Using Agenda Slides in PowerPoint


Agenda slides, typically used to help the audience follow a long presentation, are also an opportunity to use contrast and motion to capture (or re-capture) the audience’s attention.

An updated version of this post including videos of the animations is here.

Typically, an agenda slide introduces the presentation, listing the sections, in a “tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em” spirit.  An agenda slide may also appear before each section as a “milestone,” marking the end of a section and the beginning of the next.

Here’s my general scheme for agendas:

  • An agenda shouldn’t include more than four or five sections
  • No “subsections.”
  • Use an agenda slide as an introduction to the presentation, showing the topics one at a time (“chunking”) and then highlight the first topic.
  • At the beginning of each section, remove the highlight on the section just completed, and highlight the section that follows.
  • You may want  de-emphasize completed sections.

Of course, you will construct your agenda slides so that they are consistent with your overall presentation.  However, it’s a good idea to use a different background/layout to contrast with the other slides.

Here’s an agenda for a typical sales presentation:

  • Who are we?
  • What do we do?
  • Our portfolio
  • Our customers
  • What next?

I constructed the agenda item like this:

The text is in a rounded rectangle along with a circle that will be used to highlight the item.
Here’s the introductory slide – each item is displayed, one at a time; the last click displays the highlight (an arrow).
Before the next section, the highlight (arrow) is removed from the first item and added to the second:
 Here’s an example using a more elaborate style:
This is more industrial/mechanical look; the Stretch animations provide the appearance of unfolding.
Sometimes you can use an image that is relevant to your organization or your audience; the following uses a tablet computer:
Here the tablet is rotated to landscape mode, the screen changed and the agenda displayed, on point at a time.  A yellow bullet is used as the highlight.
The last example uses text and fill color as a highlight rather than a separate object:
Here the items are listed one at a time and the first section is highlighted by overlaying (Wiping) a copy of the item with the text and fill colors changed.
Here’s the version for the beginning of the second section – the first item is “dimmed” and the second is highlighted.  Both are accomplished by Wiping a text box over the item.
Have a little fun with agenda slides – they can help wake up your audience.
An updated version of this post including videos of the animations is here.
Here’s a PowerPoint file containing this project:
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