Don’t face it, don’t read it, and don’t rush it. Time after time, presenters start their presentation with the most unfriendly gesture : they turn their back on the audience, face the screen and proceed to read a title that the chair has just read in her introductory statements. They then read their name and whatever else can be read on the slide. With that, they move to the next slide without the slightest pause, and since they are already facing the screen, they continue facing the screen!
At the beginning of your talk the title is on the screen because it helps the participants eager to attend your talk to make sure they are in the right room. The title is not meant to be read: it is meant to be explained, to be paraphrased, to be demystified because it is usually dense in jargon. To prepare for that, simply picture yourself having to briefly explain your title to someone who asked “So roughly, what does it mean?” That is what you tell the audience while your title slide is displayed.
While the title slide is on the screen, there is no need to look at it, not once, not ever (think of Lot's wife if you are scripturally grounded). You want full eye contact with your audience.
I hear you! No reader ever spends much time on the title page of a book, you say, so why should the presenter spend more time on the title slide than it takes to read it?
You may not need to spend more than 30 seconds on the title slide, but you definitely cannot spend less than 5 seconds. People in the audience need to reset their attention on you and on your topic as they move from one presenter to another, and that takes time. They need time to like you (don’t push it though, they don’t need to love you), to absorb your smile, to move from a neutral to a positive attitude. They need time to understand your topic, and for that, you need to expand the title's shriveled meaning with moisture-rich jargon-free words. And finally, they need time to trust you. Scientists base their trust on more than good looks or a smile. They infer your credibility from the other information on your title slide: who sponsors your research, who are your co-authors, and who you acknowledge.
The title slide is not just a signpost.
Don’t face it, don’t read it, and don’t rush it.
More on titles on my blog "when the scientist presents".
After running a research center for Apple, I now write books on scientific writing and scientific presentations. I also conduct seminars to help scientists in life science and engineering science effectively promote their work. The way one promotes one's scientific achievements today, has evolved much since I started teaching 15 years ago.