When it comes to creating slides, most people want to know the ideal slides number needed for a perfect presentation.
Unfortunately, prescribing the right amount of slides you should use is a bit difficult. There are so many rules out there you have probably come across. “Keep it to one slide for every three minutes.” “Only use five slides.” Even 10/20/30 rule (10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 point font) advocated by presentation-pro Guy Kawasaki.
Although these rules are not altogether wrong, I do feel the critical thing here is to consider the nature of your presentation and what message you want to pass across. When you apply these general guidelines to your slide service presentation, you will likely end up limiting yourself. This sort of practice isn’t right for you and could turn out even worse for your audience.
Rather than being stuck on what the ideal number for your side presentation should be, think:
- how many slides do I need to get my message across?
- what pace would my audience feel comfortable with?
Doing this helps you know the appropriate places where you may need to use slides during the introduction, body, and conclusion parts of a presentation. Let’s look at factors that can guide you towards the ideal number of slides you should create, depending on the nature of your presentation.
No Need for Slides
When delivering a presentation that requires a personal connection with your audience, or a short talk in a laid environment, you can do without slides. Andrew Dlugan, in his “Six Minutes” blog on public speaking, suggests that when making a commencement speech, wedding toast, eulogy, or layoff announcement, you shouldn’t make use of slides. I would also suggest that in such events where you are unsure whether slides are appropriate or not, make them and carry them along as print out notes, in case you decide not to project the slides from your laptop.
Moderate slide count
Experts often recommend that you should use one to two slides per minute, or 30 to 60 slides for an hour-long talk, which is around the average count for a corporate presentation. It is important not to cram too much information on each slide. Break down your content to one idea per slide and ensure that your content is grammar error-free. The Writing Judge is a popular writing review website you can use to help with your writing.
High slide count
These are usually five slides per minute presentations. What happens here is a rapid-fire style kind of presentation that keeps the audience very alert as to re-engage with each quick click. However, this kind of presentation requires a lot of rehearsing and careful pacing. Typically a 40-minute rapid-fire style presentation will take up to 150 slides. Because of the rapid style, the audience may feel like it was just about 30 or 50 slides you went through.
Social media slide count
When looking at social media sites like slideshare.com, their popular presentations have 75 slides. However, it is possible to read all the slides in 2 to 3 minutes, because they are created one sentence and visual per slide, almost reminiscent of a children’s book. The simple format propels you to click more often. The critical thing to note when making such slides is to ensure that your slides are a visual aid rather than a visual distraction.
Time Allocation is Crucial
Time is a crucial part of any presentation. You don’t want to take too much time and lose the attention of your audience or speed things up so much that you leave them confused. Also, try to avoid going for the minutes-per-slide approach because this might not align with the content of your presentation. Thus time allocation should be entirely up to the presenter.
For a ten slide presentation, a presenter may spend one minute on each slide and deliver his presentation accurately. Another presenter with the same ten slides may choose to spend 10 seconds each on six slides, and the remaining nine minutes spread across the other four slides on another. And the presenter will be extremely useful in their delivery.
This is because the four slides that take up 9 minutes to present were the slides that needed much time to understand. It could also mean that the slides in question were meaningful and insightful, so the presenter allocated the time at a pace they felt most appropriate. The vital thing to note here is that when you allocate time in order of what content matters most, it allows you to gauge just how many slides you need to create.
Besides working towards an ideal number of slides to create for your presentation, you also need to consider other visual factors. When the amount of texts in your slides is reduced, include compelling visuals to support your presentation. However you can’t simply throw a bunch of photos on the slides. As you consider the number of slides for your presentation, you also need to be strategic with the visual elements of your presentation.
I will briefly run through some strategic and relevant tips on the visual elements of your slides:
- Templates: explore more themes outside of your PowerPoint templates. Your presentation needs to be unique, so select a vivid and lively theme that won’t come across as annoying to your audience. The theme of your templates should be in line with your topic of the presentation and match your brand.
- Incorporate multimedia: making use of multimedia is one way to grab and maintain the attention of the audience with ease. Research has shown that 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers. Multimedia visuals help to illustrate and explain theories when spoken words or images cannot.
- Charts and Graphs: using data and statistics is a great way to support the message being delivered in your presentation. You can achieve this by making use of charts and graphs. They add an exciting and engaging way to present the details that support your point. Just make sure they complement and not detract from your presentation.
- Colour Themes: research has shown changing the colour of a CTA button boosted conversions by 21%. Besides, even thoughyour presentation goal is not to make sales, you can use the right colours to invoke certain feelings or impressions from your audience.
- Fonts: your text must be readable enough so your audience can easily consume and interpret it without distractions from the presentation. Thus small and dense should be avoided at all costs.
- Image quality: no matter how relevant an image is to your presentation, it becomes a waste if they are low-quality images. It is vital to use high-resolution photos and other visuals that will pop when displayed on a large projector screen.
Before starting on your slides, you must have all your content written down in correct and precise grammar. You can use writing review websites like Pick The Writer to find professional content writers and then proceed to break it up into slides. Baring in mind the type of presentation you want to make, the visual elements and delivery strategies that will capture the attention of your audience.