The slide X of Y footer
If you feel this is a little over the top, then you may like to consider signposting in a more understated manner. It is a good idea to re-assure the listener by letting them know where they are. The traditional PowerPoint approach is to use a Slide X of Y message in the footer. I have three problems with this:
1. It doesn't tell you where you are – just how far you are from your destination.
2. It reinforces the subliminal message that the talk is the slides
3. It promotes the view that the purpose of the talk is to get to the end, not to enjoy the journey. If this is the case, why bother giving the talk at all, after all the quickest way to get to the end of the talk is not to give it at all.
We have all sat through talks where the thing we want to know is how much longer is there to go, but if you are the speaker, then this is not what you want your listeners to be thinking.
Consider the following examples of slides which illustrate the difference between signposting where you are and how far you are from the destination.
This slide tells you how long you have to go
This slide tells you where you are
Note that the second example doesn't leave the listener guessing completely where you are up to, but provides an estimate of progress: 1, 2, 3 blobs out of 6. Notice also, that the footer on the first slide is in a small font and possibly impossible to read anyway!