Beginning a presentation: how to create a gorgeous second slide

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Email this to someone

In a previous post I gave you great tips and advice on how to start your presentation with a powerful first slide. Now that you’re able to craft a great opening slide, you need to know what to do next: your second slide!

second slide cover

Let’s start diving into the second slide with a very common question:

Should your second slide be The Agenda?

I can hear a chorus of angelic voices shouting “nooooooooooo,” can you? The Agenda is not a necessary evil. It’s an evil we can dispense of for many reasons.

First of all, if your talk is so complex that it requires a slide to explain how it flows, maybe you really need to simplify it. Moreover the agenda slide shifts the focus from you… to a bulleted list, setting the mood for a slow, boring, badly delivered presentation.

Doesn’t your audience need an agenda?

By all means they do need an agenda! The best talks are the ones where the audience gets to know the exact structure beforehand. It makes them feel like they’re in control of what’s happening. It calms them down when the presentation is slow and boring and it energizes them when the talk is entertaining. Knowing the structure of a talk makes it easier to follow along. For instance, your audience will think that your first two points were great and eagerly await the third if you tell them it’s coming.

So how do we deliver the agenda to our audience? The answer is easy. We make a pause, look them in the eye and spend 20 to 40 seconds explaining how our talk is structured: we are going to tell 3 stories, we have 2 important themes, we are going to talk about topic x by performing 3 experiments together with the audience.

You don’t need a slide. This is the moment you are making an agreement with your audience about how you are going to spend the next few minutes together. It’s best that you step forward, look at them with an open and honest gaze, and tell them how you’re going to use their time.

This is also a great time to tell your audience how much time you will spend talking and when you want to field questions.

In the meantime your perfectly crafted first slide remains on screen. It’s gorgeous isn’t it? It deserves a little more screen time.

Great. But how about the second slide?

If it’s not the agenda what do you feature there?

There’s not one single answer, but if your conferences are like my conferences I would use the second slide to reinforce a point made before. Let me elaborate on that.

At the beginning of a presentation you share two facts with your audience: who you are and what you’re going to talk about. I suggest that the second slide of your presentation reinforce either of these two points.

If you’re at a conference where there is a skilled M.C. that has clearly talked about your bio and has introduced you properly, you can use the second slide to reinforce the topic you are going to talk about.

One thing you can do is to reveal – if it’s not known – what your relationship is to the topic (you’re the world expert, you became the world expert but you were ignorant about it only 1 year ago, etc.), so as to reinforce both your bio and the theme of your presentation.

You should do this also in a less formal setting if everybody doesn’t know who you are. In this case place a nice picture of yourself in the second slide and give not only a brief bio to your audience (and when I say brief it means you are allowed to use between 10 and 20 words), but also – as above – your relationship with the topic.

Regarding your portrait, when I talk about a nice picture I mean – whenever possible – something shot by a professional. If you can’t afford a photographer, you can shoot great pictures with smartphones nowadays. So go out on a sunny morning wearing something not too flashy (avoid any clothing that has brands on it), choose some neutral background and have a friend take a few head shots of you.

To summarize

No agenda: agendas are for G20 meetings, not for entertaining and informative talks.

Reveal your structure: by verbalizing the structure of your talk your audience becomes your accomplice

Introduce yourself: don’t let your audience discover who you are at the end of the presentation. Tell them beforehand, but be quick.

Reinforce the topic: if everyone knows who you are, reinforce the topic. Answer the question, why am I going to talk about x?

Want more presentation advice for free? Subscribe to Presentation Hero right now.

Not so sure yet?

Click below and you’ll know exactly why I am asking for your email address.

  • Ellen Finkelstein

    Great points! Thanks for linking to my post on how to create a timeline (according to Garr). I agree that Agenda slides are usually awful and have another post called “Death to Agenda Slides” at http://www.ellenfinkelstein.com/pptblog/death-to-agenda-slides/. It’s more in line with what you say in your post. However, it does depend on the situation. In-house business meetings often use an agenda–it’s just that they shouldn’t be a list of bullet points — instead, they should energize the group to get the business of the meeting doe.

    • Hi Ellen, thanks for your comment and thanks for pointing me to your post “Death to Agenda Slides”. Energizing is the most important issue!
      Rather than creating an agenda slide I always suggest to either explain the agenda in an informal way but I also like the timeline you suggest in your post.

Become a better presenter today!
Get exclusive presentation tips and techniques directly in your inbox courtesy of PRESENTATION HERO!
Presentation Hero will never, ever spam you. We respect your data in the best possible way.
Download PDF
Enter your email below to instantly download the pdf file of From Consulting to Productising - Follow the money... and the meaning. You will also be subscribed to a low traffic email list about presentations.
preview cover.001
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
Become a Better Presenter. Today!
Every two weeks you will receive a personal, insightful email on presentations from me personally.
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
Get all the cards now!
You will receive all the cards via email for free. You will also signup to a low traffic email list.
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
Want more presentation tips and techniques?
Sign up to Presentation Hero right now!
Every two weeks you will receive a personal, insightful email on presentations from me personally.
These emails will include: presentation tips & advice, free exclusive videos, invite only webinars, bonus content, special deals & discounts on Presentation Hero training and much more!
Did I mention it's completely free?
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
Learn how to storytell like a pro!
Signup below to instantly receive the Presentation Storytelling Toolbox totally free!
  • A powerful blueprint useful for any presentation
  • Flexible tools to craft your story like a pro
  • A full video explanation, like a mini course
  • The whole theory in an easy to follow presentation
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
DOWNLOAD FREE CHECKLIST!
Learn how to best answer the 16 key questions you must answer when you prepare a talk or a presentation.
* We hate spam and never share your details.
BECOME A PRESENTATION HERO!
hero presentation
Download and keep all the shortcuts!
Signup below to instantly receive the definitive presentation cheat sheet
  • Mac and Pc tips, tricks & shortcuts
  • Use the most useful & advanced features of PowerPoint and Keynote
  • Print this pdf & keep it handy while presenting
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
hero presentation
Download the routine that will save you from fear of public speaking
Enter your email below to instantly receive the 15 things to do 15 minutes before an important presentation
  • 15 simple gestures & habits that can help you count down to your next presentation with less anxiety and better preparedness.
  • Keep and print this checklist. Have it handy next time your presenting
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
hero presentation
Download the extended post!
Signup below to instantly receive the extended edition of the guide to the bird's eye view in Prezi
  • More examples
  • Better explanation of the cinematic technique
  • Save and keep the full post in PDF
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
hero presentation
Download KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Enter your email below to instantly receive the slides of the first lesson of the Presentation Hero Training for free
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
Besides instantly getting the slides you will be signing up to a low traffic mailing list focused strictly on presentations and public speaking. You will receive an informative email every few weeks.
ENTER YOUR EMAIL!
Enter your email below to instantly receive your content.
We hate spam and never share your details.
hero presentation
Download the presentation
Enter your email below to instantly receive the slides of "How to survive the digital world in 2015" for free
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
Besides instantly getting the slides you will be signing up to a low traffic mailing list focused strictly on presentations and public speaking. You will receive an informative email every few weeks.
hero presentation
Download the Prezi Quick Reference
Enter your email below to instantly receive a quick reference sheet dedicated to "Transitions in Prezi" for free
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
Besides instantly getting your quick reference sheet you will be signing up to a low traffic mailing list focused strictly on presentations and public speaking. You will receive an informative email every few weeks.
hero presentation
Download S#!T PRESENTERS SAY
Enter your email below to instantly receive the slides of "S#!t Presenters Say - 15 things presenters should (really) stop saying" for free
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
Besides instantly getting the slides you will be signing up to a low traffic mailing list focused strictly on presentations and public speaking. You will receive an informative email every few weeks.
hero presentation
Get the definitive presentation cheat sheet
Signup below to instantly receive the best presentation shortcuts and tricks
  • Mac and Pc tips, tricks & shortcuts
  • Use the most useful & advanced features of PowerPoint and Keynote
  • Print this pdf & keep it handy while presenting
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
hero presentation
Besides instantly getting the slides you will be signing up to a low traffic mailing list focused strictly on presentations and public speaking.
Download 10 Presentation Tips in Under 10 Minutes
Enter your email below to instantly receive the slides of 10 Presentation Tips in Under 10 Minutes
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.