Mar 12, 2009

How many slides should your presentation have?

Last week I was working with a client of mine on improving his presentation. When I told him that the presentation might stretch to 40 slides he was anxious. He wanted it to be under 20. Both the versions had the same content but different number of slides. He knew that. Still he wanted it to be under 20.

What's happening in this case?

By having 40 slides the content per slide will get drastically reduced and that he felt meant being low on content (less text on a slide meant less work done by the manager). He wanted the presentation to be content heavy.

Friends this is a mindset issue. Still in most companies in India having more text on the slides means you have done your research and hard work.

How do we solve the problem?
It wont be solved bottoms-up (by changing the mindset of the lower level managers). It has to be solved top-down. When managers see their top bosses reducing content per slide they will follow suit.

So my answer to the question is:

There is no correct number of slides.
Just make sure you have the right content, you talk one thing per slide and you finish your presentation in the allotted time.

Do not try to say 2/3 things in a slide. Do not worry about how many slides your PowerPoint runs into. If you are skilled at using PowerPoint, you can present the matter of 10 slides in 1 using animation. If your presentation has a lot of images, then you can really run through them in no time. So how does it matter how many slides your presentation has? All that matters is whether you finish within your allotted time and get your point across.

What is your take on this? Are you also advised to stick to a certain no. of slides? Leave a comment and let me know.