6 Reasons the 6×6 Rule Works

In the land of optimal slide text, a more minimal guideline is the 6×6 rule. The recommendation for the 6×6 rule is a maximum of six bullet points per slide with a maximum of six words per bullet. There is a school of thought that there should only be one word per bullet or 6 words per slide total. While this is a great principle to guide your deck, it certainly isn’t possible for every presentation. However, there are some clear benefits to the 6×6 rule to consider before deciding to take the plunge and adopt it for your next big pitch.


Giving your audience little to look at gives them an opportunity to hear what you are saying. They are able to put their trust in you to guide them with your expertise. The 6×6 rule allows you to be the resource for them, giving you the authority, not the text on the screen.


Few words give the audience a chance to tune-in to the message you are telling. Leaving lots of “white space” on a slide helps people focus on your key points. The words on the screen should be an anchor for your audience to hold on to while you deliver the more granular details.


Concise language lends to better understanding. Allowing your audience to fully absorb the text on the screen helps drive your point home. With the 6×6 rule, clarity is always the goal, as you want your audience to walk away with a streamlined message to which they can relate easily.


Minimalism is functionally appealing to the eye. It can help someone with poor vision be able to clearly see your message. Minimal messaging appeals to the masses by simply bringing them in to the narrative, helping them feel included and valued.


Audience members favor presenters who get straight to the point. There is an esteem that can be achieved by saying very little to get your point across. Your audience will appreciate you respecting their time and attention span by keeping the screen free of clutter. This will help your speech say what it needs to without saying what it doesn’t.


Too many details or ideas on a single slide make it trying for an audience to retain information. Having a streamlined text presentation helps your audience cement those critical words, thoughts and ideas into memory. A deck that follows the 6×6 rule is sure to not only incite curiosity, it will give the readers time to take in all that the speaker has to say.

If you’re having a hard time paring down your content or need help getting straight to the point, consider having a second set of eyes take a look at your pitch. At Ethos3, we are obsessed with presentation design. Contact us to talk about the possibility of working with a content strategist for all of your messaging needs!

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