In this post, you’ll find simple but effective techniques you can use to engage people more, and make your flow of ideas far clearer than with typical slide titles.
(Have you seen my post on how to grab attention with “ABCD” headlines? If so, you’ll know 4 ways I recommend you also use your whole talk’s title to capture people’s interest – even before you speak. The techniques used here are similar to the ones in that post, so if you’ve not seen it, you might want to check it out.)
In your slide titles, I suggest you use either of these powerful, deceptively simple tips:
In this post, you’ll find 4 simple tips that’ll make your presentations’ titles much more engaging than the titles you might see other speakers use. So people’ll turn up eager to hear what you say.
Plus, your clear and compelling title’ll help you too, by keeping you focused and on track.
As well as for a presentation, you can also use the tips from this post to improve the title of a training event, blog post, or e-book.
To skip to the tips and examples in the post, you can click these links… Or, just read on.
What’s wrong with typical titles?
When you write the title for your presentation, do you usually just state what the content is, and maybe who it’s for and the date?
If so, I’d say that’s a big mistake! To help explain why, let’s look at a specific example…
During your professional life, you’ve no doubt seen more slides with bullet lists on them than any other type of slide. The problem is, so have your audiences, too.
You can’t inspire a disengaged audience…
Because audiences see wordy bullet lists a lot, they’re disengaged by them instantly. And, despite your best efforts, you can’t inspire a disengaged audience to act on what you say!
So how can you use fewer bullet lists? Let’s work through an example to see what you could do instead, using this bullet-filled slide as a starting point:
This is what the slide will look like when you finish the makeover:
And here are the 5 steps you can use to complete that overhaul:
How many of your slides serve double duty? Let’s look at an example of what I mean…
Suppose you have a slide with several contact numbers and email addresses on it, like the one shown below:
Slides like that serve double duty because they’re both:
- Part of your slideshow during your talk
- Used for reference afterwards, because people won’t remember all the details
If people won’t remember what a slide says, why show it?
My question is, if people won’t remember what a slide says, why show it during your presentation at all? That needlessly burdens your audience, who don’t know what you expect them to remember (or what details you might give them a copy of).
By all means, include details like that in a handout for people to refer to later. But don’t overwhelm your audience with details during your talk.
Many presenters give their audience a copy of their slides to look at afterwards – in effect using their deck as their handout. But unless you’re careful, using your slide deck as your handout has 2 big problems:
In a recent post, I suggested changes you might make to this “before” slide, to make it look more professional:
That slide ended up looking like one of these “after” options:
But in that recent post, I didn’t show you how to make those changes. So that’s where this post comes in – the steps are in this 3-minute video:
Do you use a slide that introduces you as a speaker? (That is, with your name, contact details such as your company logo or Twitter handle, and often your photo on it.)
There are certainly good reasons to use that sort of slide:
- When you’re presenting online, if people can’t see you, having a slide with your photo on it helps people engage with you and your message.
- Even in a big in-person venue (with no video feed showing your face), putting your photo on a slide not only helps people engage, it also helps them approach you after you’ve left the stage.
I’m betting that if you do use that sort of slide, it looks a bit like the typical example below. (If it looks quite different, I’d love to hear from you in the comment box below or via @RemotePoss on Twitter.)
If your speaker slide does look like that, this post and a later one will help you make it look far better:
- In this post, you’ll see the changes that could make your slide look much more professionally designed, so you leave the best impression on your audience.
- In a later post, you’ll find video tips that step you through making those improvements in PowerPoint.
You might be thinking:
“What’s so awful about that slide?”
And if you are, you’re right – it’s not so bad. Yet it could be a lot better.
Let me show you what I mean, and then you be the judge. (Or, try out some of the tips in this post, and then let your audiences’ feedback be the judge!)
You’ll find the following topics covered in this post: