Slide Maps09 May 2011
Many people who have to give presentations ask that questions be saved until the end. This lets them maintain the flow of the presentation and gives a nice interactive way to round off the session. This approach then mean that in order to reference back to a slide the presenter then has to page back and forth through the presentation. This is mentally cumbersome for the presenter to remember where in the slide deck the relevant slide is. For presentations with a large number of slides this can also be time consuming. But there is a better way….
The aim is to allow the presenter to move directly to a slide whilst in “Q&A mode”. My solution is to first of all create a ‘slide map’ for the final slide. This slide map is like a book index or a site map on a web site. It lists all of the previous slides and can be represented in any way that makes sense to the presenter. An ordered list of each slide, groups of lists of related slides, or even a mind map or diagrammatic representation of the slides could be used. Each slide representation should then be hyperlinked to the slide. Hyperlinking between slides is a common feature in presentation software packages (e.g. Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote).
The creation of the slide map allows the presenter to quickly move from the last slide to any other. The next step is to add a link on every other slide to the slide map slide. Having this link means that during the Q&A the presenter is no more than two clicks from any slide. The link to the slide map can be really subtle. You could use the slide number, a standard bit of text or a common logo on each slide to provide this back link.
You can download some examples of slide maps below: