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If You Learn This 10-20-30 Rule, Every Presentation You Give Will Be Excellent

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If You Learn This 10-20-30 Rule, Every Presentation You Give Will Be Excellent

Very few of us enjoy creating presentations. It requires hours of uncertain work poring over slide after slide, hoping to get our message across. The greatest fear is watching our audience grow bored, frustrated, or occasionally even asleep. The same energy we had when we explained our great idea to our best friend last night never quite seems to make it across when we are presenting to a room of acquaintances or strangers. After everything is said and done, hours of preparation are wasted as our audience stands up and leaves after our presentation, presumably with no one having gained any special insight or motivation.

However, there is a way to change all that. There is a rock-solid method for creating presentations that will cut right to the heart of your subject matter, engaging your audience and provoking feedback and interest for days to come.

The 10-20-30 Presentation Method

The 10-20-30 rule was proposed by Guy Kawasaki [1]. And it is simple like this:

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Your Presentation Should

  • Be no more than 10 pages in length,
  • Require no more than 20 minutes to deliver,
  • And have no font size less than 30pt on any slide page.

Seems simple enough, right? But when you break it down into its individual components, the genius behind the system becomes clear.

10 Pages, No More

Our natural tendency is to throw out every bit of information we might have on the subject we are presenting on, hoping that some part of it might resonate with our audience.

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This is a mistake, according to Chris Anderson of Harvard Business Review. His said most presentations fail specifically because of length:

“The biggest problem I see in first drafts of presentations is that they try to cover too much ground.” [2]

Instead, you should try to focus on one specific topic. Start with an introduction, support your focused topic with maybe 3 or 4 slides, add in a story that will illustrate a real-world application of your point, and close with a call to action.

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The 20-Minute Marathon

In 1996, Professors Joan Middendorf and Alan Kalish of the University of Indiana produced a paper studying college students attending lectures.[3]

They made two interesting discoveries. First, adults seem to be able to only pay attention during a lecture for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Secondly, during a 50-minute class period, students did not retain the information imparted to them most recently. They had better retention of the concepts and facts presented during the first 20 minutes of the lecture.

So make sure your presentation would not exceed 20 minutes! Otherwise no one would be really listening after the 20 minutes.

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30 Points to Success

Since we, as humans, respond so well to visual stimuli, one of the best ways to do that is to use large, easy-to-read text on your slides. So make sure the font size you’re using is at least 30.

Instead of endless lines of text, use a few words in a large, easy-to-read font supported by visual aids such as graphs, illustrations, and even photos that support the topic of your presentation.

The Perfect Presentation Is In Your Hands!

Using the 10/20/30 rule will give you complete control over your subject and your audience. The ability to engage your audience while they are still awake and interested is not to be underestimated. Your audience members will be talking about your presentation for days to come. Use this simple rule, and watch your engagement and feedback skyrocket!

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Featured image credit: Gregor CresnarFreepik and Madebyoliver

Reference

More by this author

Jeremy C. Schofield

Independent Writer

If You Learn This 10-20-30 Rule, Every Presentation You Give Will Be Excellent
If You Learn This 10-20-30 Rule, Every Presentation You Give Will Be Excellent

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