When you have an important presentation deck to make—and present—do you want to say all there is to know and impress the viewers with the depth of your research and knowledge on the subject?
In your desire to make a good showing, did you weigh your deck down with text and graphs and lopsided thinking made to look legit?
There is a much better way and there always has been. It’s not about the deck, it’s about you. Are you ready and willing to condense all that you have to say into a format that people can hear, see, and act on?
Or, are you stuck assuming that people care as much as you do?
The 10/20/30 Rule
In 2005, Guy Kawasaki outlined his presentation deck style.
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.
I’m glad he did because I’ve been relying on this thinking to one degree or another ever since.
Today’s Update: Rishad’s Nine Slides
Rishad Tobaccowala is a brilliant man and an excellent communicator. I look forward to his weekly newsletter (which puts him in a company of one). His topics are informative and instructive. Today, he sent a new newsletter that outlines how to make better presentation decks.
Hint: Limit yourself to just nine slides.
Rishad also offers valuable insights into the fabrication of his nine-slide decks.
Slide 8 is the Desired Action slide which highlights what you want to get from the meeting/ have the person you are presenting to act on.
This is the first slide that you fill in since this is what the point of the meeting you are having is.
Then the focus of your work is slide 4, 5 and 6 which you may want to label Insights, Ideas, Imagination. What insights about customer, consumer, marketplace, competition will you be sharing that get your audience to THINK differently? What one two or three big ideas are you delivering that will make their customers or consumers SEE them differently? What provocations, perspectives, points of view are you communicating that will get your audience to FEEL differently about their business, their future or you?
The goal of slide 4, 5 and 6 is to make sure you get the action you are looking for on slide 8.
Whether your deck has nine, 10, or some other number of pages, the point is to get to the point and to do so in a way that invites conversation. Next time, ask yourself the following questions.
- Does your presentation leave room for wonder, for curiosity, and for questions?
- Is your deck free of jargon?
- Have you put the graphs and data in the appendix?
We all know how badly you want to say more.
We’ve also heard the excuses that the deck will be shared internally minus the power of the presenter. That may be the case, but such sharing is not productive. You’re either able to hear directly from the presenter (live or recorded) or you’re not. A slide deck that’s built as a visual outline to help facilitate the meeting will never be the same when it’s not presented.