How Long Should Your Powerpoint Really Be?

You have just been asked to give a presentation to your colleagues.  You are preparing to put together a Powerpoint presentation when you are faced with an important decision: How long should your Powerpoint presentation be?  You want to be sure you include all of the necessary information but you don’t want your audience to fall victim to complete and utter boredom.  When creating a Powerpoint presentation you can’t go wrong with the “10-20-30 Rule.”  Here is a breakdown of this rule:

10 slides are the optimal number to use for any presentation.

20 minutes is the longest amount of time you should speak.

30 point font is the smallest font size you should use on your slides.

The quality of your business presentation will dramatically improve by following this general rule of thumb and here’s why:

10 Slides Forces the Presenter to Choose Wisely

It might not seem like a lot, but trimming your presentation to just 10 slides is a valuable constraint.  Most people have between 30-50 slides for a 1-hour presentation and many of the slides are filled with unnecessary content.  By limiting your slides to just 10, you are forced to evaluate the necessity of each slide and just like every other part of your presentation, if it isn’t necessary it shouldn’t be included! Selecting fewer slides also encourages the presenter to design their presentation wisely, keeping it clear and concise.

20 Minutes is Ample Time to Illustrate Your Point

Much like the constraint on the number of slides, cutting down on your speaking time forces you to do plenty of editing.  You can trim out the silly jokes and the “I’m so happy to be here’s.”  Cut back on the details and only include the information that the audience actually cares about.  When you get rid of all the additional fillers, you focus on what is truly important and deliver a presentation with precision.

30 Point Font Guarantees Readability

It is critical that your slides be readable from a distance.  You might have the best material in the world but if audiences can’t read it, it does no good.  Bigger is probably better, but at the very minimum 30-point font should be readable by everyone in your audience.

It’s important to remember that there is not a “one size fits all” rule when it comes to presentations.  Every presentation is unique but the “10-20-30 Rule” should act as a basic guideline.  If your topic is more complex and absolutely requires the use of a few more slides, don’t hesitate to include what you deem necessary.  Likewise, if you just absolute CANNOT deliver your presentation in less than 30 minutes, take the time you need.  Just remember that it is important to edit your presentation and get rid of any material that is not necessary.  Audiences will appreciate it and you will be more apt to deliver a meaningful presentation.