If you haven’t heard about it, Guy Kawasaki coined a clever little expression a while back to help folk improve their PowerPoint presentations. He called it the 10, 20, 30 rule.


The 10 20 30 rule.

Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mag3737/

  • 10 – No more than ten slides in your presentation. This key number is supposed to help focus your audiences minds on your message, rather than your slides.
  • 20 – If you have a one hour meeting, aim to finish your slides in no more than 20 minutes. What with technical problems, questions and chatting, you’ll end up running out of time and going too fast at the end if you try to cram in too much.
  • 30 – No font size smaller than 30. If you want your audience to be able to read your slides (you do!) then make sure your text is legible. If you find yourself trying to use a smaller font to squeeze it all in, ask yourself:
    • do you need all that text anyway?
    • shouldn’t the main message come from you, not your slides?
    • wouldn’t it be better to spread the information over more than one slide?

What made me decide to point all this out here though is because I found a nice little presentation on SlideShare today by Cory O’Brien that explains all of this in a nice, visual way. Have a look:


Guy even goes as far as giving us a suggested theme of what should go on each slide. Although I think this is far more relevant to marketers and business-people, I think it’s worth bearing in mind for education, too (and of course it works excellently for a business English teacher.) You can see Guy’s suggestions on Cory’s slide number 3 above. Better still, why not listen to it from the horses mouth Guy himself:

So, there we have it. If I haven’t convinced you, I hope Guy has!

Got a great PowerPoint tip? Is there a mnemonic-like “rule” you tell yourelf before starting to plan a presentation? Be sure to tell us about it in the comments section below! 🙂

All the best and happy presenting!