DIY Evaluation

Killer {Powerpoint} Slide Titles, and Why You Need Them

So you’ve got your evaluation essentials down:

Logic Model-check

Evaluation plan-check

Methods and tools-check and check

Engaged your stakeholders for the final stamp of approval…check

Collected and analyzed awesome data-check

Powerpoint deck with a few cute clip art pictures-check

So, why do you need killer PowerPoint slide titles? (see list above)

If this is what you’re going for you don’t need them…

If you’re not going to be a data viz wiz, you can at least work on the slide titles a bit to keep viewers engaged and focused. After all the hard work is done with developing and completing an evaluation you want people to perk up and not only listen, but be engaged and  to be active participants in your presentation. I found this awesome post resource by Heidi Cohen,  Killer Blog Post Titles: Why You Need Them. Below, I’ve made it relevant to the issue of dry slide titles.

5 Blog PowerPoint Slide Title Guidelines:

Tips to help make your slide titles more effective at attracting stakeholders, engaging them, and keeping them engaged.

  1. Provides a benefit for your stakeholders. Put yourself in your stakeholder’s seat. They’re thinking “What value is the information on these slides going to bring to me and the work that I do?”, “Will I get answers to the key questions the evaluation was supposed to answer?”, “How will this information affect other stakeholders?”
  2. Has a sense of urgency, to help people focus on the “action” that needs to take place as a result of the evaluation. I’m not a big fan of telling people what to do with their data, it’s theirs for the taking, but they need to use it somehow. Have titles that encourage dialogue like “Creekside Women’s Group Program Reflections” vs “Program Reflections”. Regardless of what is listed below the title and the presentation dialogue, viewers have a chance to focus in on the title as a reference point. In this article by International Development Research Centre Michael Quinn Patton notes how it is difficult to go from data to recommendations without key stakeholders being involved in the process.
  3. Delivers the goods. If your slide title doesn’t provide the information readers expect, they may tune out, at least until the next slide.
  4. Is short and to the point. Remember viewers skim looking for a way to move on. Grab them and reel them in fast. They also have their smartphones, laptops, tablets, other gadgets, and sometimes their neighbors to help with keeping them occupied. You’re competing with a lot of different forces!
  5. Contains language the stakeholders can relate to. While slide titles should be clear and objective, they should also be easily understood by the viewers, modifying for the stakeholder group and taking note of the cultural context helps.
If you don’t want to go all out and do a massive slide title change for your entire presentation try this:
Challenge: make heads pop up with ONE GREAT SLIDE TITLE, test it out and see what happens. Get those titles out of the box!

Thoughts? Do you use any of the 5 tips above to make your slide titles pop? I’m sure there are some that were left out, so please share!

Lots of great goodies on how to improve your presentations can be found via Ann Emery’s Potent Presentations.

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