How many presentation slides should you have?

It depends on a lot of factors—your audience, your technology, the setting, your pacing, your comfort level with your clicker—and every presenter is different. Some may be able to spend an hour on three slides, and others could go through 300 slides in an hour. Read the descriptions below to determine which slide rate matches your presentation parameters.

No slides

If it’s a commencement speech, a eulogy, a wedding toast, a one-on-one conversation, or a layoff announcement, plan for no slides. If you’re unsure if slides are appropriate, bring them along and also print them out (along with your speaker notes) so you can refer to them even if it’s best to leave your laptop closed.

Moderate slide count

1 – 2 slides per minute (e.g., 30 – 60 slides for a 60-minute talk) This allows you to keep a fairly relaxed pace, but could lead your audience’s minds to wander between slides. Average corporate presentations often fall on the low end of this spectrum, which may mean there is too much information on each slide. When developing this type of deck, focus on sticking to the “One Idea Per Slide” rule.

High slide count

5 slides per minute (e.g., 145 slides for a 40-minute talk) A more rapid-fire style keeps the audience alert, but does require brisk pacing on your part. In this style of deck, you may spread one idea across several slides—in lieu of animations—which increases the slide count, but feels seamless to the audience.

Social media presentation slide count

75 slides in 2 – 3 minutes (e.g., 25 slides per minute) This is a highly visual presentation built for quick clicking. These decks are built like children’s books, alternating short sentences with simple visuals, and intended to be self-navigated on sites like Slideshare.com.

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