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Rule of Thumb Make sure your message is loud and clear by following the 10/20/30 rule of Powerpoint.

By Guy Kawasaki

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I suffer from something called Ménière's disease. The symptoms include hearing loss, a constant ringing in the ears and vertigo. There are many medical theories about its cause, but I have a different theory: As a venture capitalist, I have to listen to hundreds of entrepreneurs pitch their companies. Most of these pitches are crap: 60 slides about "patent pending," "first-mover advantage," and "all we have to do is get 1 percent of the people in China to buy our product." These pitches are so lousy that I'm losing my hearing, there's a constant ringing in my ears, and every once in a while, the world starts spinning.

Before there's an epidemic of Ménière's disease in the VC community, I'm trying to evangelize the 10/20/30 rule of PowerPoint presentations. It's quite simple: A PowerPoint presentation should have 10 slides, last no more than 20 minutes and contain no font smaller than 30 points. This rule is applicable not only for presentations to venture capitalists, but also for any presentation used to reach an agreement: raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc.

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