10 – 20 – 30

don’t bore your audience to death

This is the second of five thoughts dealing with professional presentations and public speaking. An Australian survey found that 70% of executives believe that good presentation skills are critical to professional advancement. Despite the widely acknowledged importance of presentation skills, this slightly arrogant but award-winning speaker finds that most executives present badly.

Renowned speakers such as Guy Kawasaki, of Apple and TED fame, talk a lot about the ‘10 – 20 – 30 rule’ of presentation. This refers to the use of PowerPoint or similar and highlights the importance of using such media with restraint.

We have all been bored, if not to death then certainly to tears, by PowerPoint presentations. This is in part due to the presentation and in part due to the manner in which the speaker uses the PowerPoint.

10 refers to the proposition that a presentation should not have more than 10 slides

20 refers to the proposition that no presentation should have a duration longer than 20 minutes

30 refers to point size of the type on each of the slides

Allowing for some variation from presentation to presentation, these are sound rules. Ten slides is a good number. Twenty minutes is a good length, though not always realistic. Thirty-point type is a must, as it keeps the words large, few, and readable.

My tips are:

  • Use photographs or diagrams rather than words wherever possible
  • Where words are used, limit the number on a slide to 10
  • Limit all slides to a maximum of three points
  • Do NOT read the slides or even repeat what is on the slides
  • Ensure that the slides complement the speech rather than guide it
  • Speak without slides wherever you can

These tips might help you develop a better presentation. Email me for more.

In 2018, don’t bore your audience to death

Every year – put the facts ahead of intuition and guesswork.

Sources of core statistics – Corporate Communication Experts, The Career Café, Forbes, Making Business Matter and Alvernia University

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