Good headings describe the contents of your presentation or document; great headings also entice your audience. I once read an article entitled Human Trafficking and Taco Bell Sauce only because of its intriguing title.
Titles are the first impression of your speech or article. They can attract or repel an audience, so take care to create a title that accurately reflects the content, tone and ‘gift’ of your document or presentation.
7 Hints for Effective Titles
- Keep them short, especially for sound bites, posters in high-traffic areas, and readers on mobile devices.
- Use common words—we ignore what we don’t understand.
- Use active words and phrases to suggest useful, practical content.
- Aim for catchy and descriptive (Human Trafficking and Taco Bell Sauce really was about those topics.)
- Try to include the ‘gift’ (aka What’s In It For Me). What will your audience get from this speech or article? Why is it worth their time? I could have called this article Green Monkeys and Arrow Shirts, which would have been intriguing, but wouldn’t explain why you want to read it.
- Match the tone to your content. Use humor if you’re being humorous, slang if you’re being informal, and long academic-style titles if you don’t want anyone to read it want to sound intellectual.
- As always, think from your audience’s point of view. What do they want, like and need? What attracts them?