"Pechakucha" Public Speaking Competition Showcases Creativity and Skill

20 slides. 20 seconds each. 6 minutes and 40 seconds in total. 6 participants. 1 evening of storytelling, fun, and Pechakucha. The word, meaning “chit-chat”, is the name of a public speaking competition that originated in Tokyo in 2003. Each speaker in the event has 6 minutes and 40 seconds to tell a story, give an informational speech, or speak about whatever topic they would like. The only catch is, they must only use 20 slides and speak for exactly 20 seconds on each slide.

From Tokyo, the competition has spread to 900 cities around the world, including our very own Champaign-Urbana. There have been Pechakucha events at the Krannert Center for Performing Arts, and annual tournaments in our own Communication department. Grace Giorgio, overseeing professor of Communication 111 and 112, hosts an annual Pechakucha event. Students must spend time crafting a speech, and then bring it to bat within their classrooms instructed by Communication Teaching Assistants.

The winners from each classroom move on to the official Pechakucha Tournament, which this year was on December 14th, 2017 in Lincoln Hall.

Communication students fill a Lincoln Hall lecture hall to hear their peers' presentations.

The room was packed with students from wall to wall, eager to hear their classmates speak. The contestants, dressed in their best performance attire, took turns sharing their stories. The topics varied from March Madness to selling Girl Scout cookies, from Bitcoin to Kind Bars. Each speaker brought their A-game and their own flare to the exhibition. Competition was fierce.

winUltimately, contestant Lauren Stroner walked away with the first place prize, with contestants Thomas Schneider and Darian Gerasta coming up in second and third, respectively (see left). The award funds were generously donated to the through the Joseph Wenzel Undergraduate Education Fund for this event. For more information or to give to the Wenzel Fund, you can click here.

Congratulations to all the participants!