Does Your First Slide Give Vital Good Millisecond First Impression

Alas it is an experience I’ve had more than once.

A vigorous debate, verging on the aggressive perhaps, with a corporate marketing officer.

I have strayed from their prescribed slideshow design.

They don’t like it.

Today I’m thinking specifically of an instance many years ago. In a tropical clime. Airconditioned internal meeting participants itching to get into the bar as soon as.

Why hadn’t I started my slot with the newly produced cover slide template?

Because it held no value to my audience, I pronounced.

You can imagine what happened next.

I’d also exhibited the temerity to mash-up other design elements throughout my deck. The conformity sought felt straight out of a dystopian movie setting. Was I to be a Stepford Salesperson? I think at one point I even said, “yes, we are all individuals”. Life Of Brian joke falling flatter than an anvil on Wile E Coyote. Yet I am the Road Runner … beep beep.

What did the officially sanctioned, mandated, cover slide look like?

It had the new company logo – “identity” in the parlance – their name writ large. Rainbow stripes of choice bordering photos supposedly evoking their newly arrived at ‘values’. You know the thing. Could’ve been from almost anywhere.

The funky new work had its place. But here?


My first slide that day set a riddle.

Something different for the attendant snack-munchers to chew over as they re-entered the room after a break.

Nothing to do with name, title, headline, journey, aspiration.

Directly to do with the improvement the salesteam were eagerly seeking.

I’ve deployed all sorts of different slides than those expected as Number One.

Anything that represents the issue the audience is keen to improve upon (or, whisper it, change) is what your first slide should be.

An audience won’t act upon seeing your trigger, credits, logo. Only theirs. The farther you keep your branding away from it, the way better.

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