Thursday, October 25, 2007

The 10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint

Guy Kawasaki is considered a communication guru. He is a managing director of Garage Technology Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm and a columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine. Previously, he was an Apple Fellow at Apple Computer, Inc. Guy is the author of eight books including The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. He has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

Guy listens to hundreds of people make pitches to him regarding major investments. In an article entitled, The 10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint, he gives what are three basic rules for preparing PPT presentations for business presentations.

I think that they are mostly applicable to Powerpoint used in sermons as well.
Never use more than 10 slides ("the average human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting")
Never speak for more than 20 minutes (the time limit allows for glitches and "in a perfect world you give your pitch in twenty minutes, and you have forty minutes left for discussion")

Never use a font on PPT smaller than 30 pt.
(people think that more text is more convincing. WRONG. It shows you don't know your material well).

If you want all the "whys" of the 10/20/30 rule, you can read his article at:

My reaction to the rule is:
30 pt. My associate in a former church (Jeremy Snoberger) keyed me in very early in my PPT presentations that 30 pt was the absolute smallest you should go. I try to go no smaller than 32. My problem is not simply that too much text is cluttery & confuse people. I want to make sure they can clearly see what I DO put up there.

10 slides. I am working to get my number of slides down closer to this number. I used to have sermons that had 50, 60 even 70 slides. Now one excuse is that I would make multiple slides instead of multi-part slides (like when a new point came in). But I admit to being tech happy. So, while I am not down to 10 slides yet, I am consciously working at getting closer to that number. (More and more my slide count is in the teens).

20 minutes. Oh boy...not even close. I know all the old adages: the brain can not take more than the seat can bear...if you can't say it in 20 minutes, you don't know what you are getting at...modern American's attention span is much less than even 20 minutes. But I still preach a minimum of 30 min, usually 35. I am still struggling with the validity of this in sermons. (Loretta--my wife--thinks it is VERY valid). Still working on it.

Your thoughts on the 10-20-30-Rule?

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