The "set up" slide, part 2

I want to bring attention back to the "set up" slide. This was the topic of an earlier tip, but every time I help someone with a presentation I'm reminded about the importance of the slide, or at least the logic that goes into the slide. Presenters who have not worked out this logic tend to develop presentations witout clear purpose.

Briefly, the "set up" slide is a slide that comes very early in the presentation (perhaps the first slide). It sets up the over-arching question for the presentation and the logic that motivates that question. As an example, here is a "set up" slide for my talk on how to do presentations.

The patter is as follows. On the proceeding slide (the presentation title slide) I argue that too many speakers develop presentations for themselves rather than thinking through audience information needs and what the audience can comprehend. Te narrative for the above slide is as follows: I will argue in my presentation that slides are inherently difficult to comprehend (bullet 1). I will also argue that scientific information adds to the challenge (bullet 2). I will also argue that most audiences contain listeners of varied expertise and the speaker may not have a good understanding of the range prior to walking in (bullet 3). Given these problems, the overarching question is how to help the audience.

The "set up" slide gives the audience an immediate understanding of what they can expect to learn in this talk. I articulate the overarching question in more detail later in the talk.

Whether or not you use a "set up" slide like the one above, or the one discussed previously, you need to work out an overarching question and a simple logic that motivates it. I would create a "set up" slide even if you decide not to use it in the presentation.

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