Make your slide explain “So what?” – Secret #13 of star presenters, by Jean-Luc Doumont [Video]

Check out this 1-minute video clip (from a 1-hour talk) by Jean-Luc Doumont. In the clip, the speaker critiques a shot of a sample slide (which is the white area on his own grey slide).

As you’ll see, the sample slide contains just its title and a simple chart:

Did you see how the sample slide’s title makes a classic (and very common) mistake? Namely, it simply “parrots” what’s on the slide, saying:

Evolution of the number of candidates 1989-2012

And sure enough, the chart on the slide offers no surprises: It’s a line graph labelled “Number of candidates” – with an x-axis from 1989 to 2012.

As the slide offers no surprises, and no insights, it’s of no interest to the audience. So, they’ll be turned off by it, and they’ll tune out.

Don’t make that mistake with your slides!

Don’t make that mistake with your slides!

As Jean-Luc pointedly asks:

“What is this title telling you – that you did not
already know from looking at the graph?”

The answer? Absolutely nothing!

So the clip’s core point is that each of your slides’ titles should express your listeners’ key takeaway from the slide.

Or, as Jean-Luc puts it in the video:

“My strongest recommendation
about the design of slides would be:

Express the ‘So what’ – what’s your point?

To put it another way, each slide’s title should make a claim about the chart or other content on the slide. For instance, the title might be a shorter version of what Jean-Luc suggests, saying something like:

Candidate numbers dropped sharply since 2007

Do yourself a favour – try that type of slide title in your next presentation. (Especially whenever you show a chart.)


Over to you

Please share your thoughts in a comment:

  • What sort of titles do you tend to see on chart slides?
  • Do they just state the obvious, or do they explain the “So what?”


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1 thought on “Make your slide explain “So what?” – Secret #13 of star presenters, by Jean-Luc Doumont [Video]

  1. Pingback: Scienziati e media durante la pandemia: le pagelle di maiLab – Kater

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