Slide headlines are the first thing your audience sees. They’re also the last thing most designers think of. Sadly, studies show that poor headlines produce poor recall.

To make sure your audience recalls your message, here’s our secret to writing superb slide headlines:

Remember, they’re headlines


Look at PowerPoint’s default slide. What do you see?


Slide headlines, The Secret to Writing Slide Headlines


Do not listen to the slide, for it lies. An effective slide begins with a headline, not a title.

So what do we mean by that? Well, a headline explains more than a title. A title is something like “The Lord of The Rings”. A headline is more like “Two Hobbits Throw Magic Ring Into Mount Doom”.

This may sound overbearing, but it’s incredibly effective. There are a few reasons for this:


Headlines help you stick with one idea per slide

The golden rule of great presentations is one point per slide. This lets you keep things simple, allowing your audience to follow along more easily.


Headlines make the argument your slide supports

This structure is incredibly effective at conveying your ideas. It immediately puts your message in your audience’s mind, then reinforces it with evidence.



4 Secrets For Writing Slide Headlines


The art of writing headlines has been developed by newspapers for decades. Here are our four secrets to writing front-page worthy slide headlines:


Say who, what, when, where, and why

Slide headlines, The Secret to Writing Slide Headlines

In other words, be specific. Instead of saying “Quarterly earnings”, say “Quarterly Earnings Increase by 4% Thanks to Marketing”.

Oddly enough, this isn’t the only way to sharpen your slides with The Five W’s.


Pretend your headlines are the only part they’ll remember

You know how most people on social media read the headline instead of the article? Apply the same principle to your next PowerPoint. By using the headlines to deliver your ideas, you’ll help the audience remember your message. This is also the best way to bring wandering minds back to your message.


Use simple, powerful language

You want simple language to save space. You want powerful language to pull your audience.

To write simple, powerful headlines, consider verbs. They inspire action, prompting your audience to pay attention.


Use numbers

If your slide has a few points to make, include the number in your headline. For example, imagine you’re pitching on behalf of a startup that’s designed an amazing new pizza box: one that keeps pizza piping hot for hours. You might start by discussing why people despise cold pizza. Instead of using a headline like “Common complaints about cold pizza”, say “The 3 worst things about cold pizza”. That helps your audience categorise your information, increasing the chance that they’ll remember it.


And there you have it! As you can see, headlines can have a big impact on your presentation. You just have to use them wisely. Of course, it’s easy for us to talk about writing headlines. We’ve done it every day for years. In that time, we’ve perfected the art of interesting headlines. To access our expertise, contact our team today.

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