Action titles: provide orientation with clear slide headings
Reading time 3 minutes
Get to the point
This sort of slide title is called an “action title.” Sounds like a stage direction in a Hollywood blockbuster, but there’s an intelligent thought behind the name. With an action title, you’re sending out your message right at the top of the slide. It provides a concise summary of the slide’s main statement in one sentence. If you want to, you can still add a subheading that describes the slide’s exact content. For example:
Action title: Our sales rose 7% last year.
Subheading: Sales trend in million USD
Now read all your slides’ action titles one after the other. There’s your storyline – your presentation’s “golden thread.” (Compare this with using the slide subject or even the chapter heading as the title, and then flip through the presentation. Your audience would just give you blank looks!)
and … action!
A good action title is understood immediately. It summarizes your slide’s contents and gives you and your audience security by providing a clear message. It’s no longer than two lines, avoids “filler” words and provides facts, not PR. If you get too promotional, there’s a danger you’ll lose your audience or, worse still, your credibility.
A few writing style tips:
Use the active, not passive, voice.
Passive: The structure of the holding company is determined by the shareholders.
Active: The shareholders determine the structure of the holding company.
Use simple expressions, not complex formulations.
Complex: Through cost reduction, an earnings improvement potential of 9 million USD can be generated.
Simple: Cost reduction leads to an improvement in earnings of 9 million USD.
Keep it concise – avoid unnecessary words.
Too wordy: The analysis conducted shows that significant cost reductions can be achieved.
Concise: Analysis shows that costs can be reduced significantly.