Creating Effective Visual Presentations
Visual images in presentations, whether for business or for other social events, are idea enhancers. Keep in mind that audience members are still listening to what is being said while the graphics are shown. Why is this an effective approach to present products or ideas? The “double message” reinforces the memory process.
Here are some basic guidelines for making creating effective visuals:
• Use visuals to reinforce key points
• Use only one idea for each visual
• Use only one illustration for each visual
• Make letters big and readable. Presenters shouldn’t have to read the visual to the audience; it should be readable from any point in the room. One good rule calls for titles and main headings to be three inches high when projected in an average meeting room.
• Use no more than three sizes of letters on each visual; uniformity aids in easier reading.
• Use no more than four colors on type-only or graph visuals.
The impact of colors
Colors draw attention and brighten a presentation. Colors can also be used to emphasize key points. For example, when four lines of blue are followed by one in bright red, the red type screams “this is important.”
A study on color versus black and white advertisements in magazines showed that readership of color ads was 80 percent greater than that of black-and-white ads; that sales of the products advertised increased 50 to 85 percent when color was used; and that the retention of ad content was increased 55 to 78 percent when ads are printed in color. In colorful visual presentations, similar benefits should be expected.
Psychologists have shown that when people are accustomed to color, presentations that are not in color receive less attention. In today’s world or colored media, everyone has become color oriented.
Color visuals can be created easily with a number of means from the least expensive multimedia feed from the computer to the most elaborate set-up imaginable by man. Technology is readily available and study results are in. The fact is, using visuals in a meeting or training session improves attention and retention levels, increases the perceived value of the material and the speaker, and creates a more interesting and professional atmosphere.
So, in your next presentation, if you’re not using at least eight color visuals, you could be coming up as many as 8,000 words short.