7.13: Enhance your message through visualization

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Aim: To learn how to create and present visuals that enhance your message.

Draw it
Visual aids are only there to REINFORCE a verbal message.

Here are some GOLDEN RULES that you should follow:

DON’T use them to:

  • Take attention away from you
  • Present a simple idea that can be explained verbally


  • Reinforce a verbal massage
  • Stimulate interest
  • Focus audience attention
  • Present complex relationships that are difficult to visualize

When producing any visual aid, regardless of the medium, always remember: K.I.S.S.

  • No more than 5 digits
  • No more than 6 lines
  • Restrict number of colors
  • Black and Blue for writing
  • Red for highlighting
  • Avoid yellows and oranges.
Tips for preparing visuals

1. Clarity

  • readable for people at the back of the room
  • use upper and lower case letters as this makes the word easier to read
  • avoid abbreviations that are unfamiliar to the audience
  • write all text horizontally

2. Simplicity

  • keep the writing or drawing on charts and diagrams to a minimum
  • use only key words
  • leave some information off the visual which you can then write in as you explain it

3. Visual concepts

  • use charts for impact and to convey your message
  • use pie charts instead of written percentages
  • use graphs for trends and changes over time
  • use bar charts for comparisons
  • use arrows instead of words to show relationships
  • use larger lettering or a different color to highlight key words
  • highlight specific items you wish the audience to focus
  • display a simplified visual summary of complicated tables of information

4. Color

  • black is the conventional color for lettering, diagrams, outlines, etc., but black is not the only color available
  • use color to separate or distinguish one set of information from another
  • be careful what colors you use; for example, yellow is often difficult to see
  • use color to billboard or highlight

5. Consistency

  • use the same style and sizes of letters on all charts and transparencies
  • do not mix type written and hand written letters on the same transparency
  • use colors in the same way throughout your presentation

Tips for Using Visuals

  • Ask yourself “Is this visual really necessary?”
  • Remember that any visual aid can also be a distraction from the speaker and the message.
  • Never show more than one slide per three minutes of presentation; space them at first, more frequently towards the end.
  • Pause after showing a visual for the first time to allow the audience to take in your message.
  • Do not talk to the slides or keep looking at it over your shoulder.
  • Avoiding using a pointer; if you really need to do not wave it around.
  • Indicate on your notes exactly when you are going to show each visual.
  • Make sure that your notes are visible and easy to read from wherever you are likely to stand.
  • Always have examples prepared in your notes in case your mind goes blank.
  • Always rehearse fully each visual as you plan to do during the actual presentation.

Prepare 3 visuals for a 10-minute presentation in which you will try to convince your audience of a suggestion for improvement to their lives.


< Back to 7.12
Use rhetorical devices
        Next to 7.14 >
Answer questions convincingly