As I said in part one of this series, you can learn a lot about slide design from roadside billboards and the mini-billboards you see in airports.  10 Rules for Billboard Design  were outlined in an article on billboard design by BPS Outdoor Media (  Here are the last 4 rules with some more Refuse to be Boring (RTBB) editorial comments.

Billboard Rule #7 – Getting attention is the most important thing your ad needs to do so it won’t be overlooked. You can get attention in several ways, but the best advice I can give you is to be creative and do something out of the ordinary.

RTBB – I touched on this in a previous blog – the one called Grand Openings. There are a variety of ways to get your audience’s attention at the beginning of a presentation; the most common methods include telling a story/anecdote, sharing an interesting statistic, or stating a “catchy” quotation. Of course once you have your audience’s attention, keeping it is the challenge!! Using interesting pictures and visuals/props that are different can really help. Like Rule #7 says, be creative and do something out of the ordinary.

Billboard Rule #8 – Once your ad has captured attention, your next step is to create an interest in your product or service. Your main goal here is to make your product stand apart from your competition. Use benefits to tell your target market what’s in it for them; do not bore them with the facts. For example, instead of saying “product xyz reduces fine lines” say “xyz will make your skin look 10 years younger.”

RTBB – Too many presentations are informational only – you want your product/service or idea to stand out. Using persuasive presentation elements like examples, metaphors, analogies or stories can change a (dry) fact based presentation into one that is engaging (and memorable).

Billboard Rule #9 – Create a desire for your product. Give your audience a small taste of your product or service. But don’t give away too much information because the goal of your ad should be to get people to request more information.

RTBB – You don’t have to present everything.  But have the details ready (handouts work for this) for those in the audience who want/need more information.

Billboard Rule #10 – Call to Action – Don’t leave your audience hanging; tell them what to do next. For example “Call Now” or “Visit our website.”

RTBB – Make sure you clearly state what you think is the next step. Get agreement on the next thing that needs to happen to move your idea/project forward.

That’s the last of the 10 Rules for Billboard Design as applied to presentation/slide design.  I hope you enjoyed them; I’d love to hear your comments.

Joe Pops


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