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The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint for Winning Presentations

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A top marketing executive named Guy Kawasaki came up with a great formula for the perfect PowerPoint presentation.

Good presentation skills are vital for many professionals. Whether it’s presenting in front of a dozen people or giving a talk before thousands, getting your message across clearly and confidently is essential.

The basics of the 10/20/30 formula are simple –

Ten slides. Ten is the optimal number of slides in a PowerPoint presentation because a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting. If you must use more than ten slides to explain your business, you probably don’t have a business. The ten topics are:

  • Problem
  • Your solution
  • Business model
  • Underlying magic/technology
  • Marketing and sales
  • Competition
  • Team
  • Projections and milestones
  • Status and timeline
  • Summary and call to action

Twenty minutes. You should give your ten slides in twenty minutes. Sure, you have an hour time slot, but you’re using a Windows laptop, so it will take forty minutes to make it work with the projector. Even if setup goes perfectly, people will arrive late and have to leave early. In a perfect world, you give your pitch in twenty minutes, and you have forty minutes left for discussion.

Thirty-point font. The majority of the presentations have text in a ten point font. As much text as possible is jammed into the slide, and then the presenter reads it. However, as soon as the audience figures out that you’re reading the text, it reads ahead of you because it can read faster than you can speak. The result is that you and the audience are out of synch.

The reason people use a small font is twofold: first, that they don’t know their material well enough; second, they think that more text is more convincing. Force yourself to use no font smaller than thirty points. I guarantee it will make your presentations better because it requires you to find the most salient points and to know how to explain them well. If “thirty points,” is too dogmatic, the I offer you an algorithm: find out the age of the oldest person in your audience and divide it by two. That’s your optimal font size.’

If you need help with your PowerPoint presentations, feel free to get in touch for a free, no-obligation consultation to find out how I can help you.

Author: Guy Kawasaki

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