« A Brief History of Mine | Main | Resolution Assistance »

December 30, 2005

The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

I suffer from something called Ménière’s disease—don’t worry, you cannot get it from reading my blog. The symptoms of Ménière’s include hearing loss, tinnitus (a constant ringing sound), and vertigo. There are many medical theories about its cause: too much salt, caffeine, or alcohol in one’s diet, too much stress, and allergies. Thus, I’ve worked to limit control all these factors.

However, I have another theory. As a venture capitalist, I have to listen to hundreds of entrepreneurs pitch their companies. Most of these pitches are crap: sixty slides about a “patent pending,” “first mover advantage,” “all we have to do is get 1% of the people in China to buy our product” startup. These pitches are so lousy that I’m losing my hearing, there’s a constant ringing in my ear, and every once in while the world starts spinning.

To prevent an epidemic of Ménière’s in the venture capital community, I am evangelizing the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. While I’m in the venture capital business, this rule is applicable for any presentation to reach agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc.

  • Ten slides. Ten is the optimal number of slides in a PowerPoint presentation because a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting—and venture capitalists are very normal. (The only difference between you and venture capitalist is that he is getting paid to gamble with someone else’s money). If you must use more than ten slides to explain your business, you probably don’t have a business. The ten topics that a venture capitalist cares about are:

    1. Problem
    2. Your solution
    3. Business model
    4. Underlying magic/technology
    5. Marketing and sales
    6. Competition
    7. Team
    8. Projections and milestones
    9. Status and timeline
    10. Summary and call to action
  • Twenty minutes. You should give your ten slides in twenty minutes. Sure, you have an hour time slot, but you’re using a Windows laptop, so it will take forty minutes to make it work with the projector. Even if setup goes perfectly, people will arrive late and have to leave early. In a perfect world, you give your pitch in twenty minutes, and you have forty minutes left for discussion.

  • Thirty-point font. The majority of the presentations that I see have text in a ten point font. As much text as possible is jammed into the slide, and then the presenter reads it. However, as soon as the audience figures out that you’re reading the text, it reads ahead of you because it can read faster than you can speak. The result is that you and the audience are out of synch.

    The reason people use a small font is twofold: first, that they don’t know their material well enough; second, they think that more text is more convincing. Total bozosity. Force yourself to use no font smaller than thirty points. I guarantee it will make your presentations better because it requires you to find the most salient points and to know how to explain them well. If “thirty points,” is too dogmatic, the I offer you an algorithm: find out the age of the oldest person in your audience and divide it by two. That’s your optimal font size.

So please observe the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. If nothing else, the next time someone in your audience complains of hearing loss, ringing, or vertigo, you’ll know what caused the problem. One last thing: to learn more about the zen of great presentations, check out a site called Presentation Zen by my buddy Garr Reynolds.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c527353ef00d8345370d669e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint:

» Guy Kawasaki is blogging from Randy Holloway Unfiltered 2.0
Guy Kawasaki: As a venture capitalist, I have to listen to hundreds of entrepreneurs pitch their companies. Most of these pitches are crap: sixty slides about a “patent pending,” “first mover advantage,” “all we have to do is get 1% of... [Read More]

» Guy Kawasaki blogging from evilzenscientist :: thoughts
Guy Kawasaki (author of such titles as Selling the Dream - another must read book) has a new blog. One of his first posts really rings true - about the use (and abuse) of PowerPoint. I am trying to evangelize the 10/20/30 Rule of Powe... [Read More]

» Guy Kawasaki on PowerPoint from Kam VedBrat
Guy Kawasaki makes some interesting comments on PowerPoint presentations he sees on a regular basis.... [Read More]

» The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint from AlfredTwo
So it appears that Guy Kawasaki(please don't tell me you don't know who he is or Ishall be... [Read More]

» The rules of PowerPoint from Tripp Parks's WebLog
Guy Kawasaki has some excellent pointers on how to use PowerPoint effectively. [Read More]

» Guy Kawasaki: La regla 10/20/30 from Ondas, cables, luces, cacharritos y cachivaches
Guy Kawasaki no es alguien que ‘suene’ mucho a la gente, sobre todo una vez despejado el hecho de que no tiene nada que ver con motos japonesas. Guy es uno de los primeros empleados de Apple, uno de los primeros “evangelistas” de la industria i... [Read More]

» The Art of the Start from Net
I recently finnished reading Guy Kawasaki's "The Art of the Start", a book full of good advices for any entrepreneur. I especially liked the chapter called "The Art of Being a Mensch". Too seldom I encounter any referrences to being [Read More]

» The Art of the Start from Net
I recently finished reading Guy Kawasaki's "The Art of the Start", a book full of good advices for any entrepreneur. I especially liked the chapter called "The Art of Being a Mensch". Too seldom I encounter any references to being [Read More]

» Guy Kawasaki bloggt from Die Stimme der freien Welt
Guy Kawasaki, DER Großmeister des Marketings bloggt. And you better listen. Insbesondere seine [Read More]

» Guy Kawasaki on the10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint from Get Real
I found that Kawasaki's brand new blog is already helpful, in a backhanded way. I have been working with a number of startups in the past decade, and I continuously struggle with founders about their powerpoint addictions: too many bullets,... [Read More]

» The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint from vowe dot net
I am trying to evangelize the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. As a special service to Lotus Marketing: I... [Read More]

» Guy Kawasaki on the10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint from Get Real
I found that Kawasaki's brand new blog is already helpful, in a backhanded way. I have been working with a number of startups in the past decade, and I continuously struggle with founders about their powerpoint addictions: too many bullets,... [Read More]

» The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint from Stefan Tilkov's Random Stuff
From The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint: Its quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. [] Sure, you have an hour time slot, but you’... [Read More]

» Power Point and Rocket Science and the dangers of compelling stories from keeping simple
Edward Tufte dislikes PowerPoint and explains why in an article about the contribution of PowerPoint to the Columbia disaster. My other models for NASA are Feynmans lectures on physics, and the A3 page (or 11 by 17 in) folded in half. You can... [Read More]

» The 10/20/30 PowerPoint Rule from TomorrowConnecting.biz
Guy Kawasaki has posted some great guidelines for delivering effective PowerPoint presentations at his blog (see it here). He calls his theory the 10/20/30 Rule. It goes something like this: No presentation should be bigger than 10 slides, last lon... [Read More]

» The 10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint from Oliver Thylmann - Thoughts
My fellow Corante Web Hub member Stowe Boyd posted about the 10/20/30 rules of Powerpoint, which originally comes from Guy Kawasaki. Stowe actually extends Guys idea with a 1/10/20/30 notion, meaning that each slide should make one part of your [Read More]

» The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint from lifehack.org
Presentation Guru Guy Kawasaki introduces a rule called 10/20/30 PowerPoint rule in one of his recent blog posts. What is it? He describes, a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font ... [Read More]

» 10/20/30 Rule of Presentations from Jeremy Smith's blog
The 10/20/30 Rule of Presentations... [Read More]

» The 10/20/30 Rule of presentations from Blunt ID Blog - Pithy Commentary
Guy Kawasaki has a post on his blog about the 10/20/30 (10 slides/20 minutes/30 words) rule of good PowerPoint presentations. (Not the first time hes done this particular pitch but then again, Martin Luther King Jr. did a whole bunch of... [Read More]

» links for 2006-01-04 from Hermes
Resume of the guy who watched Tsunami (tags: Dogs Brooklyn Friends) Memorable Quotes from "Six Feet Under" (2001) (tags: tv Film) “Let the Good Times Roll” by Guy Kawasaki: The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint (tags: Design gtd leadership Speaking... [Read More]

» How to make power point presentations easy and understandable from YALD - Patrick Grote's Notes
An article making the rounds today discusses effective Power Point presentations for venture capitalists. It talks about a 10/20/30 rule of Power Point. It's an interesting article and one I am sure works with venture capitalists, but I've found some t... [Read More]

» BUNCH OF GREAT ADVICE ON ENTREPREURISM AND STARTING YOUR COMPANY from Junto Boyz
Sifting through bookmarks again. This time I came across a bunch of great posts on entrepreneurism, hiring, and advice on fundraising. If you're doing a startup now or thinking about building a new business and haven't read some of these posts, check t... [Read More]

» La Regla del 10/20/30 del Powerpoint from Alvaro Gregori, e-learning, formación on-line
Via OtroBlogMas. Guy Kawasaky es un maestro absoluto de la presentación. En este post habla de las presentaciones Powerpoint para la captación de Capital Riesgo, pero me da que es perfectamente aplicable a las presentaciones que se usan en docenci... [Read More]

» 10-20-30 PowerPoint Rule: Guy Kawasaki Gets It! from MasterViews Latest News
Guy Kawasaki, PowerPoint 10-20-30 rule it's all over the blogosphere, and deservedly so, as Guy really nails down some of the long time obstacles and myths about effective presentation design and delivery. What Guy Kawasaki advocates is nothing more th... [Read More]

» Guy Kawasaki, powerpoints and the 10/20/30 Rule from Canuckflack
Guy Kawasaki, who has now launched a blog, has some good advice for anyone considering a powerpoint presentation: ... I am trying to evangelize the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last n... [Read More]

» 10/20/30 Blues from AdPulp
Guy Kawasaki wants you to clean up your Power Point mess. As a venture capitalist, I have to listen to hundreds of entrepreneurs pitch their companies. Most of these pitches are crap: sixty slides about a “patent pending,” “first mover... [Read More]

» Weekly Round-Up December 30, updated Jan 2. from Exclusive Concepts' Internet Marketing Blog
If you're like me, it takes about 3 weeks to comfortably settle into a new year so that I'm not writing 2005 on my checks.... It will soon debut "Wow House" a reality series to be broadcast online and that's only the beginning of its original prog... [Read More]

» Weekly Round-Up December 30, updated Jan 2. from Exclusive Concepts' Internet Marketing Blog
If you're like me, it takes about 3 weeks to comfortably settle into a new year so that I'm not writing 2005 on my checks.... It will soon debut "Wow House" a reality series to be broadcast online and that's only the beginning of its original prog... [Read More]

» The 10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint from LUX.ET.UMBRA
I'm an entrepeneur racing after a dream of becoming a VC if I make it into the big leagues. And this was one of the most valuable resources that I ran across since this is exactly what I hate to... [Read More]

» 6 Smart Agency Rules for Winning Presentations from Influential Interactive Marketing
One of the best takeaways from the Ad-Tech conference a few weeks ago for me was a point Guy Kawasaki made in his very entertaining keynote presentation about his 10/20/30 rule for marketing revolutionaries on using powerpoint. 10 slides 20 [Read More]

» Saving us all from PowerPoint abuse from PR Works
Flying text, sound effects, animation and retina-burning colour combinations are included in PowerPoint presentations for one reason: because theyre there. In the interest of looking more professional, polished and creative, we... [Read More]

» Flagged Articles #5 from Random Thoughts
Ok, so Im way late with this. Ill blame CES Anyhow, here is my list of some interesting articles for the week ending December 31, 2005: Hugh Macleod works his magic - David Sifry. Good and Bad Procrastinators - Paul... [Read More]

» Presentation Hacks: How to improve Powerpoint Work from ff - Work things out!
Thought´s about presentation agendas. ... [Read More]

» 10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint from kpont.com
Guy Kawasaki makes a good case for The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. I am trying to evangelize the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font ... [Read More]

» 10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint from Ari Paparo Dot Com
Entrepreneurship guru Guy Kawasaki riffs on the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. No more than 10 slides No more than 20... [Read More]

» PowerPoint - The 10/20/30 Rule from BizImpresario
Guy Kawasaki's 10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint presentations [Read More]

» 谈谈PPT的分寸 from 一胖到底
550) {this.resized=true; this.width=550;}" onmouseover="if(this.resized) this.style.cursor='hand';" onclick="if(this.resized) window.ope... [Read More]

» Usando Powerpoint para saltar el gap experto - autor from Alvaro Gregori, e-learning, formación on-line
Cuando iniciamos el desarrollo de un contenido on-line siempre nos enfrentamos al mismo problema, el experto en el tema no suele saber nada de e-learning y nosotros sabemos aun menos sobre el tema del curso: el Gap Experto/Autor. El denostado Powerpoin... [Read More]

» Pr from Jean-Luc Raymond
[Read More]

» The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint from Comme si tu veux
via:Guy Kawasaki A PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. 1. Problem 2. Your solution 3. Business model 4. Underlying magic/technology 5. Marketin... [Read More]

» Preparing for the SharePoint Community Advancement Initiative from Lawrence Liu's Report from the Inside
Note to self: Remember to read Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint before preparing... [Read More]

» Let the Good Times Roll by Guy Kawasaki: The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint from The Gavel
Guy Kawasaki gives good advice in using the 10/20/30 Rule when using PowerPoint in a presentation. [Read More]

» How to use PowerPoint More Effectively Using the 10/20/30 Rule from The Gavel
Guy Kawasaki gives good advice in using the 10/20/30 Rule when using PowerPoint in a presentation. [Read More]

» Common icons for PowerPoint slides and presentation tips from Simon Thorneycroft and Jonathan Hodgson
When preparing a slide desk for a presentation I often look at other Microsoft talks and sometimes borrow... [Read More]

» PPT演示的10/20/30法则 from 网络猎奇
如果有人让你在准备演讲的PPT的时候只能用不小于30点的大字体,你是不是觉得他疯了?不过这正是风险投资家盖川崎(Guy Kawasaki)的建议。 Guy Kawasaki是个活跃的VC,之前曾是Apple的员工并创立过多家公司,现任风险投资公司Garage.com的CEO,而且写过多本畅销的商业书籍。...... [Read More]

» Why have I gotten myself into from jgmitchell.com
I'm starting to believe I chose the most boring degree to persue ever, business management. If it wasn't for Arthur Andersen screwing a bunch of companies up, there wouldn't be much to talk about in class and my textbooks would... [Read More]

» What have I gotten myself into from jgmitchell.com
I'm starting to believe I chose the most boring degree to persue ever, business management. If it wasn't for Arthur Andersen screwing a bunch of companies up, there wouldn't be much to talk about in class and my textbooks would... [Read More]

Comments

Although I've only seen a few pitch presentations, I would say that instead of making the rule 10 slides, make it 10 concepts, because sometimes you may want to have say 3 or 4 slides to convey a concept.

That and I've always been a huge fan of the Steve Jobs keynotes. :) Great Article. There are far to many bad presentations out there.

hello guy kawasaki this is AWESOME!!!

Have you ever seen Don McMillan's presentation on how to give a PowerPoint presentation? You can find him easily on YouTube. He's a former engineer and now a comedian. He makes good points on how to give a PowerPoint presentation, but in a funny way...

Very good post. I agree that PP presentations should be made as painless as possible

Make real money whith the most trusted online casino! Play real money online poker

This rule is really becoming famous. I read about the 10/20/30 rule in the printed version of German business magazine "Wirtschaftswoche" (kind of Business Weekly for German speaking countries).

They covered Powerpoint's 20th birthday and elaborated on Guy's advice in a separate text box (his name was mentioned)!

The stock has gained 150% from Oct 8, 2007 to Oct 22, 2007.
By the way check this company MDFI. Their stock is set to increase because of their association with Apple iphone and Complete Care Medical. Find more about this company and stock http://www.growurmoney.com/medefile/

Yikes, I think I have Ménière’s too!

Nice informative article. thanks for sharing and keep sharing such kind of articles, as these articles really helpful for experienced and new comers.
Directory

LOL. Entertaining post, but ultimately great advice on presenting. Being a designer of high-end PowerPoints for several years now, I can say that you are on to something here. It's true about font sizes...people forget when they are laying it out on their screen that the text will look tiny when viewed from a distance, even on a large screen. I especially liked the part about it taking 40 minutes to get a Windows laptop to work with the projector. :)

Lol, the PPT company...just doing executive presentations...

Pierluigi Rotundo

This was a great bit of advice..
to the point and precise.. and i thank you for the same..

Wonderfull.. you may have started a new company here..

Thanks

How can we apply the 10 20 30 rule to a business plan?

Just thinking...

Thanks for your time and energy. It's refreshing to see somone who is thoroughly excited.
Once again...thanks.

I suggest to bloggers such as yourself: please get to the point soonest. For example, "The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint: It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points." And then the 10 point list. The following text could have the rest, the clever chatter, and other details. There is so much to read these days, I wonder why people post two or three paragraphs of usually not-funny, not-interesting text. At least, I wonder this when I read info-type articles. I read your article for the info, which I liked, and thank you for it. Sorry for my own wordiness.

I agree...for this reason you need a great presenter, rather than a great presentation...

This regime makes presentations better. Thanks. Still, ppt is a monologue at core - unable to adjust to a welcome, hopefully, new idea-detour that could arise between slide 4 and 5 making 6,7...obsolete.

quotin...
Guy -

You recommend (in your book "The Art of the Start") that people only use dark colored backgrounds on PowerPoints. I was always told to only use LIGHT colored backgrounds so that meeting attendees could take notes on the printed presentation. Any thoughts on this?


dear kevin,
i always use a dark background presentation, but when i print it, i add a space with lines for notes:) it's the best way in my opinion!

quotin...
Nothing really important can be reduced to power-point.

Would Lincoln have put the Gettysberg Address on Power-Point?

Would Franklin Roosevelt have put anything he ever said in a Power-Point presentation?

Skip the power-point. Look me in the eye and tell me what you want to do. I can understand it without the C.B. DeMille special effects. If you can't explain it without the Power-Point, you don't understand what you want to do.


im my humble opinion, a Powerpoint presentation could help you pitch your idea 1000 times better than pages of business plans...

I tested it two days ago...it works!

Nice article. Also known as "Less is more"

1) By the way check this company Medefile International. They are the market leader in a $30 billion industry. This industry is starting just now, they have a lot of room to grow. They have teamed up to bring personal health records using Apple’s iphone. Their stock is going to hit through the roof. People who get in and purchase early will reap a truck load of money. Their stock symbol is MDFI.OB. Check it out.

2) By the way check this company MDFI. Their stock is going to hit the roof because of the recent announcements with bringing personal health information through iphone. Folks who get in now will see this stock price increase multiple times. Also check this Webpage where they have some more information about the stock http://www.growurmoney.com/medefile/

blog.theinvestmentmachine.com/guest-blogger.html

hyipblog.nobshyip.net

will_johnston.blogspot.com/2007/05/seeking-good

www.blogcatalog.com/post-tag/investment

www.fool.com

Have to say, you’re selling yourself short if you think this is only applicable to entrepreneurs and venture capital. I’m an academic (a catch-all term for someone who spends most of his time with his nose in a book and has very little chance of seeing the kind of money a successful entrepreneur would make), but the same basic principle apply, and they apply in an awful lot of situations. The most obvious of course is conference lectures. It is becoming more and more common (even in dusty disciplines like mine: literature) to utilize technology in a presentation, and all that you’ve said is true of a venture capitalist is also true of a conference audience. It’s also true, however, in print: particularly in terms of trying to sell yourself to a publisher. Finally, though some of my colleagues forget this, it is true of teaching. Students, whatever we choose to believe, can only digest so much information at a time, can only read print that is so small, and have short attention spans. So you are actually much wiser than you know, but I definitely like the easy formula you’ve created.

Nothing really important can be reduced to power-point.

Would Lincoln have put the Gettysberg Address on Power-Point?

Would Franklin Roosevelt have put anything he ever said in a Power-Point presentation?

Skip the power-point. Look me in the eye and tell me what you want to do. I can understand it without the C.B. DeMille special effects. If you can't explain it without the Power-Point, you don't understand what you want to do.

Guy -

You recommend (in your book "The Art of the Start") that people only use dark colored backgrounds on PowerPoints. I was always told to only use LIGHT colored backgrounds so that meeting attendees could take notes on the printed presentation. Any thoughts on this?

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Contact Me

  • bar.gif


VisualCV


Search this blog

Alltop

  • Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass

Advertising

Feed and Leads

Categories

Alignment of Interests

  • Alltop
    Stay on top of all the news topics.
  • BagTheWeb
    Find, bag, and share websites and articles.
  • Doba
    Drop-ship products for ecommerce sales.
  • Garage Technology Ventures
    Raise venture capital for your tech company.
  • Paper.li
    Publish social-media newspapers.
  • Statusnet
    Make an Open-Source Twitter for your organization.
  • Peerspin
    Pimp your MySpace pages.
  • Sixense
    Control your game like never before.
  • SocialToo
    Engage people at social media sites like Twitter.
  • StumbleUpon
    Find interesting stuff on the web.
  • TicketLeap
    Sell and manage online ticket sales for events.
  • Triggit
    Make real-time bids for online ad space.
  • DataSift
    Analyze big data from social media.
  • Tynt
    Trace who's using your website content.
  • uStream
    Stream video live.
  • Visible Measures
    Monitor how people interact with online video.
  • Writer.ly
    Find freelancers for book projects.
  • XAT
    Chat with people.

Optimization

  • quick sprout