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Presentation Titles: Conversation with Sam Thatte

Friday, February 08, 2013
posted by Geetesh at 9:30 AM IST

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Sam ThatteSam Thatte is a presentation consultant and trainer specializing in helping businesses create content and visuals that are engaging and memorable. Along with presentation design and content development, Sam also conducts workshops and classes to teach presentation skills to businesses as well as individuals. Learn more at his website and blog.

In this discussion, Sam discusses his free report on presentation titles called Vital Title - The How and Why of Presentation Titles.

Geetesh: Why is it important to use an awesome, attention seeking title for your presentations and slides?

Sam: Can you imagine a book that you wrote, being called the XYZ Book #8. Or a movie by Steven Spielberg being named, "Spielberg's 18th movie" We all see great titles on book covers and in the movies. We even see titles for plays and the theater. Most of us pick up a book to read or a movie to watch based on what the title is. Yet, when it comes to presentations we are giving, we don’t feel that great titles are necessary. Either that, or we don't feel like our presentations are worthy of great titles.

Vital TitlesNow I am not claiming that presentation titles do not exist at all. What I am claiming and hope to influence is that titles for a presentation are last on the minds of presenters. We go through the process of planning content, building our slides and practicing our presentations in great detail. And at the end of it, when we are asked about the title, we either call it a lackluster name like, "HR Goals for 2nd Quarter" or "Sales team presentation" or if we are feeling really bold, "Top 5 Best Practices for growing Sales".

One big benefit that you get from creating attention seeking titles is that they help the audience understand why you are giving a presentation. I have been to lots of business presentations where I knew the name of the person presenting, I knew what company he belonged to and that was it! I had no idea what he was going to talk about. I didn't know if his talk was important to me or even relevant to what I do and need. A strong title helps the audience understand what to expect from your presentation. As an audience member, when I have the time to process that information, I get much more out of the presentation because I was anticipating what was to come during the presentation. On the other hand, If I feel from the title that the presentation would not be helpful to me, I am now empowered to forgo attending a presentation that may not be of interest to me.

There are a couple of other benefits that are very helpful for you, the presenter. And I would love for you to read about those in the report.

Geetesh: Tell us more about your Vital Title report, and what motivated you to create this book?

Sam: One of the biggest reasons why we do not create attention getting titles for presentations is because a lot of us don't like to commit to delivering a presentation that is confined to what the title conveys. It creates a box within which we are now required to operate during the presentation. It also sets a higher standard for the presentation which the presenter then has to maintain. And all of that is hard work. But we fail to look at the same things as benefits. If the presentation is limited to a specific topic, it is a benefit. If I as a presenter am not able to talk about 5 other things that do not pertain to my presentation, that is a benefit. I hope to inspire readers and presenters to get creative and adopt some of the methods I have explained in the report to strengthen their presentations with titles that spark the audience's imagination.

Categories: interviews, powerpoint, presentation_skills

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