Give the Audience an Agenda

The Cure for Bad PowerPoint, Remedy #5

toxicWell, folks, we're ready to share our final Toxic PowerPoint remedy. If you've missed the test we published a while back (on how to tell if your PowerPoint is "toxic"), here is a review of the test.


  1. Do you give the audience an agenda at the beginning, but not repeat it throughout the presentation?
    If you think the audience will be able to rely on their own instincts to follow you through your presentation, they may struggle. Your presentation may not be as visually organized as it should be.


If your presentation is just a few slides, you may not need an agenda at all, or need to repeat it. But if you're going to cover a number of topics, providing your audience with a roadmap of the presentation and then reminding them where you're at can be extremely helpful.


Agenda slides don't need to be complicated. Something as simple as what's shown below works really well. Just highlight your current topic as you move from section to section, like this:

If you want to be more creative with your agenda slides, you can add some simple animation. In this case, the arrow comes in on each slide to attract the viewer's eye to the section we're on.



Here's one more creative idea for agenda slides. Use an image that captures the essence of the section, along with a symbol that is animated (in this case the underline with the ball) and you have a great way to introduce your next topic and help your audience see you're moving on to something new.

Complex presentations can also benefit from symbolism. In the presentation represented below, we were walking the audience through a model with many steps. To help the audience track with us, we first introduced the model. Then, as we discussed each step of the model, we used a small version of it on each slide and highlighted (by using the color green) the section we were on. Make sense?

Giving the audience visual clues as you're presenting is a great idea. It will help you make sure they're listening to you (top priority!) instead of studying your slides to try to follow and understand the message.

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