If there was ever a formula for the “perfect presentation” it’s the 10/20/30 Rule. Introduced by venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki in 2005, this rule was intended for crafting the perfect PowerPoint presentation. Guy spent a lot of his time listening to proposals, the overwhelming majority of which he referred to as “crap.” He came up with the 10/20/30 Rule as a way for presenters to connect with their audience. Today, PowerPoint isn’t the only presentation software in the game. So, that begs the questions—Does the 10/20/30 Rule still apply? The short answer is, yes.
This simple formula can be applied to presentations given on any platform and in any field and is a proven and effective way to get your message across. According to the 10/20/30 Rule,
“…a PowerPoint presentation should have 10 slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.”
Most people struggle with condensing the information they need to present into something palatable for their audience. In an age of instant gratification and constant distractions, you only have a small window to get your key points across to your audience. After sitting through hundreds of proposals, Kawasaki determined that the magic number of slides is 10. After 10 slides, you tend to lose your audience, because you are trying to give them more information than they can digest at one time.
Yes, 20 minutes does sound short. However, these 20 minutes are specifically for getting through the slide portion of your presentation. If you’re scheduled for an hour time-slot, use the extra time to get set up, answer questions at the end, and allow some buffer time for people who arrive late or have to leave early. If the information you have simply won’t fit into 20-minutes, try creating 2 20-min presentations with a brief break in between. This way your audience will stay captivated and you can include everything you need.
Using a font size smaller than 30-point not only makes it hard for your audience to see what’s on the screen, it tempts you to put way too much information on your slides. If you have slides covered from top-to-bottom in 10-point font, you are likely going to end up reading your slides which means, so will your audience. The implication is that you don’t know your material—probably not the impression you want to make. Sticking to 30-point font “requires you to find the most salient points and to know how to explain them well.” If you’re giving the presentation, the audience assumes you are the expert on the information you are presenting. As soon as you start reading your slides, you undermine your own authority on the topic you are presenting. The technology should complement you as the speaker, not the other way around.
Even though presentation platforms have evolved, the principle remains. The 10/20/30 Rule is just as effective if you’re using presentation software like PowerPoint, Beautiful.AI. or Prezi. People want concise information, in a short amount of time, and they want to be able to read it and walk away feeling confident that you know your stuff.
Want to see one of the presentations I made with Beautiful.ai? Check it out, here.