I’ve just read Guy Kawasaki’s rule on how to create effective MS PowerPoint presentations. According to Kawasaki, “A PowerPoint presentation should have 10 slides, last no more than 20 minutes, and contain no font smaller than 30 points.”

The 3-to-5 Rule

My own rule of thumb is the 3-to-5 rule:

  • 3-to-5 slides
  • 3-to-5 bullets per slide
  • 3-to-5 words per bullet

Better yet, skip the words and use pictures.

The slides are not the presentation.  They are only a prop to help you stay in point and a little eye candy for the audience.  They are simply a backdrop for you—you are the message, you are who they came to listen to (if they are in the right room).

From this, it follows that slides decks are not an instrument to send somebody via email.  That’s like sending a film with only the background scenery, without the actors.  May be pretty to look at, but there’s no drama in it.

BTW, for those of you still in school, here’s a good resource: Chat College.