How many slides for a 10-minute presentation do you need to get your message across in a limited amount of time?

Here’s a short answer: anywhere from five to 15 slides.

The long answer? Well, the ideal number of slides may vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the topic discussed, your speaking phase, time allowance for audience interaction, and more.

This article will dive deep into the secrets of short and sweet but impactful presentations. We’ll also review a few methods from experts about determining the number of slides you need for your presentation, whether it’s a pitch deck, webinar slides, or anything else in between.

Read on and get ready to transform those fleeting ten minutes into a memorable experience that leaves a lasting impression on your audience.

The 10/20/30 PowerPoint Rule

How many PowerPoint slides is a 10-minute presentation?

When it comes to pitching and presentations, marketing specialist and author Guy Kawasaki may just be one of the best people to consult. After all, as a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, he’s heard thousands of pitches, and he knows what kind of presentations can hook the audience.

So, how many slides for a 10-minute presentation does one need, according to Kawasaki?

The Art of the Start author has discussed the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint, and it has become a well-known guideline for creating effective slide presentations, particularly in the context of business and entrepreneurship.

Here are the components of the concept:

  • 10 Slides. Kawasaki says the presentation should only have ten slides as it’s the best number to cover all the critical points of a presentation without overwhelming the audience. With limited slides, the presenter allows the audience to focus on the essential aspects of their message.
  • 20 Minutes. The venture capitalist believes that a presenter should aim to complete the presentation within 20 minutes. This time frame is enough to cover key points and not too long to bore the audience. It also leaves room for discussion, questions, and unforeseen delays.
  • 30-Point Font. Kawasaki recommends a minimum font size of 30 points so that the text is readable and the slides are not overcrowded with too much information. A larger font size also forces you to use more visuals and less text.
how many slides for 10 minute presentation

If we were to apply Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule to a 10-minute presentation, we would look at five slides – more or less two minutes per slide. This would be enough to get all the major points across while being concise and not overwhelming the audience.

The 3-2-1 Presentation Rule

Here’s another perspective on how many slides for a 10-minute presentation: the 3-2-1 rule discussed by Plus Cofounder and CEO Daniel Li.

This concept has three main components:

  • 3 Key Takeaways. Li suggests presenters identify three main points they want the audience to remember and focus on.
  • 2 Minutes per Slide. The CEO recommends spending two minutes to discuss each slide in the presentation.
  • 1 Idea per Slide. Just as Kawasaki suggests overwhelming the audience with only a few pieces of information at a time, Li encourages presenters to focus on one central idea per slide for clarity.

If we use the 3-2-1 rule concept when determining how many slides for a 10-minute presentation we need, the answer is more or less the same if we used Kiwasaki’s proposal – we come up with five slides, give or take one or two slides.

how many slides for 10 minute presentation

In addition to the general concept of the 3-2-1 Rule, Li recommends the following approaches depending on the context of the presentation:

  • Work Context. Focus on two or three central slides to convey your main ideas, supplemented by 2 to 3 slides with additional data or illustrative examples.
  • Sales Context. Develop three core slides that showcase the advantages of your product or service, with two extra slides for customer testimonials or detailed data to enrich the discussion.
  • Academic Context. Prepare two or three primary slides outlining main discoveries, and include 2 to 4 slides for supporting evidence or expanded explanations.
  • Storytelling Context. Create three principal slides to create a story arc (beginning, middle, end), along with two slides for powerful quotes or imagery.

Other Recommendations for Number of Slides

Aside from Kawasaki and Li’s concepts of slide quantity, there are other approaches you can use:

  • In an article for Cath Lab Digest, University of California, Irvine Professor Dr. Morton J Kern and VA Long Beach Cardiac Imaging Director Dr. Jeannie Yu discussed best practices to present and communicate  ideas to physicians, nurses, technologists. They said the rule of thumb is 10 slides for 10 minutes, with speakers spending around 30 seconds or a minute per slide. They recommend preparing 10 to 12 slides for a 10-minute presentation.
  • Cloud-based AI-powered presentation maker Wonderslide, meanwhile, also says speakers typically use 10-12 slides for a 10-minute presentation. However, a speaker might use more slides to show examples or photos. Let’s presume that you stuck with 12 slides, but you had to show three examples, then the final slide count would be 15.

Tips to Nail Your 10-Minute Presentation 

Now that you know the main approaches to how many slides for a 10-minute presentation, here are a few tips to drive your points home:

  • Rehearse and Time Your Delivery. Practice to ensure you stay within the 10-minute limit.
  • Clarity in Content. Ensure your message is clear and concise; every word counts.
  • Effective Storytelling. Weave a narrative that connects with your audience emotionally.
  • Concise Slides. Limit text and focus on key points to avoid overwhelming your audience.
  • Visuals and Graphics. Use high-quality images and graphics to illustrate points.
  • Professional Template. Use a PowerPoint presentation design template that looks professional and aligns with your presentation’s tone. For presentation design, pay attention to layout, color schemes, and typography for a cohesive look.

If you need professional slide designs crafted by professional designers, Penji can help. We have the top 2% of designers who are well-versed in the power of visual storytelling.

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