Are You Aware of These 5 Essential Slides That Must Be a Part of All Your Business Presentations?
Don’t skip the ritual
Do you remember letter-writing classes in school when your language teacher would stress the need for a date, salutation, etc. while writing a formal or informal letter?
A business presentation is a formal thing. It should have a clear structure and a few mandatory contents to make it informational. Not everyone pays equal attention to these slides but if they are missing, then your audience will notice.
In this post, I am going to talk about the 5 obvious slides that must be a part of all your business presentations as a rule.
Before I dive into the 5 points, let me answer a couple of questions poking around in your mind.
Where does it say that I must have the 5 mandatory slides?
Nowhere in particular. If you do not have them, no one might come up and point it out to you. If you include them, no one is going to applaud even. It is just one of those things that are expected to be there and might be useful to one, a few, or all of the audience members. Think of them as the glove compartment of your car that's always there whether you use them or not.
Why should I needlessly increase the duration of the presentation with the 5 extra slides?
Mostly you move through these slides in the least possible time. They are the supporting slides of the entire presentation such as the boundary walls and the columns and pillars in a house silently holding everything together.
Think of these 5 slides as rituals bringing order and a sense of predictability not only to you “the presenter” but to your audience too.
Let’s dig in.
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5 Unmissable Slides that MUST be in Your Business Presentation
Slide #1 - Title of the Presentation
Yes, the title slide is obvious. No, people still miss out or combine it with some other content.
Your title slide should have the following minimum information and preferably nothing else.
Title of the presentation
Name of the presenter (You can add a photo and your designation and (or) degree if you want)
Date and venue of the presentation
Logos or name of any organization if the presentation is a part of something or the presenter is representing any institution
The presentation slides might be shared with others after the event. Often the entire content is uploaded to a website or portal. This slide will give all the relevant information about the creator and presenter of the content to whoever accesses the presentation at a later date.
Anyone using the information from the slides will know whom to contact if they need clarification.
This is the slide that is on display before the presentation begins. You would want it to be attractive, engaging, and evoke your audience’s interest. So while they wait for the presentation to begin, subtly introduce the topic and yourself to them.
Slide #2 - Index/ Table of Contents
When I have to attend any presentation, I am like a child. Inquisitive. Restless. Whiny at times.
What will be discussed/ taught/ shared in the presentation?
What is the duration of the presentation?
How many slides are there?
Many people have similar thoughts.
The table of contents slide is like a roadmap.
It tells your audience what to expect from the presentation and the sequence in which it will be presented. An outline of what's coming.
How is it useful?
If your presentation is a long one, you can use this slide to circle back after the end of each section. It will help communicate to your audience the links between the sections and the progress.
Later, if anyone accesses the presentation online, they can skip to the relevant slides using the contents.
Slide #3 - References, Data sources
This is the age of fake news and miscommunication. How do you prove your credibility?
If someone else uses parts of your presentation for a different purpose or study, how do they use the information presented by you?
When you put references for any claim or statement or data in your presentation, your audience can go and check its availability and validity.
It shows that you are not making empty statements. It is backed up by some source.
When and Where should you use it?
If you are using a diagram, photo, model or sketch, data table, chart - anything that’s not created by you, put the reference in your presentation.
You don’t want to put references as footnotes in all slides and complicate things. Bunch them together and put this slide in the penultimate position.
One other use of this slide is for you. If you use the same slide after a year or two, you can revisit your data sources and references to check if it is still relevant or has undergone changes.
Put in some effort for a larger benefit.
Slide #4 - Key Takeaways
Play nice. I know your audience should determine for themselves the “key takeaways” at the end of the presentation. Many of the members will be jotting down points as you present and have their own list of takeaways. Things that they liked or did not know earlier.
Who am I to decide the takeaways?
Since you are the presenter, you have a set of objectives to accomplish through the presentation. You want your audience to go back with a set of “key takeaways or lessons”. Hence, the slide.
One that is not really the summary but the points to remember and implement.
And yes, write in bullet points and in short sentences or one-word instructions.
Slide #5 - Presenter’s contact information
I know you are shaking your head at the absurdity of this point. You want to shout at me and say, “Everyone has that slide!”.
You will be surprised to see how often people put up a “The End” or “Thank You” slide at the end or even a “Questions?” one.
You must put your contact information on the last slide. Your email ID, social handles, website, address - any means to contact you should someone chooses to.
What if it is an office presentation?
You still need to put that in. It is a habit that's worth inculcating. Again circling back to the “Why” in the first point.
What if someone wants to look you up regarding your presentation - one that is floating around on the Internet? How will they do it? They are not from your organization or part of the audience when you made the presentation.
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Make your own system
When you have slide decks with these 5 slides, you exude confidence, a sense of formality, and credibility. You send out a message that no matter the magnitude of the presentation, you give your 100%.
When I make a slide deck whether for my own use or for someone else, I do not compromise on these slides. They are muscle memory for me.
I have made a default slide template with these 5 slides. Whenever I need to make a slide deck, I simply make a copy of the same and start filling in the relevant content.
If you were my son, you would argue about who is going to see all this and why I must I put in this hard work when most people do not care about such stuff. The most important thing to remember here is you are not doing all this for others, you are doing it for you.
Do the best you can until you know better.
Then when you know better, do better.
~ Maya Angelou
If you still feel a little lost, lazy, or simply slammed with a ton of workload; hit me up.
Let’s talk and ease your burden of making a swashbuckling presentation. You can focus on delivering the content while I craft that sleek slide deck for you.