Rule No. 2: Consider How to Start Things Off
Some presenters view their PowerPoint presentation as a something their boss asked them to do that they’re not really enthused about. So they cobble together a bunch of slides that reflect their own lack of interest. And they start out with a title that is merely that, descriptive text on a plain background with a date and presenter name. What a missed opportunity! Think of your PowerPoint presentation as a “package” of useful information what will engage and delight your audience. If you want people to open up your “package” i.e. “listen to you” you have to wrap that package up in something attractive. Of course, that doesn’t mean it should just look decorative and “nice”. It should also be relevant. Just as a book cover gives you a sense of what the book is about, the title slide should tip you off on what to expect from the presentation you’re about to view. Don’t miss the chance to capture the viewer’s attention. Every single slide should do that, but especially the title slide. That is your critical “point of entry”. If you lose your audience there, you might as well pack it up and never give another presentation again. Remember this important point. Just like some presenters are unenthused about presenting, there will be lots of folks who have a certain mindset about what it’s like to sit through a presentation. Maybe they have a zillion things on their “to-do list” and you’re just keeping them from what they perceive are more critical tasks. You can just look at their faces and see the words “You’re wasting my time” written all over them. For these folks, don’t underestimate the value of distraction. Your job as a presenter is to keep your audience from thinking about all the other things they should be working on. You also need to make them feel like where they are is exactly where they should be. All of this critical prep work needs to go into the very first slide, because that will determine whether or not they will stick around to pay attention to the rest. So, make that first slide memorable as well as relevant, and you’re bound to get your PowerPoint off to a good start. Take a look at the title-slide examples below which, I hope, help to illustrate my point.