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10/20/30 Rule for Powerpoint
pokemon
unwiredben
I love reading Guy Kawasaki; his books on being a Macintosh evangelist and winning over customers are some of my favorite technology business reading, and I hope to use his techniques to help make people as excited as I am about my secret project when the day comes that it's not secret.

I saw Guy present at the PalmSource show in 2004. It was a really funny talk about what we learned from the dot com bust. One of his big things is doing top-ten lists in presentations. They're fun, they have a natural structure, and you don't end up reading off the slides but talking about what each slide means. Guy's got a blog now, and this post gives his tips about doing an effective PowerPoint presentation. The 10/20/30 comes from his main points:

10: no more than ten slides
20: present the whole thing in twenty minutes
30: use 30 point or larger type to keep yourself concise

I think this is very good advice for most kinds of presentations, although you may want to be sure you provide a way to give your audience more supporting information outside of the presentation if they're interested.

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If you *must* use PPoint, then those are basic needs. But if at all possible, avoid it like the plague. My experiences with Nortel, Kinko's Corporate, MCI and others have given me a deep loathing of the format.

It makes me want to paraphrase Bierce's definition of a lecture: A PowerPoint presentation is a method for information to pass from the presenter to the audience without going through the minds of either.

There are rare exceptions, I will grant you. But even when the presenter does a useful presentation, the audience has not been required to do the work needed for good comprehension. A PowerPoint is a sales pitch, not a learning tool, and is misused far too often.

Ok, sorry, I'll get off my soapbox. I just had terrible flashbacks to Nortel, and being required by my clueless manager to reduce all my brilliant work to vomit on slides.

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