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Lesson 10. Visual Aids > Design Effective Visuals - Pg. 42

Visual Aids 42 How much can my visual aids tell the audience? --Here again, less is always more. Too many speakers try to load their visuals with far more information than the audience can possibly ab- sorb. Like your presentation, each visual aid should contain only one central idea, or message. Design Effective Visuals Most of us have probably attended presentations where the speaker puts up a visual aid and tells us: "Now, I know you can't read this but ..." If a speaker needs to apologize for a visual, why use it in the first place? It simply detracts from the presentation. As you design visual aids, make sure they enhance your presentation. Effective visuals have these characteristics: · The information is readable. --The rule of thumb is this: Project the slide onto a screen and stand in the back of the room. If you can read the information easily, then the type is large enough. Use a type size of 16 to 24 points. Also, keep the typeface simple. Usually a sans serif works best. Plain English Sans serif is a simple typeface that does not have little lines (serifs) projecting from the top or base of the letters. The text in this box is sans serif. · The colors are simple. --Desktop presentation programs like PowerPoint give you such a wide variety of colors to use in your visual aids that the choices may seem overwhelming. Simpler is generally better. Don't mix more than two or three colors on the same slide. It will look much too busy. · Stick with high contrast. --The color you select for your type or charts should contrast with the background color on your slides. Use light colors for type (such as yellow, white, and gold) with darker backgrounds (such as blue, green, and red). · Make your titles short. --Every slide needs a title to introduce it. But don't get carried away; a title should contain only a few words, or it's no longer a title. You may choose to use a special color for the title that's not used in the body of the slide so it stands out. · Select a design and stay with it. --Desktop presentation programs offer a variety of designs for your slides. They look so attractive that it's easy to find yourself trying out a different design for each slide. This simply distracts your audience. You don't want people focusing on the appearance of your visual, but on the information you present with it. Use the same design for every slide and keep it as simple as possible. · Proofread when you finish. --Carefully read your visual aids after you complete them. There is nothing more embarrassing than presenting a visual with a mistake in spelling, punctuation, or grammar. A computer spelling check will not pick up every spelling mistake. For example, there and their are spelled correctly but mean different things. If you use one incorrectly in a sentence, the spelling check won't highlight it--unless you misspell it Decide on Types of Visuals Speakers commonly use several types of visuals in a presentation. These include words, pie charts, bar graphs, line graphs, and diagrams.