Picking the right headings for your slides is very important and can contribute significantly to the quality of your presentation. But what is a good heading? Well, a heading should not be too short, broad, or generic – a heading like “market share” is more or less meaningless. It tells us that this slide deals somehow with market share…ok, but so what? Its informative value tends to zero. Far better is a heading that sums up the content of the slide in one or two sentences (not more). Consider, for example: “In 2012, we have significantly increased our market share in South America”. Or even: “In 2012, we have significantly increased our market share in South America, with particularly high growth rates in Brazil”. Do you see the difference?
Those kinds of slide headings are called “action titles”. Action titles have two main advantages:
1. They guide the reader / the audience through the presentation. They are like an anchor and immediately tell the audience what this slide is all about. All action titles combined should lead to a consistent and interesting storyline.
2. They help you to present the content. Whenever you stumble in your presentation or lose your thread and don’t know what to say next or what this slide is all about, just look at the action title. It’s right there!
You can even improve your titles when you combine a generic, overall title with an action title. The first, generic title indicates where you are in your presentation, which chapter or topic you are currently speaking about. The second title (the action title) sums up the content of the current slide. This method guarantees the maximum amount of guidance and structure for your presentation.
Example: “Market share development 2012 – South America” = Generic title
“In 2012, we have significantly increased our market share in South America, with particularly high growth rates in Brazil” = Action title
Check the following examples: