We’re sure you’ve thought about this before. Whenever you begin planning a presentation, don’t you think about how many slides you should use?
Because we know this is an important issue for many presenters, we offer this assistance.
The first thing a presenter should note is that the number of slides is not directly related to the time a presentation takes.
Everything depends on how long a presenter stays with each slide. So that famous 1-slide-per-minute rule can be totally wrong for most presenters.
For example, there are cases in which only 15 slides are used to illustrate one-hour speeches. There are other cases in which 150 slides are shown in 30 minutes, as comics expert Scott McCloud does.
Here’s a presentation McCloud made at TED. You’ll notice that he’s constantly clicking the remote. In only 17 minutes you’re presented with about 100 slides. And there are several animations and images per slide, all of which ensures that all the parts of his speech are supported by visual elements.
There are also McCloud performances in which the image sequence is so fast the thing ends up looking like a movie.
And so you can see that the relationship between the number of slides used and the time allotted to a presentation depends on the number of visual messages a presenter wants to convey and the pace at which those visual changes are made.
There are presenters who feel more comfortable if the same slide is displayed a while; others prefer more rapid and frequent visual changes, so there is constant support for keywords by images. It’s totally up to you to decide what style and visual rhythm you want for a particular presentation.
And so now to answer the question: How many slides should be used in a 60-minute presentation? Well, it depends on the presenter. A 60-minute presentation can involve 60 slides or 460. And neither will be right or wrong.