When Presenting To Your Team, Could Less Be More?

Do IT managers need to know about PechaKucha?
Do IT managers need to know about PechaKucha?
Image Credit: PechaKucha Boston

As an IT manager, one of your most important IT manager skills is the ability to effectively communicate with your IT team. There are a lot of different ways that we go about doing this, but one of the most popular ones is to give a presentation to our team. The problem with this is that despite all of the IT manager training you and I may have had, we may still not be very good at giving presentations. Perhaps it’s time for us to learn about PechaKucha…

Just What The Heck Is PechaKucha?

The idea that our presentations can be made better should be exciting to all of us. However, the big question that is probably on everyone’s mind is how can we do this? Well, it turns out that what we need to do is to learn how to use a presentation style called PechaKucha that was born over in Japan.

Way back in 2003, two architects in Japan wanted to have a bunch of architects give presentations, but they didn’t want them to go on and on like apparently architects like to do. Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham came up with the idea to limit the number of slides that each presenter could use and to restrict the amount of time that they had in which to complete their presentation. The result of their desire to hear as many presentations as possible in a limited amount of time was PechaKucha.

When you are using the PechaKucha presentation system you are limited to using no more than 20 slides. You will be permitted to only spend 20 seconds talking about each slide in your deck. The end result of these two rules is that your presentation will be over in 6 minutes and 40 seconds. That’s it – you have to go sit down when you are done.

How Do You Deliver A Presentation Using PechaKucha?

I can already see some of you rolling your eyes – “There is no way that I could give one of my presentations using those rules.” The answer, of course, is that yes you can. However, you would be correct if you are thinking that you won’t be able to deliver presentations to your IT team the way that you do today.

The first thing that you’ll have to understand is that with the limited amount of time that you have available, you are going to have to cut out everything that is not critical to your presentation. When you use this presentation format, you are going to be applying both discipline and design to your next presentation.

What you are going to quickly discover is that this presentation style relies heavily on both speed and the use of graphics to communicate your information. If you generally use more than 20 slides then you have some cutting to do. If a point that you want to make is going to take longer than 20 seconds to explain, then too bad — you are going to have to simplify it to fit into the time that you have been allocated.

What Does All Of This Mean For You?

Here in the 21st Century I would hazard a guess that if you asked your team what their most valuable possession was, they’d all agree that it is time. As their IT manager, you need to make sure that you respect this by using their time as efficiently as possible. What this means for you is that when it comes time for you to make a presentation to your team, you need to be both clear and concise.

A novel new way of making presentations has arrived. It’s called PechaKucha. In this presentation style, you are allowed to use 20 slides and you get to spend only 20 seconds on each slide. The total amount of time that you are given to make your presentation is 6 minutes and 40 seconds. This presentation style requires you to cut the fat and be very, very efficient in what you say.

No, not every presentation may be a good fit for the PechaKucha style. However, I’d be willing to bet that more often than not it might be the right way for you to go. Your team will show up for your presentations and they’ll be excited to hear what you are going to be saying — each presentation will almost be a type of IT team building. You’ll have their attention if for no other reason than they all know that it’s only going to last for 6 minutes and 40 seconds!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What types of presentations do you think would not work well with the PechaKucha presentation style?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As the person with the IT Manager job, do you have the IT manager skills to tell if you are doing a good job? Sure, there should be all of the standard business indicators – your IT team budget is operating within its budget, you are meeting the needs of the rest of the company, the network is secure, etc. However, another way is to listen to what your IT team is saying – are they happy? Perhaps more importantly here in the 21st Century, if they are not happy and if they are talking about it online, is there anything that you can do about this as IT Manager?