The Importance of the 10/20/30 Rule for PowerPoint Presentations

Feb 20, 2023
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Learn how the 10/20/30 rule for PowerPoint presentations can help you design great presentations.

We all know that PowerPoint presentations play an important role in any kind of workflow. They can be used for educational projects, sales pitches, investor pitches, business proposals, financial purposes, or something else. But, how do we make sure that our presentations are visually appealing, concise, easy to understand, and informative as per their intended purpose? One of the best practices for achieving this is Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule for PowerPoint presentations. We’ve even briefly mentioned it in one of our previous articles, 10 Slides Every Business Presentation Must Have. In this blog, we will discuss this effective rule and its importance in making your presentations more effective.

What is the 10/20/30 Rule for PowerPoint Presentations?

As a venture capitalist, Guy Kawasaki has been in the trenches of the tech industry for decades, from his time at Apple in the 80s to his current roles as an author, speaker, entrepreneur, and VC. But it's his life-long battle with Ménière's disease that drove him to create the 10/20/30 rule for PowePoint presentations.

Ménière’s is a condition of the inner ear that can cause sudden hearing loss, tinnitus (a constant ringing sound), and vertigo. In addition to the physical symptoms, Kawasaki (jokingly) attributed his occasional hearing loss and vertigo to the dull and lengthy presentations he was subjected to.

Kawasaki created the 10/20/30 rule to save the venture capital community from the misery of death by PowerPoint. He stipulated that the ideal length of a pitch should be no longer than 10 slides, the presentation should last no longer than 20 minutes, and the font size should be no smaller than 30 points.

The 10/20/30 rule has become a widely accepted standard for PowerPoint presentations. Considering that entrepreneurs, business leaders, universities, and other organizations have thoroughly adopted it, it’s not hard to see why. It's easy to understand and follow, ensuring the audience stays engaged throughout the presentation.

Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule has become an invaluable tool for entrepreneurs and business leaders. It helps them to keep their presentations concise and engaging, which gives them the best chance of getting their point across and closing the deal.

Breaking Down the 10/20/30 Rule for PowerPoint Presentations

Stick to having 10 slides in your pitch or presentation

We’ve all heard the expression ‘less is more’ multiple times. It’s especially relevant when it comes to creating a successful business presentation. We know that it’s nearly impossible to share 10 or more concepts in one presentation and expect our audience to comprehend and remember all of them.

With this challenge in mind, Guy Kawasaki, a well-known venture capitalist, came up with the first part of the ‘10/20/30 Rule’ - the 10-slides rule. The idea behind it was to create presentations that were specific and straight to the point while limiting the number of slides to just 10.

This means that each slide should focus on its own key takeaway, with the end goal of making it clear to the audience what you want them to learn from the presentation. This rule can be applied to venture capitalist presentations, as well as internal meetings, proposals, and sales decks.

By keeping this rule in mind, you can ensure that you’re providing your audience with the most critical pieces of information, without overwhelming them or losing track of your main point. So the next time you’re creating a presentation, remember the 10-slide rule and stick to it. You’ll be sure to have a successful presentation that’s clear and concise.

The presentation should ideally last only 20 minutes

Long business presentations can be a challenge for both the presenter and the audience. When there’s too much information, it tends to become overwhelming and causes people to lose focus and become distracted. That’s why it’s important to abide by the 10/20/30 rule suggested by Guy Kawasaki: keep your presentation to no more than 20 minutes.

Doing this ensures that your presentation is concise and to the point. It’s also important to remember that you don’t need to include every detail and nuance. Focus on the most important points and break down complex topics into easy-to-understand chunks.

You should also vary the way you deliver your presentation. Use visuals, humor, storytelling, and anecdotes to engage your audience and keep them interested. Ask questions and encourage audience participation, and make sure to leave time in the end for questions and additional discussion.

If you keep these tips in mind, you won’t have to worry about your audience getting bored or losing focus. You can be confident that your presentation will be informative yet engaging and will leave a lasting impression.

Finally, it’s important to remember that presentation length is just one part of the equation. If you focus on creating content that is engaging, relevant, and memorable, the length of your presentation won’t matter as much. So take your time to create a presentation that is well-organized, informative, and captivating.

Keep all text in 30-point font

Imagine having to attend a presentation where the text is minuscule. Not only that but the information presented is crammed onto each slide. It’s a struggle to make sense of the presentation, and you know you’re not going to bother to squint at it, regardless of your age.

If you’re planning a presentation, follow Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule. It’s the best way to ensure that it's accessible and understandable for everyone in the audience. The third part of this rule states that no font should be smaller than 30 point size for a PowerPoint presentation. This allows the entire audience to read and interact with the slides, without having to strain their eyes.

While 30 point size is the ideal size for a presentation, it’s important to note that the average recommended font size for accessibility is 16. When you use a 30-point font, you ensure that the text on each slide is legible and easy to read. However, it’s important not to increase the font size as it can limit the amount of text you can include on each slide.

By following the 10/20/30 rule, you will be able to focus on the key points of your presentation, and ensure that it is easily understandable for all members of the audience. The 30-point font size will ensure that your slides are easily legible and that the audience is able to understand the information you are presenting.

The Importance of incorporating the 10/20/30 rule for PowerPoint Presentations

PowerPoint presentations are an essential tool for any businessperson in order to share information with their audience. The 10/20/30 rule proposed by Guy Kawasaki is an effective way to ensure that your presentations are legible, concise, and retainable. It helps to keep your audience engaged and interested in the content, leading to bigger wins for your team.

Come find out how our team at Deck Sherpa can utilize this all-important rule for your PowerPoint presentations. Check out our past work and services. Get in touch with our project managers and expert presentation designers for your next set of well-crafted PowerPoint presentations.