When creating a slide, one of the best pieces of advice I received was to think of each slide as a billboard.
With that framework in mind, suddenly you have a way to evaluate how good each slide is at “being the billboard” for your key message (aka your hard-earned work).
Great billboards tick most (if not all) of these boxes:
- Have an eye-catching design
- Are memorable
- Are easy to understand and read
- Gets the point across immediately (sometimes within seconds)
- Have a clear call to action (you know what to do next)
You can apply this framework to either your entire presentation design or to each slide.
Is the design fresh, uncluttered and inspiring?
Are your slides clear and easy to read?
Do you have one key message per slide?
Is it clear what the audience should do next?
The problem is that we often start working on that fancy diagram or chart idea, or jump immediately to searching for that icon we hope will impress.
We should rather focus on the first thing most people see when we’re presenting: the slide headline.
The main role of the headline is to introduce and establish what each slide is about. A great slide headline carries the story from one slide to the next.
But most of the time, when we’re in a rush, the presentation headline is treated as an afterthought. In most cases, the headline is just a regurgitation of the one-word agenda point 🤢
What a waste of an opportunity to influence an engaged audience…
So how do we ditch boring slide headlines and create headlines that stick?
3 Tips for Sticky Headlines
The goal of our presentation is to capture the attention of the audience and get them ready to take action. I like to think of this similar to finding a great post on social media – you know the one that gets you to stop scrolling and pay attention aka “the scroll stopper”.
Here is my 3S framework for scroll-stopping sticky headlines:
1️⃣ Be Surprising
If your headline is unexpected or even a bit shocking, it will grab your audience’s attention.
Make the audience curious about what you have to say by hooking them from the start. This is also a great way to change the energy and build momentum through your presentation.
Leading with big statistics works great here e.g. “80% of all users prefer Category One”
2️⃣ Be Specific
Audiences don’t want to waste time figuring out what your presentation is about. Make your headline specific and clear to convey your key message.
Reduce the friction for the audience and make it easy for them to act. Give them more time to process and engage with your core message and you will get the outcome you need.
Ditch the one-word headlines like “Quarterly Sales” and replace it with “Quarterly Sales have shown significant growth in 3 areas”.
3️⃣ Be Strategic
Start your headline with an action word or phrase to engage your audience. Make it vivid, and emotive to help them visualise the outcome.
Take them where you need them to be.
Instead of “Increased Competition in 2023” replace it with “Competitors have taken significant market share in our core product segments”. Even better, intentionally try to agitate or speak directly to a key stakeholder’s pain point.
That will get their attention for sure 😁
🎁 Bonus tip
Package your headlines in some sticky sauce by using alliteration and rhyming. It will grab their attention and stick with the audience long after.
“Poor performing product lines” will be stuck in minds much longer than “Weak sales areas”.
Your headline deserves more than being an agenda point.
Good luck and have fun sharing your work!
Is there a particular area in communicating your work that you currently struggle with? Let me know with a reply and I will create a lesson just for you 🏆
That’s all for Edition #19 folks. Hope you have a fantastic week!
✌️ + ppt
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