The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

by Volker Weber

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.

As a special service to Lotus Marketing: It's not too late to get this right for Lotusphere. Since you only have 30 minutes briefings, you have to use the 5/10/30 rule.

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[Thanks, Oliver]


I find that rules about powerpoint slides should contain only one rule:

-There is no useful set of general presentation rules that can be summarized by three simple points.


Actually, for 2 hour jumpstarts, I find that 42 slides is perfect.

Brian Benz, 2006-01-02

Pesentation Zen on the same topic (offering a different view): The size of your deck is not important.

Of course, on the other hand some people are known to despise PowerPoint completely … ;-)

Christian Bogen, 2006-01-02

I believe that if you cannot get your point across using paper and pen - you should not be in charge of a multimedia presentation. Once you have mastered that point try a whiteboard and eventually ppt (or open office of course). Cheers

john wylie, 2006-01-03

I'd agree with the 30 but not necessarily the 10 and 20. I posted my thoughts on the Lotusphere template here:

Carl Tyler, 2006-01-03

You write:

I'd probably agree with the 30 but not the 10 and 20, and let's think about think about this, the advice is from a VC, which lets face it are typically right once or twice in ten attempts? It is important to remember that slides are basically reminders for the presenter and visual aids for the audience

The advice is not from some VC who is right once or twice in ten attempts, but rather from Guy Kawasaki, one of the original Apple Computer employees responsible for marketing of the Macintosh in 1984. He is noted for bringing the concept of evangelism to the high-tech business. With all due respect, Carl, but I would take his advice on presentation 99 out of 100 times.

And no, the slides are NOT reminders for the presenter. Definitely not.

Volker Weber, 2006-01-03

According to Dilbert, eight slides is a good number.

Chris Linfoot, 2006-01-03

Actually on IBM presentations there probably might be font size 28 ;-)

Martin Hiegl, 2006-01-03

A more gruff outlook (no pun intended) provided by a Yale professor.

His powerpoint booklet is worth reading, for getting your message condensed and communicated. For example, Kawasaki's typeface size advice is great for legibility, but it forces us to present Dick and Jane style:
- See Spot run.
- Run, Spot, run.
- Jane's server is down.

That's about the line length for this size type on a slide with a bunch of graphic crap, known as a "template."

There are so many bad presentations, we have to stop this!

jim sherrill, 2006-01-03

Ah, but have you seen the CEO of SXIP's (Dick Hardt) presentation on Identity 2.0?

identity 2.0 at web 2.0

Granted, it only works for certain types of presentations and certain presenters, but man, that makes you take a new look at things... I get sick now in meetings watching the crap the average drone kicks out.

Kevan Emmott, 2006-01-03

Yes, we have. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2006-01-03

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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