Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 Rule


Guy Kawasaki developed his 10/20/30 Rule many years ago, but I love it because it forces us to think about our visual presentation as opposed to arbitrarily filling up slides with bullet points.

Image Credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Here are the essentials for Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 Rule:

Kawasaki says 10 is the magic number when it comes to slides necessary in your visual presentation.  I would argue that the number of slides, of course, depends on the type of speech you are delivering.  However, I do agree with Kawasaki that an average person in an average meeting cannot retain more than 10 concepts in that meeting.

Kawasaki’s second rule is all about timing.  He argues that 20 minutes is the amount of time it takes to effectively go through 10 slides.  This is a great rule of thumb for a larger presentation such as a class lecture.  If we have an hour of class, 30 slides would be ideal, as each 10 slides require 20 minutes of discussion or lecture time.

The final piece of the 10-20-30 rule is 30 point font.  Kawasaki says you should never use lower than 30 point font on a slide.  I say go higher!  My fonts are always between 100 and 200 point font, and this forces me to limit my text to key words or phrases only.  Remember, your visual presentation should be just that: visual.

Though he developed his 10/20/30 theory and blogged about it back in 2005, I think the main points of Kawasaki’s rule ring true today.  It’s a terrific rule of thumb if you have a short presentation to deliver.  For more information, check out How to Change the World, Guy Kawasaki’s amazing blog.  His original post about 10/20/30 can be found here.


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