Your presentation deadline is fast approaching, and you have no idea how many slides you need to convey your message.

Big dilemma!

Should you cram your content on multiple slides with bullet points, facts, and data to help you stay on track, or should you go with the much-coveted Steve Jobs' style of simplistic and visual slide design?

The simple answer is…it depends.

Factors that determine your slide count include:

Your Audience

Always think of your audience first and what's in it for them. What do you want your audience to remember? What do you want them to do after the presentation is over? Use your slides as guides to help them remember the key points, keeping in mind that there are three learning styles:

  • Visual Learners: Around 65 percent of the population are visual learners and need to see pictures, charts, maps, and graphs to visualize. That's why you need to use design strategically as a teaching tool, not simply for decoration. Visual learners will need more visual information, which means you'll need more slides to help them stay focused.
  • Auditory Learners: Around 30 percent of the population are auditory learners, and they need to hear the information. That's why you need your words to convey a clear message. You'd need to practice your presentation and use descriptive words that make sense even if someone could not see your slides.
  • Kinesthetic Learners: those who need to engage in an activity to grasp a concept. Kinesthetic learners are more complex and makeup around 5 percent of the population. That's why you need to engage with your audience by asking questions or getting them involved in the presentation process.

Your Presentation Style

When you are new to public speaking, you might need more slides to relate your message. Slides can act as your guide and keep you on track. As you become a more confident and seasoned presenter, you might need fewer slides.

Your Delivery System

If you are presenting your content online, you might need more visual enhancements and more slides to keep your audience engaged. Try to break up your content into more slides with animation and transition to help your audience stay focused on your presentation and avoid opening other windows or applications. But if you are presenting in person in a meeting room or on stage, you'll need fewer slides. You want your audience to connect and engage with you, not your slides.

Your Subject Matter

If your content is motivational or inspirational, you will need to rely on your storytelling ability. You want your audience to focus on you, not your slides. If your content is more technical or conveys statistics and numbers, you will need to represent it visually with more slides.

Conclusion

There are many formulas for estimating the number of slides for each presentation. The best formula is to start with one slide to cover each main point you want your audience to remember. Based on your audience, presentation style, delivery system, and subject matter, you can expand on key slides that guide your audience to a specific call to action. Don't worry about slide count. Focus on your audience and make every slide count.

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