TED (Technology, Entertainment,Design) is type of networking conference, originating in the United States and now held across the world. Speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas, usually involving PowerPoint. Frequently, the talks are rambling and dull. So let’s not talk about TED, but, instead, consider PechaKusha, the latest networking craze to emerge from – Tokyo! PechaKusha is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to them. A 5 minute Q and A is allowed to presenters. It recognizes that give the floor to most creatives and they’ll talk too much. Give them control of a PowerPoint and they’ll go on forever. The mini-talk format prevents that – hence its new popularity. Now, a similar ‘sort’ of event – without the capital K(the name is trademarked) – has
been brought to Hastings by the creative folks at Rock House.
Given the aforementioned problems which beset TED talks, some of the seven presenters at Rock House struggled more than others to adapt to the format’s brevity. Those who succeeded recognised that strong, simple,graphics are more important than dense, informative, text – and talking less, rather than more, can impart an idea better.
Seasoned campaigner Erica Smith’s well-paced pitch about her interest in graphic design worked a treat; and Karen Simnett’s similarly interesting summary of self-sufficiency organization Transition Town Hastings made me want to rush out and start urban gardening. There was also humour: Nick Weekes’ last minute talk on how a new multinational corporation sponsored sun had been scheduled to replace our existing star (“You’ll be able to stare at the new one.”) produced a lot of laughs.
So – let’s do the math. 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds…that’s 6 minutes 40 seconds…plus 5 minutes Q and A…ah, 11 minutes 40 seconds…times the seven presenters…a bit for the change over between presenters…hold on a minute… that’s just over one hour and twenty minutes! The beauty of this take on the ‘elevator pitch’ format is that – even allowing for the occasional longueur in proceedings – the time sped by. I didn’t glance at my wristwatch once! It was standing room only in the meeting room at Rock House (despite the ‘last minute’publicity of it) – suggesting that this will be the first of many‘sort of PechaKusha’ events in Hastings.