Monday, April 6, 2015

Billboards and the five-second rule for PowerPoint slides

In an April 2nd blog post at Forbes titled Audiences Revolt Against PowerPoint  Jerry Weissman described how venture capitalist Vinod Khosla viewed slides:

“In a prior Forbes blog, I described how, during presentations that are delivered by people who are soliciting him to invest millions of dollars, Mr. Khosla looks at each slide for five seconds, and then looks away. If he understands the slide at that glance, he looks back at the screen; if not, the presentation—and any possibility of an investment—grinds to a screeching halt.”

At his Beyond Bullet Points blog back in 2004 Cliff Atkinson discussed Drive-By Inspiration - how looking at billboards might help you decide what is important enough to be in a slide.

At his Presentation Zen blog in 2008 Garr Reynolds discussed Learning slide design from an Ikea billboard. He referred to both billboards and slides as “glance media.” Late in 2011 Alex Rister discussed slide design and the Three Second Rule of Glance Media.

The Presentation Process web site has a contrary opinion that comparing slides and billboards is a bunch of bat manure - PowerPoint Slide Design: Don’t Make Them Like Billboard Ads, with the following five points:

1] Billboards don’t need a presenter. Your business presentations need you.

2] Billboards are not interactive. Your business presentations should be.

3] Billboard slide design can grab audience attention. But can they retain the attention?

4] Billboard slides can trigger emotions. But can they persuade with logic?

5] Unlike billboards your business slides are part of an overall story.

On February 28th I said to Don’t make things any more complicated than necessary. I have also discussed how Assertion-Evidence PowerPoint slides are an alternative to bullet point lists. In another post back in 2011 on a Pearls Before Swine cartoon about billboards & pigs & PowerPoint, I noted that you could tell your story using a series of slides, like those old Burma Shave signs. So, you really don’t need to cram eveything into a single slide that could be viewed for just five seconds.

The rustic billboard template came from Presentation Magazine.The billboard for guano came from the Library of Congress.

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