Day 10 – Optimizing Slide Headlines BONUS

NOTE: This is an “extra credit” post for the 10 Days to Winning @ Work free email course. It will make more sense if you have that context first prior to reading the post below. The course is available here:

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Optimal slide headlines tell a story. First, they tell what’s on that particular slide by sharing the main point or takeaway–as opposed to a mere labeling of what’s there. Secondly, the headline ties into a larger story proving a point. One of my favorite examples of this in action comes from the VC fund Andreessen Horowitz.

In this deck, they tell a story with the slide headlines that captures the essence of each slide, and then propels the story forward. They tell a story with much data that we are not in another tech bubble. And I walked away pretty darn convinced! Take a look:

Putting a mere label or axis title on a slide headline slows down the rate at which folks can process the messaging. For instance, it’s quite common for slide 18 to not have a nice headline like, “But, the funding is in late-stage only” but instead, say “Tech funding by round size” in the headline. In doing so, the reader is left to draw their own conclusions, wondering, “Yeah, and?! What are you trying to say?” You can accelerate by saying what you need to say, John Mayer style, right upfront on the headline.
Sometimes the ambiguity can be helpful as a team is jointly pondering the conclusions together. But if you’re trying to present your conclusions, go ahead and share them, big and bold, and upfront on the slide headline.

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