Anyone seeking to put together a well-crafted presentation needs to be aware of some general guidelines and one of the best is the 10 20 30 rule. So what is the 10 20 30 rule and how best should you apply it to ensure that you have a presentation people will enjoy and remember?

10 slides

The 10 part of the 10 20 30 rule is a maximum of 10 slides. This is an important number as too few and the presentation is not fleshed out enough. Having a presentation which simply doesn’t have enough information to warrant it may lead people to wonder why they are there at all. However, including more than 10 slides and it can start to fatigue individuals who have already lost track and are getting weary. This is important because it takes several minutes to properly explain each slide if done correctly and if you have too many and are just whizzing through them then it is simply wasted time as people will not remember what was in those slides. 10 slides is an appropriate amount both for remembering and for timing.

20 minutes

The 20 part of a 10 20 30 rule stands for how long a presentation should be. A good presentation should really not be longer than 20 minutes and there are many reasons for why this is so.  One of the best reasons for the 20 minute mark is 20 minutes is statistically shown to be the amount of time that adults can give their full engagement to a given subject. A 20-minute presentation is the amount of time that you can expect your audience to be interested in what you are saying. This is especially important if the main point of the presentation such as the action items you want people to do occurs at the end. Presentations that go far longer than this are likely to have already lost the attention of your audience. When it comes to a presentation, bigger is not better.

30 point font (Seriously?)

Never use less than 30 point font, and this is the 30 part of our 10 20 30 rule. Less than 30 point font can mean individuals, especially those at the end of a long conference table, will be straining to see what it is you have written in your presentation. Not only can this be irritating for those even with good eyesight, but it can also be a downright struggle for those who have less than ideal eyesight. This makes it harder for them to engage with your materials and your presentation overall if they cannot see what it is you have written. Having a large font is not just a courtesy; it helps to enhance the engagement of your entire audience. This is also helpful as a method of filling up space and learning how to condense the most important points. If you cannot fit the most important aspects of your presentation on one page of 30 point font, then it is likely time for a restructure which can deliver the information in a more seamless and succinct way.

The 10 20 30 rule is a good rule to help achieve the highest technical levels of audience engagement and participation and is certainly one that everyone making a presentation should abide by.