That’s one of the most comment questions I get:  “How many slides should I use for my xx minute presentation*?”

I always respond with “I don’t know, where’s your script?”

“yeah, but in your professional opinion, how many slides for xx minutes?”

“Again, I don’t know, where’s your script?”

I say that because of one of my core mantras a visual communications specialist is:

Content drives design

Visuals are not the end all be all in a presentation, they’re aids to your messages.  They are meant to enhance the meaning of your content.  In other words, you shouldn’t be speaking to the page, the page should be supporting your speaking.

To get around that, I push the people I coach through this process:

  1. Brainstorm their topic based on the curators wants/needs and the audience’s expectations
  2. Write out an outline to follow for the talk
  3. Write out a script
  4. Look through script, determine what content needs a visual
  5. Build the visuals
  6. Rehearse
  7. Edit visuals to fit script better
  8. Rehearse
  9. Show time

Once I explain this, most of the individuals I’m working with understand it better.

* If working on a rapid fire presentation, the answer is always 20 🙂