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The 10/20/30 rule of PowerPoint

Just before Christmas I attended a customer briefing with one of our business partners, whowereexplaining their revised product strategy and other issues for that client. The ideas and information exchanged were all great, but the PowerPoint slides were unreadable. They would have been excellent as a supporting handout, but most people in the room couldn't possibly read them. Why does this happen all too often?

Way back in 1988 (when I was an IBM agent) I attended a fantastic presentation laid on by IBM on presentation skills by the best presenter I have ever seen. He is David A. Peoples, and I immediately bought his book Presentations Plus, which I still refer to regularly. My copy is the first edition from 1988, the currently available edition is 1992, and some reviewers criticise it for being written in the pre-PowerPoint era, when we used flip charts and foil projectors. I suggest this is a positive advantage. Much too often these days, when people think about their presentation it is in terms of the particular content and flow of their PowerPoint slides, when they should start by thinking what do I want to say, and what is the best medium for getting that message across?

I'm indebted to David Tebbutt's blog for tipping me off to Guy Kawasaki's 10/20/30 rule of PowerPoint. Here is what Guy says:


"I am trying to evangelize the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It's quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. While I'm in the venture capital business, this rule is applicable for any presentation to reach agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc."


In these days where PowerPoint is the medium of choice, this is an excellent maxim, but don't forget to spice up your approach with some extra visual aids that don't appear up on the white screen. Buy Presentations Plus, get some ideas from places like Presentation Zen, and do something different.
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