Creative Toolkit

Headlines Tell the Story

Let your headlines do the heavy lifting.

Working on a presentation, storyboard, or even a social media campaign? Use this worksheet to get your first draft down.

Work fast and don’t second guess your flashes of brilliance. Jot down even the craziest ideas.

Once you have a loose plan in place for the headlines, you can start drafting talking points, building slides, choosing images, and elaborating on the details.


Headlines Tell the Story

Think about it …

What if your audience could only read the screen headlines? Would the story you want to tell be apparent? Would the language and ideas offer excitement and possibility?
Some guidelines to consider when you’re writing slide headlines for a presentation to give OR for a deck you plan to send:
  1.  No one reads. It’s the sad truth, but hey, we can work with it. If the headlines speak directly to the audience, then they won’t have a choice but to be engaged.
  2. Think about the headline first, then the image or text. Bonus points if you write a headline that is really all you need on the slide. 
  3. People will see whatever is largest on the screen. Typically, the headline is shown in the largest font. Use this to your advantage knowing people may not see anything else.
  4. Remember, when you’re presenting live, you want your audience to pay attention to what you’re saying, so don’t let a boring, confusing, or too-long headline detract from you.

How do you know when you have the right headlines?

Great question. Try reading just the headlines, in the order you have them, and see if you hear a story emerge. If not, edit.

Okay, but how do you edit headlines?

  • Write short and clear.
  • Use action verbs. 
  • Speak directly to the audience. 
  • Re-arrange the order.
  • Ask questions.