I recently reviewed several Brainshark Presentations, and while many contained highly compelling content, I noticed a trend across all of them: no one used the Table of Contents effectively. As a learning professional, I am a huge fan of the Table of Contents because it helps viewers figure out what’s next and easily get back to topics that need revisiting, all while keeping the presentation organized.
There are two parts to the Table of Contents: Slide Titles and Chapter Titles. Slide Titles are pulled from the slide titles in your PowerPoint presentation, but they can be edited. Chapter Titles are entered manually. Both can be managed on the Manage Slides page which is found on the Things You Can Do Menu while editing a presentation.
Here are 3 tips for creating the most effective slide and chapter titles:
Keep your Slide Titles short. Ideally you want slide titles to be less than 15 characters because that is what fits on one line in the Table of Contents. Short titles make it easier for the viewer to scan and find the desired slide. Instead of “What Should You Do Next?” how about just “Next Steps.”
Use Chapter Titles to organize sections of material. For example, if you have several case studies, set the chapter title to Case Studies and the slide titles to one or two key words related to the case (perhaps it is the company name, maybe the industry, or some other identifying name).
When you incorporate video into a presentation, divide it into sections then label each segment with slide and chapter titles. I recently saw a presentation that included a video that was nearly 15-minute long which was not split into manageable chunks. As a viewer or learner, it is extremely difficult to follow this type of presentation and figure out how to get back to sections I want to see again. The bonus for you as the author is that segmenting the video breaks up viewing data so you can use reports to see which parts are being viewed, which parts are being skipped, and where viewing drop-off is. A win-win for you and your viewers!!
Here are two examples of effectively designed Tables of Contents:
And this is what the Manage Slides page would look like for the first Table of Contents. Notice that the Chapter Titles checkbox is selected in the blue bar across the top:
Making effective use of the Table of Contents may take a little extra thought, but will help your viewers get the most out of your presentation. Now that you know what they’ve been missing, go back and adjust your Slide and Chapter Titles in your presentations to make the best Tables of Contents you can. Remember, it’s Brainshark, so changes are easy and live right away!