Has anyone ever asked “How many slides do you have?” when inquiring about the length of your presentation?  I think this goes back to an old belief that presenters (supposedly) should average 1 slide per minute…it was assumed that by using this “rule” you could gauge the length of the presentation.  Of course there isn’t a “1 slide per minute” rule.  In fact there are no rules regarding the number of slides a presenter should have for a specific time, or how much time you should spend per slide.   The only rule presenters should follow is to finish on time – or even better, a little early!

In The Non-Designer’s Presentation Book, author Robin Williams states that “Slides are free – don’t be afraid to use as many as you need to present the information clearly.” She also shares some helpful slide design tips.  If you have several points that will not be expand upon, you can leave them on one slide … as long as they relate to a single topic.  However if you plan to expand on each point it is better to have one point per slide.  Just remember to use a readable font size (around 30 points) and make sure that the audience can read the slide in around 3 seconds.  Having a variety of slide styles – slides with multiple points and slides with single points – helps you vary the pace of your presentation, which will make it more interesting for your audience.

At the end of my “Presentation on Presentations” I often ask the audience, “How many slides did I use?” They always guess numbers that are much lower than what I actually used.  My point is that the number of slides is not important, what is important is using them to effectively support your message.

What do you think?

Joe Pops

Refuse to be boring

6 Replies to “How many slides do you have?”

  1. I agree, Joe.
    Also, I suggest using the “B” button that blanks the screen.
    The audience will immediately turn their attention from the screen to the presenter – where it should be!
    Thanks for the Post!

  2. I think it was on one episode of Frasier that Kelsey Grammer said “If less is more, then imagine how much more is more” 🙂
    I am a believer in the latter, but I guess somethings more is just more… The trick is knowing when.

  3. I think a great rule presenters should follow is to break down their information and present each component in the way that is easiest for audience to understand.
    Having a variety of slide styles is a great idea, if presenters can also a variety of presentation methodologies to their repertoire, even better!

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