Kill Your Darlings: The Perfect Pitch Deck Needs Only 10 Slides
Ten points lead to perfection …or do they?
Short and sweet—the perfect mantra for so many things in life. But as marketers and business owners, it’s not always easy to stick to; especially when you’re trying to convince a prospect to buy your product, hire your company, or invest in your dreams. If you’ve ever used PowerPoint to make a presentation, it’s likely you’ve struggled with the decision of how much information should be included. But ever since well-known author and blogger Guy Kawasaki created the 10/20/30 rule, many business people have adopted and continue to sing its praises. Is it time for you to adopt this mantra?
The 10/20/30 Rule
According to Kawasaki’s rule, which was popular with Steve Jobs, all PowerPoint presentations should follow a specific slide content structure.
No PowerPoint presentation should have more than 10 slides. Kawasaki’s reasoning is that no human can (or at least really wants to) comprehend any more than 10 concepts per meeting. If you want to capture your audience’s attention and actually keep them engaged, you should have 10 slides. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for funding or launching a new product, the steadfast rule is that the big 1-0 is the optimal number.
We’ve all sat through the PowerPoint presentations that drone on and on causing you to count the dots in the ceiling tiles, so it doesn’t take much head scratching to understand the importance of keeping your pitch short. Twenty minutes is just long enough to get your points across and allow for a question and answer period.
30-point font size
For a rule all about brevity, a 30-point font size seems huge! But the reasons for using a larger letter size are powerful. Using a bigger typeface will force you to include only the most important points in your presentation—preventing you from boring your audience into a coma. You want your audience to pay attention; if you’re jamming a million concepts onto each slide, no one will be able to digest all that you are dishing out at them. Thirty points is bold enough to make you stay brief and focused. And when your slides feature just one or two big words, everyone in the room can see it, even the guy in the 50th row.
You can cheat a little (we won’t tell)
Although it’s a simple concept and seems doable, there are those of us out there who like to break rules, test limits, and push the envelope. When it comes to creating a winning pitch, you may find that this rule doesn’t fit …and that’s cool. The most important thing to get out of Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule is that keeping your pitch short, sweet, and direct is key—so even if you have 15 slides or talk for 30 minutes, your goal should always be to focus the most salient points and feature only one concept on each slide. Keep that font size big and consider using big pictures with just one or two words (check out Steve Job’s keynote presentation at MacWorld 2007).
When you’re creating a PowerPoint presentation, the most important thing to remember is that your slides should support what you’re saying—they shouldn’t be a word-for-word cheat sheet that you read to your audience.
And remember, if you need a powerful presentation or compelling content, we can help. The Content Bacon team is comprised of storytellers, branding and marketing veterans, designers and writers that create winning content for our clients. Get in touch with us today!
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