return of the agenda slide…


In a previous post I rambled about agenda slides potentially killing your audience. As usual, the context of this statement matters.  For presentations that lasts hours, workshops that run over days, etc. some more guidance on the agenda might be necessary.  In a flexible environment the agenda could be hyperlinks to possible discussion points… However, in my 20-30 minute research presentation a too loaded “agenda” does just not make sense.

I am currently reading “The craft of Scientific Presentations” by Michael Alley and has been reminded of my promise to do another redesign of my “agenda slide” by their discussion of what is called in the book “Presentation Outline” (p. 143). So I’ve spent a couple of  minutes working on version 3 of the agenda slide.

The words can stay the same as previously (repeated here)

“Have you ever felt bored in a presentation? Well today we are going to investigate this further. We will answer the question “Why are the audience bored?”.  I, <John Doe>,  and my supervisor, Prof Way Too Sharp> have qualitatively studied boredom in audiences, so today we are going to share with you: <why people say they get bored> and <what we observed in observed audiences>. I will conclude by sharing with you the <lesson that we’ve learned> by providing some <guidelines> for delivering better talks”.

Notice the following on the example slide:

  • The title doesn’t state the obvious; instead it states the IMPORTANT, which question this presentation address
  • The three main sections of the presentation is presented from left to right
  • Pictures that relate to the keywords of each section are given provide visual interest. (actually the really blue eyes might not be ideal as it draws one’s glance too much as its rather exceptional)
  • Keywords are highlighted and presented in a different color to draw some attention to key concepts.

I guess few people would try and argue for version 1 of the agenda slide…  (rather odd though how many people one sees doing it the version 1 way…). Lets remind ourselves of the progression…

The choice of picture can be challenging and time-consuming. However, it can also be time very effectively spent as the same “picture” could be used to visually link the various parts of the presentation. Bonus!

What is your objection to this way of doing? I guess the most heard ones are I don’t have time, or I don’t have the graphical skills. As an end to this post let’s quickly take a look at these.

I don’t have enough time…  well clearly your ideas is not important to you… I mean you don’t have to sell your ideas to the audience…

I don’t have the graphical skills…  ok, maybe your slide will not look as if its been done by a graphical artist (neither do mine), but there are some simple guidance one can follow to speak a better visual language.  Anybody’s slides can look at least like version 3 here…  afterall I made that one, and my art background is nil. All skills that you too can learn!

What do you think?

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One Response to return of the agenda slide…

  1. […] can get the audience to switch off before you start. I did offer some further tips in the return of the agenda slide, but of course the start of your presentation should not necessarily be the start of your […]

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