In spite of its reputation for dried out content delivery across virtual and in-person meetings alike, PowerPoint remains the first choice choice for many professionals, even as other options emerge that offer better usability and flexibility outside the Microsoft ecosystem.
Part of the demonstration platform’s popularity stems from the familiarity — many companies still run Microsoft-first THIS software environments, making PowerPoint the obvious choice for straightforward presentation design. Simplicity provides the second part of this recognition permutation since creating a simple PowerPoint presentation on a single subject requires minimal time and effort.
The issue? “Simple” doesn’t always indicate “effective”. Staff across marketplaces, industries, and verticals globally have stories about unbearably long and boring PowerPoint presentations that were long upon details but short on value. The 7×7 principle offers a framework to help boost PowerPoint form and perform by reducing text quantity and improving information influence.
In this piece, we’ll breakdown the 7×7 rule in PowerPoint, best practices, and offer several actionable examples of seven-by-seven options in-situ.
The PowerPoint Problem
To put it simply, most viewers do not like PowerPoint. While the format has the benefit of speed and convenience — and can conceivably be used to communicate details quickly and concisely — many presentations are overlong and overwrought with bonanzas of bullet points that seem relevant but are really just digital hot air.
Generally, the disconnect between appearance and action is dull at best and irritating with worst. As noted with the BBC, however , in extreme cases — such as NASA’s Challenger shuttle disaster — overlooked information in an overstuffed presentation can have significant real-life consequences.
Best bet? To avoid PowerPoint frustration and fatigue, it is time for a new platform: The 7×7 rule.
Very best 7×7 rule in PowerPoint?
The 7×7 rule is simple: For every slide, use no more than seven lines of text — or seven bullet points — and no more than seven words per collection. Slide titles aren’t contained in the count.
There’s no specific data supporting the 7×7 model as the ideal; some PointPower proselytizers consider 8×8 good enough while others say 6×6 is more streamlined. The point here isn’t the hard-and-fast amount but the underlying idea: Cut out extraneous information to improve demonstration uptake.
Slides can still contain images — and should, whenever we can — but sticking to the particular 7×7 rule helps cut down on excess data that might be better-shared in follow-up emails or even one-on-one discussions. In effect, the 7×7 rule is a way to reduce the amount of time staff invest pretending to care about PowerPoints and instead help all of them focus on slide information that is relevant, contextual, and doable.
Best Practices for the 7×7 Rule in PowerPoint
Building a common PowerPoint slide is straightforward. Similar to business practice, however , it can be improved with a standardized set of rules designed to limit waste materials and improve efficiency. And when it comes to most PowerPoint delivering presentations, almost any change makes a good impact.
Let’s break down among the best practices for building PowerPoint slides with the 7×7 rule.
1 . Single slide, one concept.
Each slide ought to address a single concept rather than trying to connect the dots across multiple data factors, trends or ideas. Whilst it’s fine to build upon previous slide data otherwise you presentation progresses the one slide, single concept method helps focus presentation attempts from the word go.
second . Images increase impact.
Since noted above images are a welcome addition to slides, so long as they’re relevant. If you find yourself incorporating unrelated stock photos just to add some color — don’t. Keep slides, text, plus images on-track.
4. Forget the funny.
Almost everyone has a tale about a “funny” PowerPoint joke that was nothing of the type. In most cases, these heavy-handed wit efforts are shoehorned in ostensibly to help viewers much better remember slide data. Actually they shift the focus away from your primary objective.
5. Plan it out.
Before creating your presentation, create a basic outline that highlights most of your concept, how you plan to have it across, and how many 35mm slides in total it should take. After that, draft your slides. Come out, review them, and cut back wherever possible.
6. Consider the 7x7x7.
If you really want to go all-in on the 7×7 rule, think about adding another 7 plus aiming for no more than 7 terms in each line, a maximum of 7 lines on every slide, and no more than seven slides in total. It’s not simple — but offers a far better chance of getting your point across.
7×7 Rule in Powerpoint Illustrations
So what does the 7×7 rule look like in practice? It’s one thing to talk about building a better slide, but it’s easy to fall back into bad habits when it’s time to put together the presentation. It makes sense; content creators are often trying to convey a substantial amount of information in a short period of time, and it’s simple to get sidetracked by the notion that every piece of data must be included to make the meeting profitable.
Let’s start with a glide that’s substantially removed from the particular 7×7 rule:
There’s a lot in order to unpack here. We’re using too many lines and a lot of words per line. Outlines are complex without saying much, and the attempt with humor doesn’t add anything at all.
Let’s try again:
This one is better — we’ve reduced the amount of lines to 7 and lost the joke, but most of the lines still have more than 7 words and the text is overly convoluted.
Let’s try one more time:
This slide is clear and concise, and most lines have less than 7 character types. It offers the same information because the first two versions — it’s just more effective plus efficient.
The 7×7 Answer
While using 7 lines associated with text with 7 phrases or less isn’t the silver bullet for all PowerPoint-related problems, it’s a good starting point for if you’re looking to boost audience engagement and limit fatigue.
Bottom line? PowerPoint isn’t normally the ideal format for getting your own point across, but if you need to build a quick-hitter presentation that countries well with your audience, begin with the 7×7 solution.