Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule For Making Your First Pitch a Success

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Entrepreneurs have only so many chances to pitch their startups to investors, so they have to get it right the first time.

Luckily, famed entrepreneur and brand evangelist Guy Kawasaki makes it all a bit easier with his 10-20-30 rule, which he outlined in a recent blog post. He writes:

“Ten slides. Ten is the optimal number of slides in a PowerPoint presentation because a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting—and venture capitalists are very normal. (The only difference between you and venture capitalist is that he is getting paid to gamble with someone else’s money). If you must use more than ten slides to explain your business, you probably don’t have a business.

Twenty minutes. You should give your ten slides in twenty minutes. Sure, you have an hour time slot, but you’re using a Windows laptop, so it will take forty minutes to make it work with the projector. Even if setup goes perfectly, people will arrive late and have to leave early. In a perfect world, you give your pitch in twenty minutes, and you have forty minutes left for discussion.

Thirty-point font. The majority of the presentations that I see have text in a ten point font. As much text as possible is jammed into the slide, and then the presenter reads it. However, as soon as the audience figures out that you’re reading the text, it reads ahead of you because it can read faster than you can speak. The result is that you and the audience are out of synch.”

In addition, Kawasaki collabed with Visually to create a helpful infographic illustrating what an effective pitch deck looks like. Check it out below:

(click to enlarge)

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