May 9, 2010

Never ignore your ppt's title slide

How many times has it happened that you are attending someone's ppt presentation and it took you some 7-8 slides to realize what the presentation is about? Well, if this has happened to you even once, it is not your fault!
It is the fault of the presenter. This is a common phenomenon which occurs when the presenter ignores the importance of their PowerPoint presentation's title slide. My strong advice is - never ignore your ppt's title slide, never! There are two aspects on the title slide which I am going to address in this post:

1. The making of the title slide
Some people tend to ignore their title slide while making a presentation. The usual thinking is that first we'll make the internal slides, paste the graphs, images, etc and then name the title slide at then end. This is not the best approach as you end up naming your presentation after you are fatigued making the internal slides and are also down on your creative meter. It would be always helpful if you can spend some time at the beginning thinking on what to name your presentation. The following points may help you on this:
  • What is my presentation about? - The title should definitely capture this to make your audience clear on what they can expect.
  • Who are the target audience? - Your title naming varies depending on the profile of audience you are going to address. E.g. If it's a group of top corporates, avoid humorous titles. If it's for a training group - can use light titles. If it's for the classroom, use the main content/theme as title.
  • If it an informative or a launch/first time ppt? - If you are presenting some facts and figures which is an extension of past work, keep a title which lets users instantly know what you are presenting on. If it's a first time announcement, then you can get a little humorous and add a suspense element in your title.
2. The presenting of the title slide
I'ts simply not enough to just make a good title slide. You also have to present it well to capture your audiences' attention and create impact right from the word Go. Here are a few points that may help you on this:
  • If you start off with your presentation while the audience are still settling, chances are that many will not be able to grasp your title slide properly. Allow your audience to settle, say 'Good morning/afternoon' and ask 'If everyone is settled, then may I begin?' This will lead to instant silence and you can proceed with your presentation.
  • Don't just say your title and jump to the next slide immediately. Attempt to talk about it in a line or two as there are always a set of audience who read slowly, hence allow them to at least register the title properly. Otherwise, in your Q&A session, they will ask 'Can you show me your first slide?' and this may become a subject of laughter after you've put in so much.

Personally, I always start off making my PowerPoint presentations with the title slide. I give enough time to think what do I want to convey through this presentation and accordingly select the words that I use. If it's for a corporate group, then do consult your Boss too before making the final show. Once the title it set, it allows me to position the entire theme around it. This way my audience finds it very easy to connect and understand from the first to the last slide. End result - desired impact generated!

I hope you've picked up a thing or two from the two aspects discussed here and will give due importance to your title slide. Do post a comment below if you have something to add. Till then, happy presenting! :)


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