Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule

September 29th, 2009

Guy Kawaski 10-20-30 rule Guy Kawasaki is a great speaker that often speaks to entrepreneur groups about how to present their ideas to venture capital groups. His 10-20-30 rule has been getting a lot of tweet time today. It’s a good rule for presenting to Venture Capitalist, but it should not be taken as a universal rule for presenting. He says for this VC target audience “you should not have more than 10 slides, speak longer than 20 minutes and do not use text smaller then 30 points”. He says “if you can’t fit the 30 point text on the slide then it is too much text”.

My rule would be more like 20-10-18. I’d aim for more slides with less on each slide, but about one slide per 30 seconds to keep the presentation visually interesting and moving along.  I would try not to use any type smaller than 18 point and always keep slides as simple and clean looking as possible. Yes, larger text is always helpful, especially if you are presenting to a large audience or with anyone that distance viewing may be a limited.

The more important rule is make sure your slides are readable from a distance and your important point stands out. It is ridiculous to limit the number of slides. All to often we see slide limits as the cause for content chaos – where a presenter attempts to cram 40 slides worth of content into his 15 slide limit. Good meeting facilitators should not give speakers slide number limits but time limits. It is the responsibility of the presenter to practice and trim their content to fit the time allotted as a speaker. If you have limited time to speak,  well designed PowerPoint slides can often assist in communicating the information faster and make it more memorable. A good agenda with good slides can also keep the speaker and audience stay on track for keeping the meeting to the allotted time.

The most important rule is don’t follow all the rules. Do what it takes to be innovative, creative and interesting. Break the rules if you feel it will result in more interesting visuals and a more engaged audience. Remember your objective is to communicate important information in the allotted time, not get through 10 slides as fast as you can.

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