DESIGNING COMPELLING VISUAL AIDS
* Sparingly use relevant only props. Props should generally be avoided, because they draw attention away from the speaker and suspend the audience’s imagination. They should be used only to trigger emotions, or when showing something is more effective than describing it.
* Use only slides that enhance a presentation. Some argue that the effort spent on designing slides is better directed into enriching ideas. Others see slide development as a way to think through and enhance one’s content. Ultimately, the choice to include or eliminate slides depends on the audience, purpose, and speaker.
* Storyboard the first draft on paper. When using slides, it is helpful to draft them on sticky notes. The notes’ size limits content length, while the adhesive facilitates easy arrangement.
* Practice design simplicity. Every slide headline should be a “so what” instead of a “what.” These headlines should be able to tell the whole story.
* Use bulleted and numbered text sparingly. Three of the best practices to follow when using bulleted text include:
- Begin each bullet with an action verb
- Avoid sub-bullets.
- Use between 3-7 bullets.
* Use column charts for categorical information. The most common charts in business, these are used to display categorical data when each item can be labelled on an axis. Clustered columns are generally preferable to stacked columns.
* Pie charts highlight the importance of a single data point. Pie charts are best when it is important to show the relative importance of different items.
* Scatterplots visualize patterns or trends in large amounts of data. This approach is appropriate if there are too many data points to label individually. A common type is the time series, with time on one axis and a quantity on the other.
* Jazz up slides with images. Vibrant images can enliven a business presentation. Images should be chosen for their relevance to the content of the speech.