1-6-6 Rule for Presentations
Last updated on September 15th, 2023
As public speakers, presenters, and presentation designers, we’re always looking for strategies to make our content more impactful. One such approach is the “1-6-6 Rule” – a simple yet effective guideline for PowerPoint presentations, Google Slides, and other digital presentation platforms.
The 1-6-6 Rule Explained
The 1-6-6 Rule offers a straightforward prescription for organizing your slide layout:
- One main idea per slide
- Six bullet points per slide
- Six words per bullet point
Whether you’re working with pre-designed slide templates or creating custom designs, this rule provides a robust framework to structure your content effectively.
Benefits of the 1-6-6 Rule
Applying the 1-6-6 rule can revolutionize your presentation design approach, offering several key benefits:
- Clarity: Concentrating on one main idea per slide helps to maintain a clear and coherent narrative throughout your presentation. The rule of having one main idea per slide helps to keep your message clear and focused.
- Engagement: By avoiding text-heavy slides, you keep the audience’s attention and stimulate interest and curiosity. By keeping six bullet points per slide you prevent information overload and maintain the audience attention.
- Memorability: Simplicity aids retention with six words per bullet point. With fewer points and words, your audience is more likely to remember the key takeaways.
Examples of The 1-6-6 Rule in Action
Consider a presentation about ‘Effective Remote Team Management.’
A slide titled ‘Communication Best Practices’ might feature six bullet points, each with six words or less:
- Frequent Check-Ins
- Clear Expectations
- Open Feedback Channels
- Shared Team Goals
- Recognize Achievements
- Promote Informal Interactions
Similarly, in a presentation about ‘Sustainable Business Practices,’ a slide discussing ‘Benefits of Sustainability’ might include:
- Cost Savings
- Improved Brand Image
- Customer Loyalty
- Investor Appeal
- Regulatory Compliance
- Employee Engagement
These examples illustrate the 1-6-6 Rule in action, and how it facilitates a clear, concise, and engaging slide design, enhancing the overall effectiveness of your presentations.
Alternatives to the 1-6-6 Rule
While the 1-6-6 rule is an excellent guideline, it’s not the only way to design compelling presentations. Other methods focus on different aspects of slide design, such as:
- The 10/20/30 Rule: This rule advocates for 10 slides, presented over 20 minutes, with no font smaller than 30 points.
- The 5/5/5 Rule: Here, the suggestion is to use no more than five words per line, five lines per slide, and five text-heavy slides in a row.
The 1-6-6 rule provides a solid foundation for creating clear, engaging PowerPoint presentations or Google Slides. It fosters efficient communication, enhancing the audience’s ability to absorb and retain the information. However, it’s just one tool in a presenter’s toolkit. The key to effective presentation design is to understand your audience, your content, and your context, then select the tools and techniques that best meet your specific needs. If you want to explore other ways to design our structure your presentations, we recommend you to read the article on 4W1H method.