What is the PowerPoint 10/20/30 rule?

What is the PowerPoint 10/20/30 rule?



Despite the number of PowerPoint presentations I have given in my life, I have always had trouble understanding the best practices for creating them. I know they should look good, but it’s hard to figure out how to make them aesthetically pleasing and informative. I’m sure my experience is not unique, as finding the right balance between content, design and time can be difficult. Marketers know this more than anyone, as success in the role is often marked by the ability to create compelling campaigns that tell a story and inspire audiences to take a specific action, like buying a product. However, PowerPoint presentations are different from advertisements. Understanding how to leverage your marketing insights when creating PowerPoints can be tricky. Still, there are several resources for marketers to use when creating presentations, one of which is the 10/20/30 rule.

  <h2>What is the 10/20/30 rule for PowerPoint?</h2>

    The PowerPoint 10/20/30 rule is a simple concept: no PowerPoint presentation should have more than ten slides, more than 20 minutes, and use fonts of less than 30 points.  Coined by Guy Kawasaki, the ruler is a tool for marketers to create great PowerPoint presentations.  Each element of the formula helps marketers find a balance between design and conceptual explanations, so you can grab an audience's attention, emphasize your points, and improve readability. 

Guy Kawasaki PowerPoint

Guy kawasaki, an early Apple employee, championed the concept of a ‘brand evangelist’ to describe his position. He spent most of his time working to build a fan base for the Macintosh, the Apple family of computers. Today he works as a brand evangelist for Canva, an online graphic design tool. Since he has had a lot of experience giving presentations to captivate audiences, he realized that the 10/20/30 it is a successful formula to follow. The Kawasaki Book, Beginning art, is where he first introduced the concept and described how it works. Let’s cover each part of the rule in more detail.

10 slides

Kawasaki believes that it is a challenge for the audience to understand more than ten concepts during a presentation. Given this, marketers should aim to create PowerPoints with no more than ten slides, that is, ten ideas that you will explain. Using fewer slides and focusing on the critical elements helps your audience understand the concepts you are sharing with them. In practice, this means creating slides that are specific and direct. For example, let’s say you are presenting the success of your recent campaign. Your marketing strategy was probably extensive and you took a number of different actions to get to your bottom line. Instead of outlining all aspects of your campaign, you would use your slides to outline the main elements of your strategy. This could be viewed as individual slides summarizing the problem you hoped to solve, your goals, the steps you took to reach your goals, and post-campaign analytics that summarize your accomplishments. It is important to note that there should not be a large amount of text on your slides. You want them to be concise. Your audience should get most of the information from the words you are speaking; Your slides should be more complementary than explanatory.

20 minutes

Once you’ve taken the time to think about your ten key points, you should present them in 20 minutes. Knowing that you will only have 20 minutes also makes planning and structuring your talk easier, as you will know how much time to spend on each slide, to address all relevant points. Kawasaki recognizes that presentation time intervals can often be longer, but finishing at the 20-minute mark leaves time for valuable discussions and questions and answers. Saving time on your presentation also leaves room for technical difficulties.

30 point font

If you’ve been in the audience during a presentation, you probably know that small print slides can be difficult to read and divert your attention from the speaker. Kawasaki’s final rule is that no font within your layout should be smaller than 30 points. If you’ve already followed the rules above, then you should be able to display your key points on your slides in a font large enough for users to read. Since your key points are short and focused, there won’t be much text for your audience to read and they will spend more time listening to you speak. Since the recommended average font size for accessibility it is 16, using a 30 point font ensures that all members of your audience can read and interact with your slides.

Make your presentations more attractive

The PowerPoint 10/20/30 rule is intended to help marketers create powerful presentations. Each item in the rule works in conjunction with the other – limiting yourself to 10 slides requires you to select the highlights to present to your audience. A 20-minute timeline helps you make sure you’re contextualizing those slides as you speak, without delving into unnecessary information. Using a 30-point font can serve as a final check for your presentation, as it emphasizes the importance of showing only the key points on your slides, rather than large blocks of text. The font size then goes back to the ten slides as you will create sentences from your key points that will fit your slides in a 30 point font. Considering slide count, text size, and presentation length ensures your audience is captivated by your words while explaining the value behind your work.

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