Monday, June 4, 2018

A presentation slide, presentation, or blog post needs a great headline rather than just a title

On May 29, 2018 at Synapsis Creative Tom Howell had an excellent blog post about The secret to writing slide headlines. I saw it mentioned by Rosie Hoyland in a very brief article on May 31, 2018 at Presentation Guru titled An effective slide begins with a headline. Newspapers (like the tabloids you find at supermarket checkouts) have mastered the art of creating compelling headlines.   

Tom’s first two points were that:
A] Headlines help you stick with one idea per slide

B] Headlines make the argument your slide supports

Then he gave Four Secrets for Writing Slide Headlines:
1.  Say who, what, when, where, and why

2.  Pretend your headlines are the only part they’ll remember

3.  Use simple, powerful language

4.  Use numbers

But presentations (and blog posts) also need headlines, as I have blogged about repeatedly under the label of speech titles.

At the beginning of his post Tom linked to a May 2006 article by Michael Alley et al. in Technical Communication titled How the design of headlines in presentation slides affects audience retention. Unfortunately he didn’t dig deeper and discuss designing assertion-evidence slides. On February 19, 2014 I had blogged about how Assertion-Evidence PowerPoint slides are a visual alternative to bullet point lists.

The tabloid headline Dwarf rapes nun; flees in UFO was the title from a 1985 novel by Arnold Sawislak, which was reviewed in an article at the New York Times titled The unholy grail of Granville Swift.  

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