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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

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!

Featured image credit: Gregor CresnarFreepik and Madebyoliver

Reference

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Jeremy C. Schofield

Independent Writer

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

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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