“Only 30 slides to go before the next tea break…”
Whether you’re using classic PowerPoint or fancy slide deck software, this question invariably pops up.
How many slides do I need?
Presentation gurus throw random figures at you. Some say 10-20 slides per presentation. Other insist on a slide or two per minute. Many will simply shrug and say – as many as you need.
The truth is: you’re the best judge. The number of slides required to present your message boils down to two things:
1. What your presentation is all about
2. Your presentation timing
Presentation complexities involved
Before you start worrying about your slide deck, analyze the nature of your presentation and its details.
Is the topic simple or complicated?
A simple theme would require fewer to no slides. If you’re aiming for one point per slide, you obviously require more slides than other presenters. If your theme involves lot of sub points, you may require a slide for each such point.
Eg: You have five subtopics and plan to spread each point over two slides. You also want to follow the one slide per minute rule. For a 10-minute presentation, you’ll need 10 slides for sub points and additional slides for opening and closing.
IS your presentation data driven?
Create your own thumb rule for complex, data driven topics. Financial, scientific or technological presentations require info heavy slides.
You will need more time to explain or speak about the content on each slide. Likewise; your audience requires time to assimilate key points on a slide, before they move on to the next one.
Is it a short presentation, webinar or training course?
Flash slides or slides with minimal content require anything from 15 seconds to one minute of explanation. You’ll have to spend 2-3 minutes on descriptive slides with data, charts or diagrams.
You also have to take into account time needed for your opening and closing statements, and Q& A sessions. Keep in mind some people go through slides faster while others talk at a slower pace.
All of these factors have an impact on slides used in the allotted time. You may end up presenting 10-30 slides during a 30-minute presentation and 50-120 slides for a four-hour session.
When you have a clear picture of these basics, you’ll know how many slides are essential to get your message across.
Do you follow standard advice when it comes to slide quantity? Do you have tips to share with other readers?