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February 9, 2024

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Everything You Need To Know About 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint Presentations

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Decktopus Content Team

Would you like to deliver a perfect presentation? Who wouldn’t! Here is an overview of the 10/20/30 Rule for making your presentations polished and perfect.

What's Inside?

What does the best presentation look like? We may not have an answer for that, but we have a clear answer for how a bad presentation looks. Think about a presentation that goes for over 30 minutes, goes over 15 slides, and is still counting, and the speaker reads texts on the slides. Is there anyone even still listening? Most of the audience fell asleep, looking at their phone or daydreaming at this point. 

So, what was wrong with this presentation? What should the speaker do for their next presentation? Here is the 10/20/30 Rule! This rule will be your guideline to avoid horrible presentations. 

We prepared a comprehensive guide to create and deliver effective presentations by using the 10/20/30 Rule! If you want information about the 10/20/30 Rule, how to apply it to your presentation, its benefits and downsides, and some helpful tips from us for your next presentation, keep reading! 

Presentations in Our Life

Presentations are a ubiquitous part of our lives. In many settings, we can be asked to give presentations, convey information, share ideas, persuade others, or, as a recent trend, just for fun! In school, work, or maybe in your daily life, in a PowerPoint party, you may be asked to give presentations. 

What to Consider While Preparing a PowerPoint Presentation?

  • Topic and Purpose
  • Organization of the Slides
  • Design of the Slides
  • Time Limit
  • Delivery Style

You should choose your topic carefully. After choosing your topic, it is important to clearly describe your purpose for giving this presentation. Are you informing, persuading, inspiring, or entertaining? Knowing your purpose will shape your content and approach. Thus, it will create a roadmap for you to follow.

You should organize your slides. Of course, the title is the first slide, but what else comes after? You should outline your topic and organize your slides accordingly. The slides should keep up with the flow of the presentation and support the presenter.

Your slides shouldn't be dull. The slides should contain attention-grabbing designs. Otherwise, you may subject your audience to Death by PowerPoint. In other words, you will bore them to death with your presentation.

There should be a set time limit for delivery. The last thing you want in a presentation is to run around in circles and repeat. You should try to keep it as short as possible, of course keeping in mind the goal for your delivery. Remember that people's attention span is limited. Thus, giving a longer presentation than it should be is never a good idea. The last thing you want is for the audience to stop listening to you.

Your delivery is the most important part of the presentation. You may spend hours on your presentation design, but in the end, you are the one who will present it. Be sure to practice beforehand. Prepare your presentation according to the time limit and focus on your pronunciation. Practice for a smooth delivery. Try to be natural and confident when presenting!

Although you should consider these points for your presentation, you can also apply the 10/20/30 rule for your presentation. This rule almost covers all the main points of a presentation to be perfect! Capture your audience and deliver your point flawlessly!

What is the 10/20/30 Rule? 

 The 10/20/30 Rule refers to a presentation formula for the best and most effective presentations. This rule provides a valuable framework, emphasizing the importance of organization, time management, and legible text. According to this formula:

  • You should have 10 slides
  • The presentation should last 20 minutes
  • The slides should have at least a 30-point font

10/20/30 Rule

The 10/20/30 rule was coined by Guy Kawasaki, who is one of the early pioneers of Silicon Valley, now working as the chief evangelist of Canva. Back in 2006, Kawasaki was working as a venture specialist. After seeing enough presentations, which was a lot, he was able to analyze what makes a presentation better or worse than others. That’s when the 10/20/30 rule was born!

Here is Guy Kawasaki explaining the 10/20/30 Rule in a minute:

Who can use the 10/20/30 Rule in the Slides?

Kawasaki created this formula based on his experiences as a venture specialist. Therefore, this formula can be used for marketers. Presentations are different from advertisements. Presentations should be visually engaging, informative, and supportive of the presenter in times of need. 

The 10/20/30 rule idea can be used for any presentation made with the purpose of reaching an agreement: a pitch deck, making a sale, raising capital, and so on. 

However, if you have other aims for your presentation, you can still take the key points for your presentation. It is important to understand that this rule focuses on the structure of a presentation. This includes the organization of the presentation, time limit, and design of your presentation. Whether you are a student, teacher, or worker, you can consider using the 10/20/30 rule for your presentations.

10/ 20/ 30 Rule for Your PowerPoint Presentation

10 Slides is More Than Enough

No more than 10 slides! As Kawasaki points out, the human mind is only able to comprehend 10 concepts in a meeting. If you have more than 10 slides, some of them are bound to be forgotten. Some may be forgotten before you even finish your presentation. It is important to use your slides as supporters and add key points only. You should prepare your topic and slides accordingly. 

Actually, Kawasaki also shared an outline to follow on a marketing presentation. By following this outline, you can deliver every important detail in your marketing presentation.

1. Title

a. This slide should include your name, company name, contact information, and other information needed.

2. Problem/Opportunity

a. In this slide, you can explain the problem in the market and your solution to this problem. You should be able to explain what needs your product or service addresses and how.

3. Value Proposition

a. You should highlight the values and benefits of your product for the customers in this slide.

4. Underlying Magic

a. In this slide, explain the technology behind your business model. Depending on your product or service, you can keep this part shorter or longer. 

5. Business Model

a. Explain your plan to generate revenue and profit. After all, you are looking for an investment or agreement, so you should highlight this part! 

6. Go-to-Market Plan

a. In this part, explain your market or sales plan. You can show a roadmap for revenue goals, target customers, activities to achieve your goals, and some problems you may experience.

7. Competitive Analysis

a. In this slide, present your strategy that involves examining and analyzing your rivals in the market. In this way, you learn about their offerings, sales processes, and marketing strategies. In addition, add your stronger corporate strategies to gain market share.

8. Management Team

a. Highlight your team and their work! You may want to focus on your management team’s experience, skills, effectiveness, and knowledge of the product. 

9. Financial Projections and Key Metrics

a. Provide a set of financial statements for your business idea. Your future revenues and expenses should be presented in an estimated timeline. Present a budget plan! 

10. Current Status, Accomplishments to Date, Timeline, and Use of Funds.

a. In the last slide, you should talk about the current progress or developments in your business, achievements that you accomplished, a timeline for your future achievements, and how you plan to use the investments that you seek. 

While the 10/20/30 Rule provides a structured framework, you may want to adapt some parts of the outline for your presentation according to your topic. But in the end, it is more ideal that your outline should be similar to Kawasaki’s. 

20 Minutes is Ideal For Your Delivery

No longer than 20 minutes! People have a very short attention span; this includes your audience, too! Even if everything else in your presentation is perfect, a longer presentation will tire your audience, like a class that is longer than it should be. The longer your presentation gets, the more your audience will get distracted, tired, or bored. Similarly, you will become tired, too. That will make you more prone to make mistakes and repeat yourself.

Most TED Talks are 20 minutes or less, mostly around 10-ish minutes. This shows that you can get your point across effectively in 20 minutes, so don’t hesitate! It may seem short, but because they are fast-paced, they become more engaging. The important part is to get your point across and make your audience understand you!

You may be given more time to present. However, you should still keep your presentation to 20 minutes and leave your remaining time for questions, discussions, and comments. This will also prepare you for any hiccups out of your control. For example, people can arrive late, and there may be problems with the computer and projector. Because of these problems, some of your designated time can stolen. Even if you are given an hour, keeping your presentation 20 minutes will give you an advantage.   

30 Point Font is Better

No smaller than a 30-point font! Font rule is a very important part of the 10/20/30 Rule. Your presentation shouldn't have any small text. If you have texts that are usually in 10-point fonts, then you probably have chunks of text in your slides and will read from them during the presentation. As most of us have experienced, those presentations are very hard to listen to! After all, the audience can read faster than you speak. Therefore, the audience is ahead of you, and after they read, there is no need to listen to you. 

The purpose of 30-points is this: because it is a large font size, you won't be able to fit all the information you want to deliver. Only key points and main ideas will be in your presentation! As it should be! You can add key points and get support from your slides when needed.

Also, a smaller font means that it will be harder to read for your audience. So, rather than being supporting material, it captures your audience as they try to read the small fonts. What's ideal is for the audience to listen and pay attention to you and maybe take a quick glance at the presentation.

If you think it is a too strict rule, Kawasaki also proposes another idea. If you can, find the age of the oldest people in the audience. By dividing it into two, you will have your ideal font size. For example, if the oldest person in your audience is 50, then your font can be 25 points! 

It is up to you to choose your font size. However, we recommend 30 points!

Why Should Apply Kawasaki’s Rule or Not?

As with everything, there are ups and downs to using this formula for your presentations. Consider these for your presentation to decide whether to use the 10/20/30 rule. Keep in mind that some benefits can outweigh downsides and vice versa. You can analyze it according to your own audience and the context of your presentation.

The Benefits of Kawasaki’s Rule: 

There is an apparent structure Kawasaki’s Rule provides. With years of use, this formula has proven to be accurate and useful. The rule is specially designed for marketers, so the structure fits perfectly into a marketer's presentation. However, everyone can adapt the 10/20/30 rule for their presentation, as it focuses on the structure of the presentation.

Focused Presentation: 

With 10 slides and 20 minutes, 10/20/30 makes your presentation more concise and focused. A concise presentation shows your mastery of the topic. There is more virtue in getting your point across with fewer words rather than talking for hours. The aim is to give your information in a shorter way to make your content easier to understand. Also, it will be easier for your audience to remember what was said in the presentation afterward.

Response to Your Audience’s Needs:

10/20/30 is prepared by Kawasaki from his experiences as an audience. Thus, it is no surprise that the rule focuses on the audience's perspective more. With this audience-centered approach, keeping it shorter makes your audience more engaged. It is also easier to remember a short presentation afterward. 

The Downsides of Kawasaki’s Rule: 

Remember that this presentation rule was from the 2000s. So, some problems are addressing issues that are out of date.

Time Management Problems:  

Kawasaki points out that 20 minutes is enough for a presentation. However, sometimes it may not be. The 10 slides Kawasaki proposes can take longer than 20 minutes, and this is highly likely. So, for the sake of keeping up with the time limit and being brief, some valuable information can be missed. 

Furthermore, Kawasaki advises that even if an hour is given, the presentation still should be 20 minutes, and the rest should be left for the audience's questions. But trusting the audience's questions is always risky. What if there are no questions? Your presentation will be short and brief. 

Advanced Technology: 

We now use more high-definition projectors that are able to show smaller texts in better quality. In addition, presentation platforms have become more online. In a video-conference, a 30-point font size is unnecessary and not visually satisfying. Also, a 30-point font does not leave much space for a creative and unique design for your slides.

Some Tips For Your Next Slide

Technology and Tools:

Stay updated with the latest presentation tools and technologies, like Decktopus. Decktopus is a modern presentation tool that offers a range of features for creating visually appealing and engaging slides with the help of AI. Decktopus is easy to use and quick to create slides you want to show in your next marketing presentation. With Decktopus, it is impossible for your slides to not take the attention of your audience.

Visuals:

Having visually appealing and supporting slides is important! You may capture the audience with your speech, but you also should capture them visually! Use creative templates, designs, and graphics! You can easily create decks with various templates and visuals on Decktopus! Take a look!

Storytelling:

Storytelling is an art and a dynamic tool for presentations! By sharing your story, you can make your presentation more memorable and engaging. You may want to create compelling narratives that draw in your audience and make them resonate on an emotional level. Storytelling makes you and your product more relatable for the audience. The audience becomes invested in your story and begins to care about you and your product.

Body Language and Delivery:

As we said, delivery is the key part of a presentation! Your body language gives underlying messages about your confidence and expertise. Practice non-verbal communication before your presentation. You may practice in front of a group of friends to get their advice! Don’t forget the most important ones: maintain eye contact, use gestures effectively, and project confidence!

Handling Questions:

Think about possible questions and your answers before your presentation! You may develop a few strategies for handling questions and addressing unexpected challenges during your presentation. Familiarize yourself with possible questions and objections against your claims, and come up with well-thought-out answers before your presentation. It is important to answer all the questions asked to show your expertise and mastery of the subject. You may conduct a Q&A session after your presentation, or you can take questions during the presentation, depending on the flow of your presentation.

Make It More Interactive:

Creating an interactive presentation will certainly increase your audience engagement and make your presentation more memorable. You may want to get your audience’s attention by adding their input to the presentation. For example, you can conduct a live question and answer session during your presentation and add the input of your audience to the narrative. Similarly, you can create a spontaneous survey or poll, to make your presentation more engaging. You can use some tools in your slides or simply ask people to raise their hands. Remember that most of the TED Talks start with a question!

By incorporating these additional ideas into your presentation, you can create and deliver effective presentations not only in marketing but in various contexts and settings!

How to Start?

Decktopus 

Try Decktopus for creating your next presentation. You can follow the 10/20/30 Rule easily with customized slides! 

Decktopus is a presentation assistant that helps you create presentations. Once you answer enough questions about your slideshow, it can also build decks for you. After you answer the questions about your audience, how long your presentation will take, what your presentation is about, your aim, and your template, Decktopus will create a deck for you with images, titles, logos, writings, etc. Because you’ve given detailed information about what you want to present, you don’t have to change many things.

 

For your practice, you can use Rehearsal Mode in Decktopus! You can rehearse and adjust the time for your presentation. You can still make changes that are needed after your practice!

In addition, Decktopus has many templates! These will make your presentation more visually engaging and look more professional. As with the concept, let’s say you will make a presentation about marketing. Decktopus has over 15 marketing presentation templates! You can choose any template that goes with your concept or product!

Decktopus has you covered for your next presentation! If you want more information about how it is used, you can look at this video: 

Conclusion

In the fast-paced world we live in, effective presentations have become a vital skill. Whether you're a student, teacher, entrepreneur, or professional, the ability to convey your ideas clearly and persuasively can open doors and drive success. 10/20/30 Rule by Guy Kawasaki, born out of years of experience, offers a structured approach to crafting presentations that capture your audience's attention and deliver your message.

Effective presentations are not just about slides and bullet points; they are about your audience, sparking their interest and leaving a lasting impact. While presenting, storytelling, visuals, slides, engagement, and confidence are equally critical components you should consider.

So, for your next presentation journey, keep Guy Kawasaki's 10/20/30 Rule in mind. With practice, preparation, and a deep understanding of your content, you'll be well on your way to delivering presentations that inform, inspire, and engage.

In the end, presentations are not just about the slides; they're about the connections you build, the ideas you share, and the impact you make. Whether you're giving a sales pitch, a classroom lecture, or a TED Talk, the art of presenting is a skill that can empower you to achieve your goals and leave a lasting impression. 

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