I am so tired of hearing that you should limit the number of slides in your presentation. This is really BAD advice. Limiting the number of slides only leads to badly formatted slides and makes the audience suffer through a bad PowerPoint presentation.
I am here to tell you that restricting the number of slides in your presentation is total BS.
What really matters is what you want your audience to take away and remember from your presentation.
What action do you want them to take?
What new thing do you want them to learn?
What message do you want them to remember and share with others?
If it takes you 10, 50 or 200 slides to allow the audience to walk away with your takeaways and serve them with excellence, then that is what you need to do. Now that doesn’t mean go hog wild and fill every slide with a book of text.
For example, I recently did a 60-minute talk on Making Public Speaking Your Competitive Advantage at a conference that focused on tips and tricks on storytelling, slide crafting, practicing, and delivering a talk where I went through 150 slides.
I know what you are thinking…that is a crap ton of slides for 60 minutes. You would be correct, if I had done a set of slides that was riddled with bullets points and lots of text per slide. However, the slides were formatted with simple quick hitting messages that went by quickly in the natural flow of the conversation. If I didn’t tell you there was 150 slides you would have never guess it was anywhere near that many. I didn’t make the audience work for any of the slides which allowed them to easily consume all of the information and have the takeaways that I wanted them to have. In fact, the feedback from this talk with a resounding 4.8 out of 5 in the audience feedback submissions.
Here is an example of one of the slides from that slide deck. As you can see it is a very clean with a simple single bullet of information. The audience can easily consume the slide. This slide comes up at the start of the slide crafting section and is only up on the screen for about 15 seconds before we move into talking how to effectively design a PowerPoint slide deck.
[Put something in there about slide design???]
So, it there a time when the number of slides matters. Great question. The answer is yes with a special presentation type called an Ignite talk. Ignite talks are 5-minute talks with slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds, so that means you only get 20 slides for talk.