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Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule of Presentation: Is It Still Relevant?

PowerPoint is a superb presentation tool, which, when used properly, can be an effective visual aid for professional speakers. However, at the hands of inexperienced presenters who have no eye for design, it can pave the way for jarring and unattractive slides. Sad to say, the world of business is teeming with mediocre pitch decks that just don’t do justice to the ability of PowerPoint as a great design tool. Luckily, there are people like Canva Chief Evangelist Guy Kawasaki, who can show the noobs how it should be done.

Kawasaki advocated the 10-20-30 Rule of PowerPoint, which banks on the idea that a presentation “should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.” Although Kawasaki originally meant it to be for entrepreneurs and startup business owners, this principle applies to all types of presentations. By following this guide, you can avoid basic design mistakes and ultimately stand out from the vast sea of lackluster presentations.

Why the 10-20-30 Rule Is Still Relevant Today

Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule is now more than a decade old—which, we can all agree, is a long time for any virtual rule to last, what with the constant and almost abrupt changes that technology makes. Although PowerPoint is still the most recognizable presentation design software in recent history, it’s no longer the only one in the book. A number of competitors have emerged, and they all have something relevant to offer. Apart from that, the way people use PowerPoint has also changed over time. What was invaluable ten years ago may not be as important today.

Now, this begs the question, “Does the 10-20-30 Rule still apply?” The answer to this is short and clear: YES. Here’s why.

1. Presenters still cram several ideas into one pitch deck

You’d think a lot would have changed in a decade. Well, in the case of slide design, nothing much has improved. Don’t get this wrong—agencies specializing in presentation design have emerged over the years, and they have indeed elevated the landscape. It’s the individual presenters who have not fully maximized the use of PowerPoint that still make the same mistakes. Despite professionals strongly advising against it, some presenters still cram multiple ideas into one pitch deck. They don’t even bother to filter out the unnecessary stuff and keep only the crucial points.

When Kawasaki first proposed the 10-20-30 Rule, he also suggested ten topics for the ten slides: the problem, the solution, the business model, the underlying technology, sales and marketing, the competition, the team, projections and milestones, status and timeline, and summary and call to action.

So, instead of filling each slide with unnecessary text, why not try to identify your salient points first and then make an outline based on them? Use as little text as possible to avoid overwhelming your audience with a barrage of ideas. If a slide isn’t necessary, do away with it. Remember, you are the star of your presentation, not the pitch deck or anything else. Make sure that all focus remains on you.

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2. People’s attention span is getting shorter

We’re in the age of social media, where the best content is short and fast, and people appreciate things that don’t take much of their time. Attention spans have become relatively shorter, to the point that people are growing more impatient and expectant—a combination that is hard to satisfy. This is why when delivering a presentation, you should always be considerate of your audience’s time and level of interest. Even if you’re given an hour to present, prepare for a speech that doesn’t last longer than twenty minutes. You can use the extra time for setting up your equipment or holding a Q&A session.

“But I have something extremely important to say!” you may argue. Well, that doesn’t give you any reason to go beyond the suggested time frame. Look at the universally-renowned TED talks for example. Speakers are expected to deliver their speeches in eighteen minutes or less, and that doesn’t stop them from communicating brilliant ideas that are worth sharing. If you have an imposed time constraint, you’ll be forced to edit your speech meticulously until it’s down to the bare necessities. Trim down all the unnecessary stuff so that you can put the essentials in the spotlight.

3. Readability is a crucial factor that’s still being sidelined

The number one rule of presentations is simple: The audience is the boss. Wherever you are in the presentation process, you should always put the audience at the forefront of your mind. For instance, what the people at the front row sees should be seen clearly by those in the back row as well. Optimize the font size of your text to accommodate all of your viewers. When you see people squinting at your slide, take the hint that something’s not right.

Another reason why the thirty-point-font rule should still be reinforced today is that it encourages you to limit the number of words you can put in each slide. As much as possible, don’t overload your slides with information. Remember that your goal is not to bombard your audience with ideas but to present them a few that can change their lives for the better.

Is the 10-20-30 Rule Absolute?

Kawasaki didn’t mean for the 10-20-30 Rule to be followed religiously by all business presenters. Instead, he set it as a guideline for people who want to improve their pitch decks, and consequently, their presentations. The fact remains that each situation is unique, so there’s no hard-and-fast rule that applies to all.

Instead of asking how many slides you should have, ask how many you need. Also, instead of going with the twenty-minute rule, why not apply the one-third rule, which suggests that the length of your speech should be one-third of the time you’re given? That is, after all, the original idea that Kawasaki proposed. Lastly, you can bend the thirty-point-font rule without breaking it. It’s only the minimum font size recommended, so you can go higher as the number of words you use per slide decreases. Ultimately, you should consider the needs of your audience instead of mindlessly jumping on the bandwagon. What works for one may not always work for you.

Twelve years later and Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule is still as effective as ever. If every presenter applies these three timeless guidelines, the landscape of presentation design will be infinitely better.

Resources:

Dlugan, Andrew. “The 10-20-30 Rule: Guy Kawasaki on PowerPoint.” Six Minutes. June 10, 2010. sixminutes.dlugan.com/10-20-30-rule-guy-kawasaki-powerpoint

Jonson, Laura. “The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint: Does It Still Work?” SlideShare. January 13, 2016. blog.slideshare.net/2016/01/13/the-102030-rule-of-powerpoint-does-it-still-work

Kawasaki, Guy. “The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” Guy Kawasaki. December 30, 2005. guykawasaki.com/the_102030_rule

“Follow the 10-20-30 Rule for a Perfect PowerPoint Presentation.” Presentation Load. October 17, 2013. blog.presentationload.com/follow-10-20-30-rule-perfect-powerpoint-presentation

Bullet Points and Why They Matter to Your Presentation

Many articles online provide profound insights on how to charm your audience, retain attention when speaking in public, or create the best presentation for the right purpose. And for the most part, there have been similarities that can be seen in almost every piece. One of the many from presentation experts is: “Don’t ever use bullet points. You don’t need them.”

What warranted the general avoidance? Is it because it’s primarily considered the reason for death by PowerPoint (DbP)? If you consider bullet upon bullet in different slides, then sure, you can call the whole thing as walls of text. Given that humans favor the visual over the textual, audiences will be bored by all the reading.

But did you know “death by bullet points” exists? Symptomatic, not synonymous, to DbP, overuse and misuse of bullet points have always been every audience member’s nightmare. And it has happened more than once, much to the annoyance of the crowd. Does that mean that bullet points should be avoided?

Not necessarily. Bullet points are useful in specific situations, and in the proper context, they’re your best tool. Here are a few reasons why they matter.

Optical Break Bullet Points

Optical Break

Reading can be strenuous for the eyes, especially when you have a big block of text in one slide. While seeing this word wall can be intimidating for some, others would just outright not read it. Those who attempt will find themselves blinking more since their eyes dry out from, unsurprisingly, not blinking (because they’re reading).

Bullet points put line breaks on long passages, not just with the negative space from the background but also with clear markers on where a specific item begins and ends. Shorter bits of text are more welcome since they’re easier to understand, digest, and remember. Any form of relaxation is pleasant for your eyes.

Organizing information | Bullet Points

Organized Information

In the same way that your eyes need a break, your brain also needs a breather when trying to comprehend a long paragraph—much less a lengthy sentence. This is where bullet points shine.

Dissect the text, then separate and summarize the main points. Those summations can then be what you can put on your bullets. That brevity is already a big plus; how much more if they’re fascinating?

Think of bullet points as the “too long; didn’t read” (TL;DR) version, the abridged edition, of your long paragraph. By bulleting the main points, you can shorten a sixty-word section to merely a fraction of that, saving your audience’s time. Plus, they get to listen to you more.

Overall readability | Bullet Points

Overall Readability

Which would you rather see: a big block of words or a bulleted list? Which of the two is cleaner and easier on the eyes and is therefore more readable? Most, if not all, would say the latter, especially when the layout is planned properly. With the former, you risk instances of misreading since there are too many words and lines all bunched up in one place.

Keep your slides neat and tidy by having few words—and relatively fewer bullet points—in them. Prevalent enough is the 6×6 rule, stating that you should have no more than six bullets with six or fewer words each in a slide. There’s also the “three words and four bullets per slide” rule.

The Last Bullet Point

There’s a reason why bullet points are overused, and consequently are now being mistreated for it. Just like the Comic Sans fiasco, most people are tired of seeing bullets in almost every presentation they attend. However, that’s not a reason to ignore and neglect the importance and benefits of using this tool.

Of course, you should always exercise moderation; there is such a thing as death by bullet points. A good way to avoid that is by not overloading your slides with bullets, which can be just as bad as a wall of text. In short, know when and when not to use them.

Your slides are your visual aid, so making them clean is on you—and for your audience.

Resources:

Bruce, Robert. “8 Quick Tips for Writing Bullet Points People Actually Want to Read.” Copyblogger. February 7, 2012. www.copyblogger.com/writing-bullet-points

Clark, Brian. “Little Known Ways to Write Fascinating Bullet Points.” Copyblogger. October 23, 2006. www.copyblogger.com/little-known-ways-to-write-fascinating-bullet-points

Crerar, Paula. “PowerPoint Bullet Points: Do We Need Them?” Brainshark. January 24, 2012. www.brainshark.com/ideas-blog/2012/January/powerpoint-bullet-points-do-we-need-them

Paradi, Dave. “How to Write Powerful Bullet Points.” Think Outside the Slide. n.d. www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/how-to-write-powerful-bullet-points

“10 Ways to Avoid Death by Bullet Points.” Presentitude. March 4, 2015. www.presentitude.com/10-ways-avoid-death-bullet-points

“Comic Sans: Why All the Hate?” Snapily. January 8, 2013. www.snapily.com/blog/comic-sans-why-all-the-hate

The Don’ts to Hosting an Excellent Webinar

Isn’t it great to venture back to the time when seminars were held in a large place, audience members lined up to enter and get a good seat, with the speaker in the same building, talking straight to them? Given today’s hustle-and-bustle way of life, it’s already difficult to host a seminar, much less get people to attend. Technology, though, has a solution: a web seminar or webinar.

Since its start in May 1996 with NetMeeting, the webinar has evolved. It’s no surprise that it’s now considered as one of the best marketing tactics around. You reach and engage your audience even in remote areas. More options are now available to the host that make it easy to pull off.

However, if you think it’s that simple to host a webinar, then you’re mistaken. There are a lot of bad things you can do to fail, like the following. These shortcomings will guarantee you a bad and poorly presented webinar, so it would be prudent to avoid these.

Avoiding Three Basic Flops to Host a Great Webinar | No Internet Connection

Not Checking Connection

It’s a commonly known fact that webinars are done online—the Internet connecting hundreds to thousands of people from different corners of the globe to a single spot. While the number of attendees doesn’t do much to hamper the flow of the web presentation, your connection to the world wide web may and will be compromised quickly since you’re consuming a great chunk of bandwidth with video and audio streaming.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to secure a strong and stable Internet connection, or at least be aware of what can happen when your connectivity is weak and cannot handle something as demanding as a webinar. You know how YouTube videos suddenly stop playing to buffer and load? Don’t let your audiences experience that.

But what if there was an unforeseen emergency? A backup ISP is usually the best answer. The times when technology will fail you may be hard to predict, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare contingency plans.

Avoiding Three Basic Flops to Host a Great Webinar | Outdated Equipment

Skimping on the Hardware

Don’t underestimate a webinar’s demand for hardware. If YouTubers and streamers need hundreds of dollars for specialized equipment, expect to shell out the same amount just to get the gears rolling.

First off, you’re going to need a webinar platform. There are good subscription services for this. Next, you need a computer capable of multitasking, since you’d be running a lot of programs (platform and presentation, among others) simultaneously. Then, as above, a good ISP and a heavy-duty modem/router with matching bandwidth. Lastly, the bunch purchase of high-quality webcam, speakers, and microphone. Those preinstalled on laptops are often not good enough; rather, you want those specialized ones that may be a bit costly but are worth it.

Once more with the backup plans, you’d want extras as well. If that means another platform, computer, and extra accessories, then so be it. At least you’re prepared when any one of those fails at the last minute.

Avoiding Three Basic Flops to Host a Great Webinar | PowerPoint Animations

Being Reckless with PowerPoint Animations

Of course, you’re expected to have a beautifully designed presentation deck. You, a presentation designer, or a presentation design agency should take care of that. However, don’t get overzealous with how you craft your presentation pitch deck.

The basics, such as using less text to make way for powerful images and making font sizes larger, among others, should still be followed. There is no excuse for shirking away from the essentials. But present in PowerPoint, and absent in normal images or infographics, are animations that display specific elements with a nifty twist. Even a normal presentation shies away from too much object movement.

But should a webinar avoid it too? Not really, but there are more considerations. For one, animations seldom go smoothly online since there are circumstances out of your control. Your animations may show up nicely on your end, but your audiences may experience “jumpiness” on theirs.

Instead, only use animation on objects that really need it: a point you need to emphasize instantly or to show progression or any sort of movement that will arrest attention. The lesser your PowerPoint animations are, the better. In the same way that too much effects can break your deck, webinars can also be more conducive to learning with minimal special effects.

Conclusion

Don’t even attempt these gross neglects of basic steps. Presentation technology may have made life easier to live in, but it will be useless without a decent amount of human effort to operate it.

Hosting a webinar with slides is simpler now, with the Internet carrying the burden of many menial tasks, but that doesn’t mean you can just be willy-nilly about it. Without a solid plan, you’re bound to fail. Take the time to prepare. Then wow your audience with an unforgettable web seminar. Leave them wanting for more.

Resources:

Agron, Mike. “Ultimate Planning Checklist for Successful Webinars.” Content Marketing Institute. May 13, 2016. www.contentmarketinginstitute.com/2016/05/planning-checklist-webinars

Courville, Roger. “3 Reasons PowerPoint Animations May Suck in Your Webinar (and What to Do About It).” EventBuilder. February 13, 2013. www.eventbuilder.rocks/3-reasons-powerpoint-animations-may-suck-in-your-webinar-and-what-to-do-about-it

Majumdar, Arunima. “14 Tips to Create and Present a Highly Effective Webinar.” eLearning Industry. February 20, 2014. www.elearningindustry.com/14-tips-to-create-and-present-a-highly-effective-webinar

Shelley, Brian. “11 Steps to Make Sure Your Next Webinar Is a Total Flop.” HubSpot. February 7, 2013. blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/34149/11-Steps-to-Make-Sure-Your-Next-Webinar-Is-a-Total-Flop.aspx

Shewan, Dan. “How to Do a Webinar Your Audience Will Love.” WordStream. March 16, 2016. www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/08/26/how-to-do-a-webinar

Sibley, Amanda. “10 Things That Take a Webinar from Good to Great.” HubSpot. January 3, 2014. blog.hubspot.com/marketing/webinar-planning-list

Skrivanko, Mary Ann. “Webinars – History and Trends.” InsiderHub. June 30, 2015. www.insiderhub.com/webinars-history-and-trends

Wasielewski, Jarek. “Top 4 Do’s and Don’ts of Webinars.” ClickMeeting. October 1, 2014. blog.clickmeeting.com/topdos-donts-webinars

Proofreading: How Important Is It for PowerPoint Presentations?

When reading, isn’t it bothersome to see a typographical error that distracts you from peacefully enjoying the piece? There’s the nagging feeling that “teh” should be “the,” that “your” should be “you’re,” or that “should of” is completely wrong. If tenses are all over the place or the subject-verb agreement isn’t correct, then that impression of the mistake gives way to disappointment and silent rage. Typos are distracting, to say the least.

To curb typographical errors, the responsibility of proofreading content falls squarely upon your shoulders. Be it a blog post, a book waiting to be published, or even a social media update, any piece of content should be proofread before publishing and publicizing, lest you be subject to the anger-inciting asterisk.

“But wait,” you may probably say. “What’s the difference between proofreading and editing? And there’s revision, too.” It’s time to contrast.

Revising vs. Editing vs. Proofreading

Revising entails the “re-visioning” of the whole piece; you gauge and, if ever, change how you approach your topic. Some of the main questions you need to consider when revising are, “Did the last draft fail to answer important questions, and does the recent one succeed?” and “Is the argument clear and understandable?”

Editing is done so that the whole piece is coherent and unified. You check the flow from one sentence to another and the logic from one paragraph to the next to discern whether the transitions are clear and smooth. If not, then rearrange paragraphs, rewrite sentences, and make the according edits.

Proofreading, the lightest of the three, is where you look for misspelled words, misused punctuation marks, and improper verb tenses and subject-verb agreements to fix them. This is the last step you should do before posting your content.

You must also check your PowerPoint presentation to ensure it doesn’t have any errors (and if it does, edit). Other than showing that you took the time to perfect your slide, it also implies the following notions:

Clarity

Apart from the fact that typographical errors and grammatical mistakes are distracting (diverting your reader’s attention to the typo itself), they take focus away from the message of your presentation in PowerPoint. There are more possible misinterpretations of a line missing a word, a missing letter crucial to the intended definition of the word (think “pubic” instead of “public”), or inconsistent tenses.

While it may be said that the human mind internally corrects the mistake, it’s still an unnecessary mental activity for the reader. Instead of focusing on and absorbing your piece, they’re looking out for mistakes just to satisfy the feeling that what they’re reading is clean and error-free—if they even decide to keep reading your piece.

Instead of muddling and muffling your piece’s flow of information because of errors, make sure your copy is clean and polished. Take the time to think about how your audience reads your article. When you see a typo, correct it right away.

Professionalism

Often, if you read content rife with grammatical and typographical errors, your judgment on it is, “This must have been done by an amateur.” Contrast that with well-proofread copies, and the stigma of unprofessionalism is gone.

Careless mistakes are always a show of unprofessionalism. It can imply that you weren’t fully prepared with your slides or that you crammed your PowerPoint presentation. It can mean that you never bothered to check for mistakes after your first draft or that you didn’t organize everything effectively and efficiently.

This is why there is a practice in any printed publication to correct any factual or typographical errors that made it past layers of editing, albeit in the next edition. Unfortunately, this doesn’t hold as true for digital copies even though editing them is easier to do. Make sure you don’t fall into the same trap.

Consistency

Which do you go for: “toward” or “towards”? “Color” or “colour”? If you’re not careful, you might end up using two kinds of English in a single piece.

Having a consistent voice and tone is a must, if not for regional differences then for establishing yourself as a proficient English speaker and communicator. If you use American English, then keep it that way throughout your piece; if you’re going for British, then make your spelling and idiom use consistent. It may sound traditionalist, but there are critics of this kind of inconsistency. Plus, it helps define your target market without alienating the other party.

All in all, keep your content error-free. It’s a secret to crafting great copies. Even in school, you were trained to submit perfect essays and reports since having typos usually meant markdowns. It’s the same when it comes to business, only with far-reaching consequences. When you’re in front of a crowd whose decision could shape your life and/or career, you wouldn’t want to risk making the kind of mistake.

Writers live by a general rule, and it’s a good exercise of their English and organizational skills. “Write in white heat; revise/edit in cold blood.” Any word work you do falls under this rule. There are no exceptions. Not even your slides. The task of proofreading falls upon you, the content creator, and definitely not a PowerPoint presentation designer.

Resources:

Scocco, Daniel. “The Impotence of Proofreading.” Daily Writing Tips. n.d. www.dailywritingtips.com/the-impotence-of-proofreading

Wasielewski, Jarek. “The Importance of Proofreading Your Webinar.” Webinar Tips Blog. September 25, 2015. blog.clickmeeting.com/the-importance-of-proofreading-your-webinar

Wright, Catharine. “Revision, Editing and Proofreading: What’s the Difference?” Peer Writing Tutors & FYS Mentors. February 14, 2011. sites.middlebury.edu/peer_writing_tutors/2011/02/14/revision-editing-and-proofreading-what%E2%80%99s-the-difference

Wroblewski, M.T. “The Importance of Proofreading in the Workforce.” Chron. n.d. smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-proofreading-workforce-36110.html

Zimmer, John. “Five Typographical Errors to Avoid on Your Slides.” Manner of Speaking. November 6, 2010. www.mannerofspeaking.org/2010/11/06/five-typographical-errors-to-avoid-on-your-slides

“How Proofreading Services Can Make Your Next Presentation a Success.” Re:word. n.d. www.reword.ca/how-proofreading-services-can-make-your-next-presentation-a-success

Looking Back on the Birth of PowerPoint

It’s hard to imagine life without the comforts of modern technology that people know today: smartphones, 24/7 Internet access, computers that basically provide anything and everything with the push of a few buttons, and the like. Now, you’d think that innovation is an everyday occurrence, but that wasn’t the case in the mid-1900s, especially for businesses.

Back in the early 60s, Roger Appeldorn invented the first overhead projector. It had a simple principle of using light reflected upon mirrors to display data printed on transparencies (a.k.a. foil or viewgraph), paper-sized sheets of cellophane. The bulky instrument became a mainstay in meeting rooms, but the processes to create one sheet of transparency were tedious and time-consuming (inkjet printing was still a new thing). If not printed, then presenters would handwrite data to be projected on the transparencies. That is, until the 90s. What happened?

Microsoft PowerPoint happened.

Its revolutionary and innovative approach to creating presentations gave it an edge over its more than thirty competitors. Its timing with the booms of both the Apple and Windows operating systems—primitive as they were—cemented its growth. And its fundamental function hosted other uses it wasn’t intended for, like classroom operations and simple public speaking exercises (and not-so-simple ones like the TED Talks). Yes, it’s that flexible.

Today, PowerPoint is at its latest version: PowerPoint 2016, as part of the Microsoft bundle Office 2016. More than two decades since the first version was published, PowerPoint is at its prime—with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Although it has seen its share of competitors, the presentation designer software remains as strong as ever, if not stronger.

So how did this juggernaut of a program come to fruition? How about a teaser? For starters, did you know that PowerPoint didn’t start as an internal project of Microsoft? The following infographic will take you through decades across the technological history to the go-to presentation software that is—and will always be—Microsoft PowerPoint.

Resources:

Akanegbu, Anuli. “Vision of Learning: A History of Classroom Projectors.” EdTech Magazine. February 28, 2013. www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2013/02/vision-learning-history-classroom-projectors

“Life Before the Web – Running a Startup in the 1980’s.” The Zamzar Blog. July 13, 2016. blog.zamzar.com/2016/07/13/life-before-the-web-running-a-startup-in-the-1980s

Black Cats of PowerPoint Presentations

Sometimes, in the middle of reviewing a PowerPoint presentation, there comes the anxiety wherein people ask themselves if the slides are enough or overdone. Some even come to a point where they struggle critiquing their work because they spent too much time on it. After so much time and effort, you may wonder if you’ve been efficient or just wasteful.

If, at the end of the day, despite all efforts to make a great presentation, it still doesn’t feel right to say it’s a job well done, here are some signs to help you make that call.

Black Cats of PowerPoint Presentations: clown juggling

Unlucky 7

In rare cases, presentation taboos may be excused when necessary but international speaker and presentation skills expert, John Zimmer, says having too many bullets and texts make no sense when crafting a pitch.

According to him, PowerPoint presentations that follow the 1-7-7 rule, or slides that consist one heading, seven bullets, and seven words, promise boredom and apathy on the part of the audience. Same point goes for the 1-6-6 rule.

Avoid this by using fewer bullet points. When used sparingly, bullets can be effective to communicate ideas and points because they offer convenience to the audience. Bullets help save more time and space to allocate new information. Too many of them, however, does the opposite of that value.

Minimize your use of words. Use communicative graphics and pictures that can replace texts. It’s best to do this in slides that contain messages that you would like your audience to remember.

In this case, the 4-by-5 rule might just be right for your presentation. Unless you’re enumerating from a list, then four bullets and five words are ideal to keep your presentation informative and snappy.

Black Cats of PowerPoint Presentations: reaper

The Scripture

One way to know if something isn’t easy to understand is when you read it repeatedly. There are several reasons why this happens. Usually, it means you’re having an idle moment or your phrases or sentences need to be simplified.

When reading, experts say an average person renders 50 – 300 WPM (words per minute). However, when reading technical content, the statistics go down to 50 – 75 WPM.

Sometimes, slides look like pages of ancient text, which contain too much information and take more time to read compared to the normal ones. When comprehending a script, use simpler but appropriate words and sentences to lessen the reader’s strain and lag. If you can’t process your messages easily, then how can you expect your readers to do so? Only use words with deeper meaning when necessary.

Pause after a certain amount of words to give time for them to absorb everything.

Also, speaking from an active voice welcomes a continuous reading process. Use present or passive tenses instead of progressive tenses. They’re easier to read and make ideas seem more simple.

Lastly, though it’s advised to keep one thought in one slide, you can opt to break your sentences in the middle and proceed to the next. Maintain the dominance of the white background. It also pays to maintain a breathing room for your eyes.

Black Cats of PowerPoint Presentations: fortune teller

Magic Decks

When you present a deck with numerous slides in a considerably long time, do you wonder if your audience recall everything?

A research conducted in 2012 by cognitive neuroscientist, Dr. Carmen Simon, examined how many slides people can remember from a text-only, standalone PowerPoint presentation. After 48 hours, results showed that 1,500 participants remembered an average of four slides out of the presented 20.

The study revealed that visuals played a significant role in keeping the slides memorable. It was also found that similar-looking slides are easier to remember. The distinctiveness of every other fifth slide in Simon’s presentation were significant help as well.

Marks help remember. Use pictures or designs not only to illustrate, but also to keep slides more interesting and easier to recall. It’s best to use them strategically. Use markings on slides that need more emphasis.

Conclusion

Your deck doesn’t have to be all-telling. You can just make books if that’s the case. A good deck must contain all significant points and ideas for the presenter to collaboratively explain with. In a PowerPoint presentation full of information, points become harder to highlight. Use words sparingly so that your audience would actually pay attention to your content.

Be strategic when creating your slides to make them more engaging. When making presentations, discover ways to be more conscious on your creative and communicative processes. It pays to understand your audience’s interests with regards to these aspects.

Lastly, know that sometimes, complex solutions only solve basic problems. Before you start with another PowerPoint presentation, invest your time in getting to know more about creating effective presentations. This way, you end up creating your presentation in a lesser hassle pace and with more peace of mind.

Resources:

Zimmer, John. “PowerPoint Math: The 1-6-6 Rule. Manner of Speaking.” Manner of Speaking. www.mannerofspeaking.org/2010/03/04/powerpoint-math-the-1-6-6-rule

Simon, Carmen. “The Results Are In: How Much Do People Really Remember from PowerPoint Presentations?” Brainshark. February 12, 2013. www.brainshark.com/ideas-blog/2013/February/results-what-people-remember-powerpoint-presentations

Nelson, Brett. “Do You Read Fast Enough To Be Successful?” Forbes. June 4, 2012 www.forbes.com/sites/brettnelson/2012/06/04/do-you-read-fast-enough-to-be-successful/#5d9d3eca58f7

Thomas, Mark. “What Is the Average Reading Speed and the Best Rate of Reading?” Health Guidance. www.healthguidance.org/entry/13263/1/What-Is-the-Average-Reading-Speed-and-the-Best-Rate-of-Reading.html

5 Effective PowerPoint Delivery Methods for Presentations

Most presenters barely notice what particular presentation technique they’re using whenever they take the stage. This is because they’re not fully aware of how it could influence both their performance and their audience. When you prepare your pitch, decide whether you want to use a fast-paced approach or spend more time discussing your main points.

This provides a guide for organizing your ideas and translating them to your slides. While there are many presentation styles which work best for different speakers, there are also PowerPoint delivery methods that they can use to optimize their slides. Here, we’ll define some techniques introduced and practiced by popular presenters:

The Takahashi Method

Named after Masoyoshi Takahashi, this approach relies heavily on keywords with one main point placed per slide. Instead of using images, bullet points, or other visual elements, words are used as visuals.

This method requires many slides (depending on your content) since each one only has a few words displayed. Applying this method encourages your audience to pay more attention to you as the speaker, since you are the one explaining what’s projected on-screen.

The Kawasaki Method

Named after Guy Kawasaki, and also known as the “10-20-30” method (10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 font size). This approach is commonly used for investor presentations where a short yet impactful approach is needed to stand out among the competition.

This allows you to give brief but understandable messages within a limited time.

The Lessig Method

Used by Lawrence Lessig, this style has a limited use of images, relying more on words, similar to Takahashi’s style. Concise words or statements are used and slides are changed around, depending on the words the presenter delivers.

This focuses more on telling a story and injects a more synchronized approach, generating interest and allowing audiences to be more attentive.

The Godin Method

Seth Godin’s technique is a combination of texts and images, where the speaker uses striking photos to let the pictures speak for themselves. This lets him explain what he’s trying to point out and reiterate his main ideas through images.

This approach differs from Takahashi and Lessig’s, since they’re more focused on conveying their message primarily with text. The advantage? Using this appeals to the audience’s passions and establishes an emotional connection with them.

The Steve Jobs Method

Steve Jobs’ style concentrates on large images and texts, focusing on one statement per slide and combining it with visual elements. This gives the presenter the chance to offer demonstrations and allow a more interactive way of communicating his ideas.

This method enables your performance to be more interesting and powerful, allowing the audience to get the message easily for maximum impact.

In Conclusion

Let your objectives dictate your manner of presenting. Situations requiring brevity and conciseness might require the Kawasaki Method. The Takahashi and Lessig methods favor a confident presenting style to better focus attention on the speaker. The Godin and Jobs methods use strong images that create strong emotional connections.

The key is to understand and identify your objective as a presenter. Once you know this, you can then decide on what presentation style to use. Choose which one of the delivery methods suits you the most. Let SlideGenius experts help you out!

PowerPoint Storyboard: A Powerful Way to Share Your Ideas

 
Producing a corporate video – be it for sales, training, or any other business purposes – involves careful planning. To plan out your video effectively, one of the first things you need to do is to create a storyboard.

What’s a storyboard?

A storyboard is a shot-by-shot representation of how a video will unfold. It is typically composed of a series of frames with illustrations or images that represent each shot. Each frame also comes with short notes to explain what’s happening in the scene as well as script details (such as dialogues and directions).

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Advantages of creating a storyboard

Sharing your vision for your video is much easier using a storyboard. There are times when, no matter brilliant our idea is and how hard we try to explain it, people just couldn’t understand it.  With a storyboard, you can show your team how the video is going to unravel.  It will also make it easier for everyone to get behind your idea.

Storyboarding can also make production is relatively hassle-free. As you create a video storyboard, what you’re basically doing is setting up a production plan. You are laying out the shots needed as well as their sequence. And since you already have a guide, it also makes editing easier. In other words, the entire creation process can go smoothly.

Using PowerPoint to create your storyboard

PowerPoint has many features that can bring an ordinary storyboard to life. You can turn any idea into something graphic using shapes, text, animation, and all the other tools that PowerPoint provides.

You can use the Storyboard template in PowerPoint after installing Microsoft Visual Studio 2011. With Visual Studio, making storyboards is as easy as creating and working on new slides. To create a PowerPoint Storyboard, the first things that you should is write down everything that you want to show for every frame. You can use the program’s tools to illustrate your descriptions. Once you are done with a basic storyboard, you may want to add sound and transition effects to make it more interesting.

You can also use storyboards not just in creating videos but also in preparing presentation slides.

Storyboarding your presentation

To create a storyboard for your presentation, determine first the number of slides you will need. This would be dictated by the length of your entire presentation. Ideally, though, don’t use over five or six slides every 10 minutes. After that, simply follow the outline of your presentation script. Think about how to fit it into the sequential frames. Moreover, make sure that the slides show the key ideas clearly and logically.

By storyboarding your presentation, you will be able to express your ideas beyond the usual bullet points. Instead, the series of frames will help you translate information into something visual.
 
 

5 Tips to Help You Finish Your PowerPoint Deck on Time

Your presentations aren’t the only tasks you have to accomplish at work.

As much as you want to prepare a well-planned deck, your busy schedule might not permit you to do so.

You need to balance content and design to deliver a winning pitch.

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To avoid a presentation snafu, work on your PowerPoint while maximizing your time.

Here are five tips to finish your PowerPoint deck before the deadline:

Review your schedule and move things around

Preparing for a presentation is a long process.

It’s better to finish tasks gradually than try to do everything in one go. That way, you have the leeway to aim for quality and focus on one thing as you go along.

Check your schedule and see if there are things you can move around to make space for your tasks. Work around your free time and split up what you have to do.

Even if you’re days away from the big presentation, organize a to-do list to maximize the time you have left.

Prioritize tasks accordingly

If you’re finishing your deck on a tight deadline, you need to learn how to prioritize. Accomplish your PowerPoint deck following a particular order.

Start with a structure for your presentation before drafting the content and finally working on your slide design. This hierarchy will determine which direction you should take your PowerPoint deck, so make sure you have a solid foundation before you move on to the next task.

Look around the web for inspiration 

Coming up with your own design concept isn’t that hard. For one, there’s plenty of inspiration to be found by browsing around the Internet.

You can check out these links to see what type of aesthetic you’d like to go for in your presentation:

Re-purpose old presentations 

Save yourself time by working with something you already have. In his article for Content Marketing Institute, Vertical Measures CEO Arnie Kuenn suggests repurposing previous content for marketing strategies to save time and money.

Similarly, this principle can apply to your overall presentation as well. Review your old files and find some PowerPoint files that you can easily edit and turn into a different presentation. Change up the color scheme or replace images you used with new ones you found online. Be as resourceful as you can.

Perfection is the last step

While you need to make sure that each task is accomplished properly, don’t try to chase perfection just yet.

Due to your limited time frame, you can’t spend too much time ironing out details.

The most important thing is to finish your PowerPoint deck. Once you’ve done that, review your presentation one last time and tweak the areas that may need improvement.

If you run out of time , it’s better to present a complete PowerPoint deck than something that looks hurried and incomplete.

Preparing an effective PowerPoint deck will take some effort. Make sure you maximize the time you have by taking note of these easy tips.

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References:

Kuenn, Arnie. “Repurposing Benefits.” Content Marketing Institute. October 28, 2013. Accessed March 12, 2015.
The Pyramid Principle: Tips for Presentation Structure.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 21, 2014. Accessed March 12, 2015.

 

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A Guide to Making a PowerPoint Style Guide

Corporations and organizations often use a style guide to ensure that all their visual materials maintain a consistent and cohesive look.

Because it’s impossible to keep track of every PowerPoint deck created in such an environment, a style guide guarantees that every presentation will correspond to your organization’s brand identity.

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Before starting on your style guide, familiarize yourself with PowerPoint’s Slide Master function to create and customize templates first. This makes it easier to accomplish once you begin distributing it throughout the organization.

Here are areas you need to focus on:

Leverage branding

Every design rule or suggestion that you put down should contribute to your branding efforts. As we’ve discussed in the past, an easy way to integrate branding into PowerPoint design is through the clever use of colors.

Set down some rules on the color scheme that everyone should use for presentations. Keep your brand’s logo and overall aesthetic in mind, making sure your rules for the color scheme goes well with both. Let your colors stand out so that the audience can see that your slides are part of a larger, unified whole.

Another way to leverage branding is by using visual metaphors that correspond to your brand identity. Include suggestions for images and illustrations people should use in their PowerPoint designs.

Establish rules following best PowerPoint practices

Aside from branding, a PowerPoint style guide also helps you maintain the quality of all the slide decks presented in your organization’s name.

As such, it’s important that you establish key rules that follow the best PowerPoint practices. Be strict about the use of bullet points and the amount of text included in a single slide. Establish pointers on how data should be presented. There are different ways to do it, but all in all, you should make sure that charts and graphs don’t get too overwhelming by inputting only the content that matters to your pitch.

Something else you can consider is making suggestions that can help manage the length of your company’s presentations.

In this PowerPoint style guide from the American Marketing Association, there’s a suggestion that a PowerPoint deck should match its length in number of slides. For example, 10-minute presentations should have no more than 10 slides.

Add reminders for presentation delivery

It might seem unnecessary, but you can also include a few reminders on how presentations should be delivered.

While a PowerPoint style guide may be focused on design, its overall objective should touch on improving presentations delivered throughout your organization. Also remind others to be more careful with the way they present their slides. After all, the point of creating PowerPoint slides is to enhance the message people are delivering with their presentations.

At the end of the day, what matters is what audiences are left with. If the delivery is improved, you can expect outcomes to improve as well.

A PowerPoint style guide is a way you can make sure presentations are organized and consistent with the company’s overall message. Have a clear vision on how you want these presentations to look like, and what kind of impact you want them to leave on audiences.

These are the things you need to have defined and clarified in your PowerPoint style guide:

  • Use of logo
  • Color scheme
  • Font type and size
  • Use of bullet points
  • Use of images, icons, and illustrations
  • Presenting data in charts and graphs
  • Editing and cutting back on slides
  • Pointers on presenting slides to make the most of the visual aids

Keep these in mind and start establishing some rules and pointers to maximize your use of effective visuals.

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References:

Chapman, Cameron. “Why Your Brand Needs a Style Guide, and How to Create One.” Webdesigner Depot. Accessed March 6, 2015.
Design Ideas: How to Improve PowerPoint Templates.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 9, 2014. Accessed February 4, 2015.
Improve Your Presentations with the Power of the Metaphor.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 17, 2014. Accessed January 12, 2015.
PowerPoint Style Guidelines.” American Marketing Association. Accessed March 6, 2015.
The Top 10 Best PowerPoint Design Practices.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 18, 2014. Accessed March 6, 2015.

 

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