‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ is a statement that rings true especially when it comes to giving presentations. When you use simple, clear visuals as part of a presentation, your audience is more likely to understand and remember the message. People might forget what you said, but a powerful image is more likely to stick on their minds.
The following are some guidelines for using presentation visuals effectively:
1. Consider culture
Take time to study your audience before preparing your visuals. This is especially important when you are presenting to a group comprised of people from different cultures. For instance, a color could mean different things in different cultures. What would be considered a pleasant color in one culture could be offensive in another. Besides color, you should also avoid using slang or jargon which could end up confusing attendees. In addition, you also need to take into consideration those in your audience who are not native English speakers.
2. Be consistent
Make sure there is consistency in all the visuals of your presentation. Don’t make the blunder of using different fonts and colors for each slide. You will only end up distracting your audience from the message being conveyed. Colors will have a great impact on your presentation’s tone and mood. Your choice will be determined by the venue of the presentation. If the room is well lit, you could have dark text on a lighter black ground. However, a dark room will require images that have a darker background color with light-colored text.
In addition, your colors need to be consistent with the mood for the presentation. Dark colors project an image of seriousness and conservatism, while bright colors signify excitement and fun.
3. Break down complex data
If your presentation involves complex data, avoid the temptation of placing it all on one slide. Giving too much information at once is likely to overwhelm your audience. Instead, it would be advisable to split up the data into several slides. You could also consider using handouts as part of your presentation. This will give your audience a chance to peruse the data more closely. Handouts are particularly useful when presenting to people like scientists, engineers or finance professionals. Such people are more likely to be analytical when looking at data.
4. Keep it simple
To be effective, your presentation needs to be as simple as possible. Make sure each slide focuses on a singular concept or idea. This makes it easier for your audience to understand your message. In addition, the text on each slide should be minimal. As often as possible, use pictures to communicate instead of words. For instance, instead of listing figures using bullet points, you could use a graph.
Besides creating your visuals, you need to invest a significant amount of time preparing for the actual presentation. Practice until you feel confident enough to deliver the message. You should be able to comprehensively explain the contents of each slide.
If you lack the technical skills for creating presentation visuals, you could consider outsourcing the work to a professional.