Thursday, March 22, 2007

Presenting PowerPoint to business executives , The 10/20/30 Rule and the Meniere's Disease

Guy Kawasaki wrote an article how to write a practical presentation for the business community. The guy (whose name is Guy) is a ventrure capitalist who listened to hundreds of presentations for people trying to sell their companies. Here is what Guy said in his 10/20/30 Rule

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

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—and venture capitalists are very normal. (The only difference between you and venture capitalist is that he is getting paid to gamble with someone else’s money). If you must use more than ten slides to explain your business, you probably don’t have a business. The ten topics that a venture capitalist cares about are:

  • Problem
  • Your solution
  • Business model
  • Underlying magic/technology
  • Marketing and sales
  • Competition
  • Team
  • Projections and milestones
  • Status and timeline
  • Summary and call to action

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.

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.

Then Guy adds a comment

"So please observe the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. If nothing else, the next time someone in your audience complains of hearing loss, ringing, or vertigo, you’ll know what caused the problem"

Guy actually starts his blog by saying that he suffers from something called Ménière’s disease,

The symptoms of Ménière’s include hearing loss, tinnitus (a constant ringing sound), and vertigo. Guy claims that there are many medical reason that cause Ménière (too much salt, caffeine, or alcohol in one’s diet, too much stress, and allergies)

Guy then says that he is not subjected to any of the above causes, but he still gets Ménière’s disease. I Guess Guy was trying point out to the medical community that the audiance on NON 10/20/30 Presentation are prone to develop the Ménière’s disease as well.

Ammar Sajdi

Oracle consultant

Amman - jordan

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