There’s a thing that conventionally appears at the top of PowerPoint slides called the Title. And by law, apparently, it must appear at the top of the slide. Typically, it’s a vague sentence fragment that doesn’t help you understand what the meaning of the Slide is.
For example, a Title such as “Purchase Intent” is just a category. Categories look like “Concept Reactions“, or “Key Findings“, and they have the same depth of meaning as a slide titled “Things“. They have zero value to your viewer on their own.
And a Title such as “47% of Respondents Said [Answer] to [Question]” is just narrating a graph. It doesn’t provide any more information than your viewer could get by simply looking down at the graph being described.
😑 And then there are Takeaways, which typically aren’t much better.
Who knows where this convention came from, but we apparently have to (again, by law!) put the Takeaway at the bottom of the slide.
So, with the Title and Takeaway sandwiching the content of the slide, you’re (kinda) telling the audience what you’re going to tell them, and then (kinda) telling them again after you’ve told them—in the space of one slide.
This repetition is totally unnecessary since your viewer can expend the 0.001 calories required to move their eyes and re-read the Title if they need to!
So what should you write instead? What’s more powerful than a Title or a Takeaway?
An Idea is one impactful statement that functions like a Title, with the powerful depth of insight of an actionable Takeaway.
Some example Ideas are:
(And each Idea is directly linked to strong recommendations, which is another topic for another day.)
Then, your viewer’s eye moves through the Supporting Ideas & Supporting Data explaining the Idea on the rest of the slide.
When you read Ideas one after the other, from the first slide to the end, it sounds like you’re conversationally explaining to your client an insightful, logical, deeply supported answer to their research questions. (Which is also a hack for giving your deck a quick sanity check.)
Making sure every slide contains an Idea elevates your deck from a page-after-page frequency report to a highly differentiated, valuable product that helps your audience clearly understand and internalize insights.
Ideas won’t always be at the top (or bottom), but they should always be the most prominent text on the slide. They should go wherever will help your audience most easily understand the “why” behind your ideas.
Again, another topic for another day!
Anyway, give Ideas a try, and let me know what you think.