kucha. If you’d asked me, I’d have guessed it was some brand of Indonesian hot sauce.

I would have guessed wrong, though Pecha Kucha (pronounced P’chochka) may be just the condiment you need to help reps spice up long, meandering sales presentations.

The term, which means “chatter” in Japanese, refers to a technique pioneered by two architects in Tokyo, Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein. They wanted to attract people to a performance space, so they invited fellow architects and designers to make presentations.

But there was one catch.

The presentations had to be boiled down to exactly 20 PowerPoint slides, with 20 seconds per slide. That works out to 400 seconds, or exactly 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

If the original idea was to keep non-captive audiences from wandering off (hey, if you don’t like this presentation, another one is coming up soon!), the technique had a powerful side effect. Not only were the presentations shorter, but also better. Like haiku, the rigid format forced presenters to make hard choices about what was essential and what was fluff. As a result, Pecha Kucha is a worldwide phenomenon, with gatherings in some 80 cities, from Atlanta to Shanghai.

And in a recent paper in the Marketing Education Review, Texas Tech University professor Bob McDonald describes how he’s used Pecha Kucha to teach students how to make better sales presentations. It sounds to me like the perfect antidote for long-winded sales reps as well.

Curious about what a Pecha Kucha presentation looks like? Check out this one, created by best-selling author Daniel Pink.

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