What is the 7×7 Rule in PowerPoint?

Regardless of its repute for dry content material supply throughout digital and in-person conferences alike, PowerPoint remains the go-to choice for many professionals, whilst different choices emerge that supply higher usability and suppleness outdoors of the Microsoft ecosystem.

A part of the presentation platform’s recognition stems from its familiarity — many organizations nonetheless run Microsoft-first IT software program environments, making PowerPoint the plain alternative for simple presentation design. Simplicity gives the second a part of this recognition permutation since making a primary PowerPoint presentation on a single subject requires minimal effort and time.

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The issue? “Easy” doesn’t at all times imply “efficient”. Workers throughout markets, industries, and verticals worldwide have tales about unbearably lengthy and boring PowerPoint shows that have been lengthy on particulars however brief on worth. The 7×7 rule affords a framework to assist enhance PowerPoint kind and performance by lowering textual content quantity and bettering data influence.

On this piece, we’ll break down the 7×7 rule in PowerPoint, greatest practices, and supply some actionable examples of seven-by-seven options in-situ.

The PowerPoint Drawback

To place it merely, most viewers don’t like PowerPoint. Whereas the format has the good thing about pace and comfort — and might conceivably be used to speak data rapidly and concisely — many shows are overlong and overwrought with bonanzas of bullet factors that appear related however are actually simply digital scorching air.

Most often, the disconnect between look and motion is boring at greatest and worsening at worst. As famous by the BBC, nevertheless, in excessive circumstances — equivalent to NASA’s Challenger shuttle catastrophe — neglected data in an overstuffed presentation can have vital real-world penalties.

Greatest guess? To keep away from PowerPoint frustration and fatigue, it’s time for a brand new framework: The 7×7 rule.

What’s the 7×7 rule in PowerPoint?

The 7×7 rule is easy: For each slide, use not more than seven traces of textual content — or seven bullet factors — and not more than seven phrases per line. Slide titles aren’t included within the depend.

There’s no particular knowledge supporting the 7×7 mannequin as the perfect; some PointPower proselytizers take into account 8×8 adequate whereas others say 6×6 is extra streamlined. The purpose right here isn’t the hard-and-fast quantity however the underlying thought: Minimize out extraneous data to enhance presentation uptake.

Slides can nonetheless include pictures — and will, wherever doable — however sticking to the 7×7 rule helps minimize down on extra knowledge that is likely to be better-shared in follow-up emails or one-on-one discussions. In impact, the 7×7 rule is a strategy to cut back the period of time workers spend pretending to care about PowerPoints and as a substitute assist them give attention to slide data that’s related, contextual, and actionable.

Greatest Practices for the 7×7 Rule in PowerPoint

Constructing a typical PowerPoint slide is simple. Like all enterprise observe, nevertheless, it may be improved with a standardized algorithm designed to restrict waste and enhance effectivity. And with regards to most PowerPoint shows, virtually any change makes a optimistic influence.

Let’s break down a number of the greatest practices for constructing PowerPoint slides with the 7×7 rule.

1. Single slide, single idea.

Every slide ought to tackle a single idea reasonably than making an attempt to attach the dots throughout a number of knowledge factors, tendencies or concepts. Whereas it’s wonderful to construct on earlier slide knowledge as your presentation progresses the only slide, single idea strategy helps focus presentation efforts from the phrase go.

2. Pictures enhance influence.

As famous above pictures are a welcome addition to slides, as long as they’re related. If you end up including unrelated inventory images simply so as to add some shade — don’t. Maintain slides, textual content, and pictures on-track.

4. Neglect the humorous.

Nearly everybody has a narrative a few “humorous” PowerPoint joke that was nothing of the type. Most often, these heavy-handed humor efforts are shoehorned in ostensibly to assist viewers higher keep in mind slide knowledge. In reality, they shift the main focus away out of your main goal.

5. Plan it out.

Earlier than creating your presentation, create a primary define that highlights your main idea, how you intend to get it throughout, and what number of slides in whole it ought to take. Then, draft your slides. Take a break, assessment them, and reduce wherever doable.

6. Contemplate the 7x7x7.

When you actually wish to go all-in on the 7×7 rule, take into account including one other 7 and aiming for not more than 7 phrases in every line, not more than 7 traces on every slide, and not more than 7 slides in whole. It’s not simple — however affords a a lot better probability of getting your level throughout.

7×7 Rule in Powerpoint Examples

So what does the 7×7 rule appear like in observe? It’s one factor to speak about constructing a greater slide, but it surely’s simple to fall again into dangerous habits when it’s time to place collectively a presentation. It is sensible; content material creators are sometimes making an attempt to convey a big quantity of knowledge in a brief time frame, and it’s simple to get sidetracked by the notion that each piece of knowledge have to be included to make the assembly successful.

Let’s begin with a slide that’s considerably faraway from the 7×7 rule:

bad example of the 7x7-rule in powerpoint

There’s rather a lot to unpack right here. We’re utilizing too many traces and too many phrases per line. Strains are advanced with out saying a lot, and the try at humor doesn’t add something.

Let’s strive once more:

example of the 7x7-rule in powerpoint that still needs some improvement

This one is best — we’ve lowered the variety of traces to 7 and misplaced the joke, however many of the traces nonetheless have greater than 7 phrases and the textual content is overly convoluted.

Let’s strive another time:

GREAT example of the 7x7-rule in powerpoint

This slide is evident and concise, and most traces have lower than 7 characters. It affords the identical data as the primary two variations — it’s simply more practical and environment friendly.

The 7×7 Answer

Whereas utilizing 7 traces of textual content with 7 phrases or much less isn’t a silver bullet for all PowerPoint-related issues, it’s a great place to start in the event you’re seeking to enhance viewer engagement and restrict fatigue.

Backside line? PowerPoint isn’t at all times the perfect format for getting your level throughout, but when you must create a quick-hitter presentation that lands effectively along with your viewers, begin with the 7×7 resolution.

powerpoint slides

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