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Ash RoyMay 15, 2024 10:16:05 AM13 min read

230. Guy Kawasaki 10 20 30 Rule: How to Make a Presentation

230. Guy Kawasaki 10 20 30 Rule: How to Make a Presentation



Guy Kawasaki is a renowned author, speaker, and former Chief Evangelist at Apple. With decades of experience in marketing and venture capital, Guy is a master of pitching and presenting. He's famous for his practical wisdom and his 10-20-30 rule, which has revolutionized the way we think about presentations.

In this episode, Guy shares his invaluable insights on making a remarkable pitch. Subscribe now for more great content, and visit for early access to our interviews.

Let's dive in and learn from the best—here's Guy Kawasaki on mastering your pitch!

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00:00 Mastering the Art of Pitching with Guy Kawasaki

00:28 Guy Kawasaki's 10/20/30 Rule for Great Pitches 0

1:17 Breaking Down the 10/20/30 Rule In-Depth

02:48 Tips to Perfect Your Presentation Skills

04:47 The Importance of Practice for Successful Pitches

06:13 Understanding Your Audience for Effective Pitching

07:37 Building Rapport Before You Present

09:41 The Power of Storytelling in Presentations

11:14The True Purpose of a Pitch: Staying in the Game

13:01 Closing Thoughts and How to Access More Insights

Ash Roy and Guy Kawasaki Video Transcript (This transcript has been auto-generated. Artificial Intelligence is still in the process of perfecting itself. There may be some errors in transcription):

Ash Roy:

Want to master the art of pitching? 


Guy Kawasaki:

If you want to make a remarkable pitch, don't be a dumbass.  Now, I don't mean you, Ash, I mean you, the listeners. So in the next few minutes, I'm going to give you everything you need to know about how to make a remarkable pitch. 


Ash Roy:

Have you ever tried making a presentation and all you wanted to hear was  But instead, all you heard was 

In this video, Guy Kawasaki is going to reveal his 10 20 30 rule for making great pitches and presentations, with a little help from me. For me. And just so you know, Guy didn't really hold back in our conversation. 


Guy Kawasaki:

If you think that I'm a natural, let me tell you something. When Steve Jobs gave a presentation at Macworld, he worked for weeks on the presentation.


Weeks. Okay. And let me be subtle. 


Ash Roy:

You are not Steve Jobs. We covered a range of exciting topics, including storytelling techniques. the impact of artificial intelligence, we discuss the growth versus the fixed mindset, and I'll be sharing these insightful discussions in future episodes, so be sure to hit the subscribe button for more.


But for now, let's focus on perfecting your pitches and presentations. Here's Guy Kawasaki. Pitching is so important. I love your 10 20 30 rule. Do you want to share that with our audience? And sure, sure pitches. 


Guy Kawasaki:

Okay. So in the next few minutes, I'm going to give you everything you need to know about how to make a remarkable pitch.


Now, I don't mean you, Ash. I mean, you, the listeners, by very fact that you're listening to this podcast, it shows that you're smart. And now that I know you're smart, I'm going to just show you. I have 88 techniques in this book. And I'm going to tell you one right now, so now you have to wonder about the other 87.


Okay, so if you want to make a remarkable pitch, a remarkable presentation, some of it is just mechanics. So number one is this 10 20 30 rule. 10 20 30 rule says that you should use about 10 slides. Not the 50 that you think you need. Human beings cannot handle 50 ideas. 10 slides. You should be able to give those 10 slides in 20 minutes.


And the minimum font size is 30. And I force you to a large font size, so that you don't put lots of text and complete sentences. Because the point of a slide, is that Your audience looks at the slide for a second, reads it, and then is back to looking at you. You want your audience watching you, not reading 500 words on a slide.


So it's the glance test. At a glance, I can see what the slide says, okay? Now, some fine points for you. I think that you should just use a black or dark background and you should use a white font because that's the easiest to read. And if you think about it, have you ever gone to a movie and at the end of the movie, the credits is black text on the white background.


Never. And why is that? Because white text on black is easier to read than black text on white. So, duh, just do that. Okay. Number two, don't have these, like, really artistic, kind of fancy, flowy, feathery fonts. Just use Arial or Helvetica. And, and I mean, a lot of people say, I want to use this fancy font and all that because it shows creativity. 


You are a dumbass. If you think people are going to look at your feathery, fancy font and say, Oh, that person is creative. I'm going to write him a check for 2, 000, 000. You are on some hard, illegal drugs, okay? So, Ariel or Helvetica. And then, on any given page, you have one graphic. Not 15 graphics so that at a glance I got to say, okay, I got that picture.


I got that picture. I got that picture. I got that picture. I got that picture. I got that. Oh, what did he just say?  What their eyes riveted on you. Next tip is your slide should have one place. That everybody immediately looks at, right? It's not like five parallels pictures and like, which one should I look at?


That one, that one, that one. There's like one thing that everybody looks at, you know, it's the central focus of that. Okay. So now we've perfected your slides, dark background, white text, one picture. 30 points at least, you know, maybe 15 or 20 words total on the slide. Okay, now that's a slide. Now, next point is, don't be a dumbass.


If you think that I am a natural and I'm going to rise to the occasion and I can give this presentation without practice because I'm a natural. Let me tell you something. When Steve jobs gave a presentation at Mac world, he worked for weeks on the presentation weeks. Okay. And let me be subtle. You are not Steve Jobs. 


So if Steve jobs needs weeks, arguably you might need years. Okay. So get over this thing that you're a natural, or you're going to rise to the occasion. You ain't, so that's one practice. The next thing is. You get to the venue and you get there early because you don't want to end there in this like frantic state that, Oh my God, I'm late.


I got to go plug in the projector and I got to do all these, get there early. Don't be stupid and bring two of everything, two laptops, two mice, two cables, two, everything. Because when you show up for a pitch and you say, Oh, my laptop just crashed. I can't, my mouse just crashed. You may think that's a reasonable excuse, but most people in the audience would think, ah, dumbass.


Dumbass doesn't have backup. You, you, you're not trying to convince people you're a dumbass. Okay. That, that seems like a duh ism, but so show up with two of everything. And then before you show up, you do as much research as you can about the audience. Now it may be a large conference, so you got to figure out, you know, what are their titles?


Are there CXOs? Are there managers? Are there directors? Are there individual contributors? Are they vendors? Are they customers? Are they end users? You know, what kind of people are in the audience? Now, if you're pitching to a smaller group, then you really should just get on LinkedIn  and you need to know what everybody's background is.


And the reason why this is useful is because it helps you build bridges.  So if you go into a room and there's 10 people there, and you know that three people like to surf, well, now you have an opening. You can talk about surfing. You know, I just got to Australia. I'm here to raise money, but I got to tell you, the first thing I did is I went to Bondi because I love surfing.


And the three people in the audience would say, yeah,  that's our kind of guy. That's our kind of gal. We share surfing and you can only do that by researching or, you know, let's say three people went to the University of New South Wales and I say, okay, I'm an adjunct professor at University of New South Wales and I surf and I can write the check for you right there.


So that's why you got to do all that research. The last thing in any kind of presentation. You try to circulate with the audience before the speech or before the presentation. And you know what, you go into that audience and if they want to take selfies, you take selfies, you do whatever, you autograph, you do selfies, you shake and bake and you meet and greet.


Because when you start that speech, you want to be up there and you want to look at all these smiling faces and they're smiling because you showed enough class. To meet them before the presentation and take a selfie with them or autograph for them or do something for them. So now all this karma is all these people want you to succeed because it's such a humble, nice guy.


And I'm telling you, when you see those smiling faces and you accumulated that Karma, it builds your self confidence. You get self confidence, then guess what? You can give a great speech. And there's a lot of people. I'm, I know a lot of powerful people. I mean, at an extreme, there are some Hollywood stars that have in their contract.


I'm not kidding you. When she walks into the rehearsal or walks into the room, none of your staff is to make eye contact. Kid you not, eye contact is forbidden with our client. And you know, the client has a personal assistant and the client's personal assistant Has a personal assistant and there's a chauffeur and there's a PR person and the PR's person has a personal assistant and there's a communications coach and there's an executive coach.


I've seen, let's just say, a very highly placed executive from Facebook and when this person rolled in, she had an entourage of about 20 people.  20 people to show up to make a speech. Let's just say that when you roll in with your posse of 20 people, hard to catalyze positive vibes. Okay. To relate to the person.


Exactly. Exactly. And then the last tip is when in doubt, tell a story. And Aker explained this in the book is that when you use a Fact, there's always a counteract. There's a way you can, you know, argue that, yeah, you know, sales are up 20% and then somebody will say, yeah, it's up 20%, but inflation is up 5%, so it's really up 15% or sales are up 20%, but your competitor is up 25%, so you're not really doing that good.


In fact, you're 5% the other guy. Whereas if you use a story, it's very hard to argue against a story.  Now, you should also realize that when people use stories on you, it's for that very same reason. Because if I tell you the story of Zuckerberg, Gates, and Jobs did not finish college, that's a story. It's hard to argue against that.


On the other hand, if the person said, well, 99 percent of people who are successful CEOs, The person who's trying to argue with you will say, yeah, but Zuckerberg jobs and Gates didn't go to college. So that refutes your statistics. That's the danger. Tell stories. And when you are being told the story, always ask what's missing from this story.


Ash Roy:


Guy Kawasaki:

That's how you make a remarkable presentation. 


Ash Roy:

That is a remarkable presentation on how to make a presentation. There's one more thing I would like to add that's in this book, guy. You say something very important about. The point of making a pitch, the purpose of a pitch is not to get the sale or to get the investment.


It is to stay in the game. 


Guy Kawasaki:

You know, many people, they have the wrong reasoning. They think, I'm going to use shock and awe. I'm going to have so many slides. So many diagrams, so many things that the intended outcome is shock and awe. And these people are going to be so shocked and awed that all they can do is say, Oh, please let me invest.


And I can tell you in 40 years, I've never seen that work. And so what happens is the next step for a successful project. Pitch is we would like to meet with you again. We have more questions and we would like to begin due diligence. That's a win you celebrate that win. And you know, as long as you're in the game, guess what?


You're still in the game.  So the object is to stay in the game, not to just like use shock and awe to overcome all resistance and close the person in the first 60 minutes. That ain't gonna happen. In fact, I would make the case if you can use shock and awe and get your way like this, probably don't want that money because the people who are writing the check are stupid and greedy  and greedy.


Yes. Yes. 


Ash Roy:

I mean, I think that that's such a great point, right? If you use shock and awe, you're arrogant enough to think that you can influence with your awesomeness, then you're missing the point. I mean, there's no humility or pragmatism in your pitch. And I think a good has to be grounded. 


Guy Kawasaki:

You can, you know, you can never be too humble. 


Ash Roy:

Exactly. So that was the end of my conversation with Guy Kawasaki about Pitching. If you'd like to hear the other parts of this conversation, be sure to click the bell icon and subscribe. So you get notified when we release those other segments. Alternatively, if you'd like to get early access to our interviews, you can join the productive insights membership program, which you can access at And I highly recommend if you'd like this conversation, you should check out this conversation with Guy, where he was on our podcast the first time around. Ciao for now.



Ash Roy

Ash Roy has spent over 15 years working in the corporate world as a financial and strategic analyst and advisor to large multinational banks and telecommunications companies. He suffered through a CPA in 1997 and completed it despite not liking it at all because he believed it was a valuable skill to have. He sacrificed his personality in the process. In 2004 he finished his MBA (Masters In Business Administration) from the Australian Graduate School of Management and loved it! He scored a distinction (average) and got his personality back too!