One of the kindest favors you can offer your audience in a presentation is a roadmap for their virtual journey. An outline or agenda page is a good start. As you proceed into the presentation, you may want to offer an additional visual mechanism to offer a map of their whereabouts. This is the role of a “tracker." Trackers are a visual device on PowerPoint slides that communicate where in the overall scheme of the presentation the current slide fits. I’ve provided a few examples of trackers below:

A few points to make trackers effective:

  • Introduce the tracker. Create a slide that describes your analysis framework (e.g. the value chain show above). Once you have given the audience this explanation, you are free to use a miniature version of the framework visual on future pages.
  • Highlight. In each of the trackers above, one pieces of the visual has been highlighted. The audience can see precisely where they are in the story.
  • As simple as possible. A tracker can easily end up too complicated to be useful to the audience. At the same time, if there are just a couple sections to your analysis, a tracker can be overkill.
  • Avoid distraction. As a matter of preference, I usually place the tracker in the upper right-hand corner of the slide. Wherever you choose to place it, don’t let it distract from the core message of the slide.