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Home » Featured, Headline, Volunteer Management

How To Build A Great Powerpoint For Your Volunteers

Submitted by James Higginbotham on February 4, 2010 – 4:39 amOne Comment

Guy Kawasaki put together a set of guidelines for using PowerPoint several years ago. While focused mostly toward startups doing pitches to venture capitalists, I think these rules can be used for leaders that cannot live without PowerPoint when presenting to volunteers.

Here is Guy’s rule:

A PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.

Sound crazy? Believe me, it has some sound wisdom within. Here are some details, generalized from the original:

Ten slides. Ten is the optimal number of slides in a PowerPoint presentation because a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting

Twenty minutes. You should give your ten slides in twenty minutes. Sure, you have an hour time slot, but you’re using a Windows laptop, so it will take forty minutes to make it work with the projector. Even if setup goes perfectly, people will arrive late and have to leave early. In a perfect world, you give your pitch in twenty minutes, and you have forty minutes left for discussion.

Thirty-point font. The majority of the presentations that I see have text in a ten point font. As much text as possible is jammed into the slide, and then the presenter reads it. However, as soon as the audience figures out that you’re reading the text, it reads ahead of you because it can read faster than you can speak. The result is that you and the audience are out of synch.

The reason people use a small font is twofold: first, that they don’t know their material well enough; second, they think that more text is more convincing. Total bozosity. Force yourself to use no font smaller than thirty points. I guarantee it will make your presentations better because it requires you to find the most salient points and to know how to explain them well. If “thirty points,” is too dogmatic, the I offer you an algorithm: find out the age of the oldest person in your audience and divide it by two. That’s your optimal font size.

Read the full post on the 10/20/30 rule on Guy’s blog

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One Comment »

  • Scot Vessell says:

    10/20/30. Numbers to live by and the key to my success (well, public speaking success anyway). Thanks for sharing.