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Chapter 7. Visual Aids/Graphics A Pictur... > Ten Tips for Getting Visuals to Come...

Ten Tips for Getting Visuals to Come Through Loud and Clear

1. Understand and Make Clear "What's the Point?"

Make sure each chart communicates one primary point, and one only. More than one confuses the audience and often shows that the presenter hasn't thoroughly sorted out the ideas. Two messages on one chart also divide the attention of the audience. While you are explaining point 1 (say, the graphical data), the audience is thinking about point 2 (the conclusions about it) that you put on the same chart.

Write the title so that the point is clearly understood. Titles tend to be expressed as "topics," but it's not easy to grasp the point from just a topic. To more clearly make the point, write titles that convey a message, the point, as if it were a newspaper article. The most powerful message in a newspaper article is the headline. Most people never read beyond that. In a visual aid, the most powerful position is the title. Yet few presenters take advantage of the potential power in the title. How many charts have you seen whose titles read something like "Cost versus Years" or "System Improvements"? As one observer said, that's like showing a picture of a horse and titling it "Horse." Of course it's a horse. Titles like that add little to the chart.


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