While the general trend right now is very high-level presentations with little-to-no text, sometimes the traditional format of a header on each slide is unavoidable. In this case, crafting effective slide headers is key to increasing engagement and retention. These can be an anchor, especially in complicated or lengthy presentations (think medical) where information is building upon itself. There are a few things to consider when deciding what those headers will say.
Figure out how to say what the slide is about in the most actionable single sentence possible. A good example is changing a header like, “Time and time again we see this pattern making us believe this data to be true” to “This pattern is seen often.” You can explain verbally how the pattern lead you to believe something further. Keeping the sentence concise will hook the reader, causing them to listen to you more intently. Be sure not to give them the “secret sauce” right away. Effective slide headers should result in your audience leaning in and listening to the rest of what you have to say.
Using overly complicated language is bad form. Remember, the simplicity and clarity of communicating at a 5th grade level will trigger enthusiasm and excitement about your message. Effective slide headers will have relatable, impactful language without overly complicating the message. Our founder and CEO Scott Schwertly maintains that choosing appropriate vocab will strengthen and differentiate a presentation.
Avoid repeating information whenever possible. For instance, if you have already established that the sky is blue, there is no need to keep referring to the “blue sky.” Consider using only “sky” unless the fact that it is blue is being artfully emphasized. Effective slide headers will carry your story for you. Consistently repeating the same words in your slide headers will hold your narrative back, risking redundancy.
Finally, make sure that your headers are engaging. Refrain from placing the word “Agenda” on the top of a table of contents slide. If your talk requires an outline, consider finding an engaging summary statement of the topics you will cover instead. Ethos3 is here to help if you are feeling stuck–reach out today.
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