Someone sent me an example of a sales presentation. The second slide’s title was Agenda and it had several bullet points. The presentation reminded me how much I hate agenda slides.
Agenda slides say: It’s all about me, the presenter. This is what you’re going to sit through
They announce that the meeting will be boring. Not on purpose, of course. But that’s the reaction of the audience.
Agenda slides don’t give the audience any information on how long any item will take. They don’t offer the attendees any choices. At least, that’s the impression they give. For potential customers, they show a lack of consideration. They also indicate a lack of imagination. I think that Agenda slides should disappear!
What can you do instead? Here are some ideas.
Leave it out
Think if you really need an agenda slide. Suppose you just tell your audience what you’ll be covering without showing a slide. I think you’ll find that you’ll be freer to explain why you’re covering these topics — why your audience will find them valuable. That’s a very important piece of information. You can add an invitation to ask questions, either during the presentation, after each section, or at the end.
Change it to a timeline
A timeline has some advantages over an agenda if you show how long items will take. You’re giving your audience more information and that shows consideration to them. In an older post, I provided step-by-step instructions to reproduce a timeline that Garr Reynolds, author of PresentationZen, created. You can see that post here.
Notice that Garr doesn’t put the word “Agenda” at the top of the slide; his slide doesn’t have a title. One look at the timeline and you know what it means, so why add a title? But if you feel you need one, a good idea is to simply write what you’ll be covering, worded differently from your presentation title. Here are some suggestions:
- Today, we’ll discuss…
- Giving you the best insurance options for your needs
- Let’s solve this problem!
You can use SmartArt as a shortcut. Several of the SmartArt layouts in the Process category work well because they visually indicate that progress is being made. Here’s a slide that I used recently for a webinar.
Here’s a fictitious example that would work for an office meeting.
Use a menu-based presentation
In some situations, you can give your audience some choice. This is a great option for sales presentations, because it shows consideration for your potential customers and engages them in the process. You do this with a menu-based presentation. You create buttons that hyperlink to the sections of your presentation. The text on the buttons replaces your agenda slide. You can then ask your audience which topic they would like to discuss first — if that’s an option for your presentation.
I have two older tips on this type of presentation.
Can you come up with a new title for your agenda slides? Can you commit to creating presentations without agenda slides? Leave a comment!