Wednesday, July 22, 2015

It always is okay to break the rules

In her June 30th blog post at Calculated Presentations Janice Tomich asked the rhetorical question Is it ever ok to break the rules? Then she said:

“Today I learned (again) that yes it is okay to challenge the rules.”


“Rules are often just gatekeepers that keep out people who won’t try to push the gate open.”

Let’s look at a well-known example. A decade ago Guy Kawasaki proclaimed The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint which is:

“It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.”

Some people have taken that as a general rule, but it really just describes one style for boardroom pitches. It’s not the Ten Commandments. Two other effective presentation styles are Pecha Kucha and Ignite.

Kawasaki’s rule is to show slides at a rate of 0.5 per minute, while Pecha Kucha has three slides per minute and Ignite has four. As shown above in a bar chart, the rate for Ignite is EIGHT TIMES higher than what Kawasaki says.

When you look around, you occasionally will find other blog posts about using different styles (breaking rules) like Daren Fleming’s 2007 Breaking the Rules of Public speaking and Michael Port’s 2014 Break These Rules for Better Public Speaking.

The sledgehammer image came from the Library of Congress.

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