pecha kucha is a Japanese casual term for the murmur of conversation. In English, one might translate the term as "chitter-chatter" or "chit-chat" or "chatter". The term was adopted around 2003 by architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham (whose practice is based in Tokyo) to describe a concise presentation of ideas and design-work. The goal of the exercise is not immediate contracts for sales, not personal self-aggrandizement, and not the patter of dismissive applause, but the inculcation of discussion on the topic — the presentation is a seed for any number of conversations. Under the registered trademark Pecha Kucha NightⓇ Klein and Dytham offer their imprint to a loose network of pecha kucha fora in cites around the world from their website, «http://www.pecha-kucha.org». From the high perch of this website they also claim patent on this idea.
The format for a pecha kucha presentation is to allow each presenter a slideshow of 20 images, which will be shown for 20 seconds each. The duration of a presentation is no longer than 6 minutes 40 seconds. This succinct format is an extended elevator pitch with images, a combination of PowerPoint presentation and poetry slam. Dytham claims that adherence to these limits removes "preciousness" the presenter might feel towards the presentation.
This is one of my favorites, which may or may not be a strict pecha kucha but it is most certainly influenced by the ideals of that format: Elan Lee presenting "Entertainment is Everywhere: if you're bored, you're living life wrong" «http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bctGWwTXXz8».
Advice on giving a pecha kucha presentation is available at «http://www.aqworks.com/2007/07/03/pecha-kucha-nights-and-beer-a-sober-guide-to-better-presentation-skills/».
Wired Magazine ran a capsule article on pecha kucha in issue 15.09, «http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/magazine/15-09/st_pechakucha#».