How To Create Effective Slide Titles

“A presentation is not about what you know or do, it is about helping others understand and remember.”

– anonymous.

Has a magazine or newspaper headline ever stopped you in your tracks and forced you to buy a copy to know more of the juicy story inside?

A strong title is the bait you use to hook your audience. If you have ever blogged or created online content, you know the importance of great headlines in grabbing audience attention and forcing them to stay around.

But do you extend this practice to your slide decks?

If you’re searching for ways to make your slide titles more effective and impactful, read on.

START WITH YOUR TITLE SLIDE

The opening slide acts as a window display for your presentation. Promise a story or benefit, arouse concern or fear, and trigger curiosity with your headline. Cover other important elements like a subtitle that explains or adds to the main title, details on presenter/s and how to contact them. Don’t skim on these details, particularly for online sessions.

AVOID GENERIC AND CHOOSE ACTION VERBS

Many presenters put in great efforts to add quality information, but tend to slap generic titles to slides. Verbs, especially ones that denote action, provide a clear and strong message about the contents of the slide to your audience.

E.g. Your unfocused title – Qualities of responsibility and lasting collaborations 

Improved title — Connecting needs of marketing teams with corporate partners

USE SHOW AND TELL TECHNIQUE

Fiction writers are always advised to show more and tell less. Our suggestion for headline creators is the opposite. For data and statistics driven slides, use your headline to inform the audience about the visual details that follow. This makes it easier for them to understand the exact nature of data you present before them.

E.g. Let’s say you’re creating slides for post-treatment research findings. For a slide with a graphical representation of treated patients with joint pain, add a title like this one – Only 18% of patients report pain after knee-cap surgery

WRITE THE WAY YOU SPEAK

Our previous post on podcasting techniques covered the conversational style of making speeches. This holds true for your slide headlines.  Instead of using formal writing titles, add spoken phrases to emphasise the key takeaway or details in a slide. Be direct, use simple terms, and state the points in fewer words. Your title should not exceed 10-12 words.

E.g. Change this slide title: Road accidents by year

To: Controversial helmet rule reduced road accidents last year

Ineffective titles can affect the clarity of your message you’re your audience ability to understand and remember.

Do your side titles follow any of these methods?