How does one arrive at a great title for a great title slide? With difficulty. It is the culmination of consideration of the audience needs, the “so what” of your data, the storyboard, the elevator pitch and the sparklines within your presentation. (If these phrases mean nothing to you please check the individual links). It fits within the steps to developing a great presentation around about No7. Importantly it doesn’t happen when you submit the abstract or get invited to speak.Your title slide is the climax of your creative enterprise, not the starting point.
Getting the title(slide) wrong significantly limits the value of your presentation. It is odd but true that if your title suggests one thing and you talk of another the audience will not value the talk as much. This is not usually that they have invested heavily in your specific title, travelling miles only to hear that specific topic but probably because it raises confusion in that most important first 30 seconds. If the audience is disquieted at this point for any reason, it is increasingly difficult to recover in the remaining part of the talk. This applies to a title that is boring, confusing, overly detailed or wrong. Your title is important.
The title should arise from your preparation and gives the audience an understanding of the direction and nature of your talk, even highlighting the tenor of your delivery. “FAST sucks” is likely to be a different presentation than “FAST- is a coin toss better?” and similarly “FAST- making decisions on 50% accuracy.” An interesting title stimulates…interest. A challenge or a question engages the audience before you begin, makes them think and bring an opinion to the front of their mind. This is useful if the presentation intends to challenge that opinion rather than simply presenting a pile of data and allowing the audience to decide at the end. Your title is an essential part of a good presentation. Use it for the best possible start.