Developing Effective Visuals
Garr Reynolds’ book Presentation Zen is a great introduction to effective use of slides in presentations. Garr also maintains a great blog on presentations . Some key points from Presentation Zen:
- Limit bullet points and text. Keep in mind that your slides probably shouldn’t function as your own personal teleprompter. Your slides are for your students’ benefit. If your slides say just about everything that you say, then your students won’t know where to pay attention–to you or to your slides.
- Use high-quality graphics. The clip art that comes with PowerPoint is certainly convenient (and more visually appealing than it used to be), but there are online sources of free, high-resolution images that can have much greater visual impact. For instance, millions of photos are available for free, educational use on the photo-sharing site Flickr under the Creative Commons license .
- Choose your fonts well. Sans-serif fonts are often easier to read on slides than serif fonts . Too many different fonts in a slide or a presentation can be distracted, so try to limit yourself to one or two. Font size matters, too. Be sure that your fonts are large enough to be read at the back of the room. And if you’re keeping your slides simple and limiting your use of text, you can usually use very large fonts.
For more thoughts on these and other suggestions by Garr Reynolds, along with example PowerPoint slides, see his Top Ten Slide Tips .
For an alternative to PowerPoint and Keynote, try Prezi , “the zooming presentation tool.”
For more information about using slides please check out our “Using Slides in the Classroom” Guide!
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Article • 12 min read
Creating Effective Presentation Visuals
Connecting people with your message.
By the Mind Tools Content Team
Apple® founder Steve Jobs was known widely for his great presentations. His unveiling of the iPhone® in 2007 is considered to have been one of his best presentations ever, and, if you were one of the millions who watched it online, you'll know why. The presentation was engaging, and passionate.
Jobs was particularly well known for building his presentations around powerful visual aids. He knew that slides are most effective when they tell a story rather than convey information, so his visuals were simple, elegant, and image-based. They complemented and reinforced his message, and they never competed with him for his audience's attention.
You don't have to be Steve Jobs to give a great presentation, but you do need great visuals. They convey a powerful message about your ideas and your brand, so it's essential to get them right. In this article, we'll look at how you can create effective presentation visuals – slides that connect your audience with your message.
Why Simplicity Speaks Volumes
The saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" is popular for a good reason: the human brain processes information more effectively when it is accompanied by images, or by short, memorable statements. This means that when you use simple, image-based slides to support your message, your audience can better grasp the information you're communicating.
However, many people use too many slides, or they build presentations around visual aids that are word-heavy or excessively complex.
These kinds of visual aids can negatively affect your presentation. Let's look at some examples:
- You're trying to convince the board to support a new product idea. Your slides are made up of graphs, numbers, and blocks of text from top to bottom, and board members spend most of their time reading the slides instead of listening to you. The result? You don't make a real connection, and your passion for the project is lost on them. They vote unanimously not to take the idea forward.
- You're pitching to a promising potential client. You spent a lot of time creating your slides, using many colors, animations, and fonts. However, the slides are so complex that your client has trouble understanding them. She leaves the presentation feeling overwhelmed and tired, and avoids using your firm because she fears, subconsciously, that dealing with your firm in the future could be similarly draining.
- You're giving a presentation to your department to highlight its good work. You want to feature everyone, so you make a slide detailing each person's accomplishments. Your department has dozens of people, so by the end, your team cares more about leaving than their results.
Now think about what happens when you use simple and engaging visuals. Instead of generating confusion or exhaustion, your slides create a positive connection with your audience. People might not remember exactly what you said, but they will remember a powerful image. They'll recall the positive emotions that they experienced during your presentation, and they'll start to associate your brand with clear, intelligent communication.
The results will be profound. You'll win new clients, convince colleagues to act on your ideas, and earn recognition for your team members' hard work. In short, you'll make positive impressions that will remain in people's minds long after the details of your presentation have faded.
Creating Great Visuals
Your visual aids have one job: to support your presentation . However, it takes considerable time, creativity, and effort to develop slides that do this well. Use the tips below to make the most of your preparation time.
1. Be Consistent
A common mistake is choosing different colors and fonts for each slide. This can confuse your audience and divert attention away from your message. Stay consistent with your slides, so that they form part of a seamless whole.
First, choose colors carefully, as color will affect your presentation's mood and tone. Also, think about the space that you'll be presenting in. If the room will be dark (with lights off), choose a darker background color, such as dark blue, black, or gray, with white or light-colored text. If the room will be light (with lights on or plenty of ambient light), choose a white or light-colored background, with black or dark-colored text.
You also need to match color with the tone and message of your presentation. Bright colors convey energy and excitement, while darker colors may seem more conservative and serious. Align the color palette you choose with your subject matter.
Microsoft® PowerPoint and Apple's Keynote are the most widely used presentation packages. They feature useful templates and tools, and most people are familiar with the layout of their presentations.
However, cloud-based presentation tools have features and templates that might be new to your audience, increasing the potential impact of your presentations.
2. Consider Culture
Before you create your visuals, make sure that you understand your audience. This is especially true if you're presenting to a culturally diverse group.
For example, not everyone reads from left to right, and people from some cultures may consider a particular color offensive or bad luck in business settings (look out for examples of this in our Managing Around the World articles). Additionally, jargon or slang may cause confusion with your audience.
When designing your visuals, use images and photographs that reflect the culture to which you're speaking. If you're presenting to a culturally diverse group, use pictures and images that reflect this diversity.
And keep graphics and phrases simple; remember, not everyone in the room will be a native English speaker. Whenever possible, use images to replace bullet points and sentences.
Our article on Cross-Cultural Communication has more tips for communicating with an ethnically diverse group.
3. Use Images Intelligently
When Steve Jobs unveiled the MacBook Air® , he needed to show just how small this new laptop was. The audience wasn't going to remember that it was 0.68 x 11.8 x 7.56 inches; those numbers don't create an emotional response. Instead, he showed them that the MacBook Air would fit easily into a standard manila envelope. This was a powerful way to show its size.
This kind of creativity is essential when choosing images. Your audience has probably seen plenty of bad clip-art and too many pictures of cross-cultural handshakes. Brainstorm creative, clever approaches with your imagery, and look for photographs or illustrations that tell a story in a less obvious way.
Thoughtful images will keep your audience engaged, reinforce your professionalism, and make a lasting impression.
4. Break Complex Data Down
When you have to communicate complex data or large chunks of information, avoid putting it all on one slide, as your audience may struggle to take in all of the details. Instead, either summarize the information, or split it up over several slides.
You can also use handouts to communicate complex information. Handouts allow your audience to look at data closely. This is especially important when you're presenting to analytical people, such as engineers, scientists, or finance professionals. They are trained to be skeptical about data, and a handout will give them a closer look. Once again, this kind of attention to the needs of your audience will highlight your professionalism and support your message.
5. Keep It Simple
Each slide should focus on one idea or concept. This allows your audience to grasp quickly what you want to communicate. Keep your text to a bare minimum (10 words or fewer if possible), and, where you can, use an image to convey a message rather than words: for example, consider using a graph instead of a list to show changing trends. Each slide should take three seconds or fewer to process. If it takes longer, the slide is probably too complex.
It can sometimes be helpful to follow a clear structure when creating your presentation; for example, if it is focused on a document or process with which audience members are familiar. This will help them make connections between your content and their existing knowledge.
Avoid bulleted lists whenever possible; they make it too easy to put several ideas on one slide, which can be overwhelming for your audience. If you do need to use bullets, don't use sentences; instead, simply list the fact, statistic, or idea you want to communicate. Then use your narrative to educate the audience about what these mean.
To simplify the wording on your slides further, highlight the key word in every sentence.
Next, look at the layout of your slides. Aim to use a plain background and plenty of blank space: this will help to focus audience members' eyes on your message. Avoid decorating slides with background pictures, logos or patterns that could distract attention.
Last, consider using blank slides when you need the audience's complete focus; a blank slide is equivalent to a pause, and it will add drama, tension, and focus to your words.
Many people underestimate how much time they need to set aside to prepare for a presentation. They'll spend days creating content and visuals but only a few hours practicing. Allow extra preparation time to hone your message and feel fully confident in your presentation.
First, take our interactive quiz, How Good Are Your Presentation Skills? to get an idea of how well you speak. Our articles on Delivering Great Presentations and Better Public Speaking contain tips and strategies that will help you communicate with clarity and intention.
When you practice your presentation, use your visuals. You should be able to glance at each slide and know exactly what you want to say.
If you're not confident in creating your own slides, think about outsourcing the task to a professional. This can be a smart option when a lot is at stake, or when you don't have the technical skills to create the type of presentation you want.
Consider using an outsourcing service such as Elance , Guru , or PeoplePerHour to find a suitable professional.
If you do, keep in mind that managing a freelancer requires a different approach from managing a regular staff member. Be clear about the project details, communicate your goals for the presentation, and set deadlines that give you plenty of time to revise and add as necessary.
Presentations that are too complex or lengthy can undermine your message. To create better visuals, do the following:
- Stay consistent.
- Consider culture.
- Use images intelligently.
- Break down complex data.
- Keep it simple.
If the stakes are high with your presentation and you don't feel confident with your technical skills, consider outsourcing slide preparation.
"iPhone," "Apple," "MacBook Air," and "Keynote" are trademarks of Apple Inc. (see www.apple.com ). "Microsoft" and "PowerPoint" are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation (see www.microsoft.com ). We have no association or connection with these organizations.
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14.2 Incorporating Effective Visuals into a Presentation
- Recognize the characteristics of effective visual aids.
- Analyze different types of visual aids and appropriate ways to use them.
- Determine how to create original visual aids and how to locate visual aids created by others.
Good communication is a multisensory experience. Children first learning how to read often gravitate toward books with engaging pictures. As adults, we graduate to denser books without pictures, yet we still visualize ideas to help us understand the text. Advertisers favor visual media—television, magazines, and billboards—because they are the best way to hook an audience. Websites rely on color, graphics, icons, and a clear system of visual organization to engage Internet surfers.
Bringing visuals into a presentation adds color, literally and figuratively. There is an art to doing it well. This section covers how to use different kinds of visual aids effectively.
Using Visual Aids: The Basics
Good writers make conscious choices. They understand their purpose and audience. Every decision they make on the page, from organizing an essay to choosing a word with just the right connotations, is made with their purpose and audience in mind.
The same principle applies to visual communication. As a presenter, you choose the following:
- When to show images or video for maximum impact
- Which images will best produce the effect you want
- When to present information using a table, chart, or other graphic
- How much text to include in slides or informational graphics
- How to organize graphics so they present information clearly
Your goal is to use visual media to support and enhance your presentation. At the same time, you must make sure these media do not distract your audience or interfere with getting your point across. Your ideas, not your visuals, should be the focus.
As you develop the visual side of your presentation, you will follow a process much like the process you follow when you write. You will brainstorm ideas, form an organizational plan, develop drafts, and then refine and edit your work. The following sections provide guidelines to help you make good decisions throughout the process.
What Makes Visual Aids Effective?
To help you get a sense of what makes visual media work, think about what does not work. Try to recall occasions when you have witnessed the following visual media failures:
- Websites crammed with so many images, flashing phrases, and clashing colors that they are almost unreadable
- Assembly instructions with illustrations or diagrams that are impossible to follow
- Photographs that are obviously (and badly) altered with photo-editing software
- Distracting typos or other errors in signs, advertisements, or headlines
- Tables, charts, or graphs with tiny, dense text or missing labels
In each case, the problem is that the media creator did not think carefully enough about the purpose and audience. The purpose of images, color, or flashing text on a website is to attract attention. Overusing these elements defeats the purpose because the viewer may become overwhelmed or distracted. Tables, charts, and graphs are intended to simplify complex information, but without clear labels and legible text, they will confuse the audience.
In contrast, effective visual elements are chosen or created with the purpose and audience in mind. Although a photo shoot for a magazine article might result in dozens of images, editors choose those few that work best with the article. Web designers and video game creators have an audience test their products before they are released, to ensure that people will understand how to use them. Understanding the function of different visual aids will help you use them with purpose.
Types of Visual Aids
Visual aids fall into two main categories—images and informational graphics. Images include photographs, illustrations and clip art, and video footage. Informational graphics include tables, charts, bar graphs, and line graphs.
These visual aids serve two purposes: to add emotional impact to your presentation and to organize information more clearly. With that in mind, read to find out how specific types of visual aids achieve those purposes.
A striking photograph can capture your audience’s attention far more successfully than words can. Consider including photographs at the beginning or end of your presentation to emphasize your main ideas or to accompany a particularly important point in the body of your presentation. Remember that, as with other types of graphics, less is often more. Two or three well-chosen photographs are more effective than a dozen mediocre ones.
When you choose photographs, ask yourself these questions:
- What purpose does this image serve? Will it surprise the audience? Will it provoke a strong emotional response? Does it support an important point?
- Will this photograph be more effective if shown with only a caption, or does it need additional text?
- Will the audience understand what is happening in the photograph? Is the meaning immediately evident, or does the photo need some context?
- Would editing the image make it more effective? Consider using image-editing software to crop the photo, change the brightness, or make other cosmetic changes. (Do not go overboard, though. A slightly imperfect but authentic image is preferable to one that has been obviously altered.)
To illustrate the sense of helplessness people felt in the midst of tragedy, a student could use a photograph that shows fear, weariness, or defeat on the face of the photograph’s subject.
Neil Moralee – On The Scrap Heap . – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Illustrations, such as editorial or political cartoons, serve much the same purpose as photographs. Because an illustration does not capture a moment in time the way a photo does, it may have less impact. However, depending on your topic and the effect you want to achieve, illustrations can still be very useful. Use the same criteria for choosing photographs to help you choose illustrations.
Humor Blog – Political Cartoon about Budget Cuts – CC BY 2.0.
The style of an illustration or photograph affects viewers just as the content does. Keep this in mind if you are working with the stock images available in office software programs. Many of these images have a comical tone. This may be fine for some topics—for instance, a presentation on television shows for children. However, if you need to project a more serious tone, make sure you choose images to suit that purpose. Many free (or reasonably priced) image banks are available online.
Even more than photographs, video footage can create a sense of immediacy, especially if your video includes sound. Showing a brief video clip can help your audience feel as if they are present at an important event, connect with a person being interviewed, or better understand a process. Again, ask yourself the following questions to ensure you are using the footage well:
- What purpose does this video serve? (Never rely on video clips just to fill time.)
- How much footage should be shown to achieve your purpose?
- What will need to be explained, before or after showing the video, to ensure that your audience understands its significance?
- Will it be necessary to edit the video to stay within time requirements or to focus on the most important parts?
Informational graphics, such as tables, charts, and graphs, do not provoke the same response that images do. Nevertheless, these graphics can have a powerful impact. Their primary purpose is to organize and simplify information.
Tables are effective when you must classify information and organize it in categories. Tables are an especially good choice when you are presenting qualitative data that are not strictly numerical. Table 14.1 “Example of Qualitative Data Table” was created for a presentation discussing the subprime mortgage crisis. It presents information about people who have held powerful positions both in the government and at one of the investment banking firms involved in the subprime mortgage market.
Table 14.1 Example of Qualitative Data Table
Sources: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/%3Bkw=%5B3351,11459%5D ; http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/19/business/19gold.html ; http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/henry_m_jr_paulson/index.html?inline=nyt-per ; http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/r/robert_e_rubin/index.html?inline=nyt-per , http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/13/us/man-in-the-news-economic-adviser-from-other-side-of-the-deficit-stephen-friedman.html ; http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/342086.stm .
If you are working with numerical information, consider whether a pie chart, bar graph, or line graph might be an effective way to present the content. A table can help you organize numerical information, but it is not the most effective way to emphasize contrasting data or to show changes over time.
Pie charts are useful for showing numerical information in percentages. For example, you can use a pie chart to represent presidential election results by showing what percentage of voters voted for the Democratic presidential candidate, the Republican candidate, and candidates from other political parties.
Bar graphs work well when you want to show similarities and differences in numerical data. Horizontal or vertical bars help viewers compare data from different groups, different time periods, and so forth. For instance, the bar graph in Figure 14.6 allows the viewer to compare data on the five countries that have won the most Olympic medals since the modern games began in 1924: Norway, the United States, the former Soviet Union, Germany, and Austria. Bar graphs can effectively show trends or patterns in data as well.
Like bar graphs, line graphs show trends in data. Line graphs are usually used to show trends in data over time. For example, the line graph in Figure 14.7 shows changes in the Dow Jones Industrial Average—an economic index based on trading information about thirty large, US-based public companies. This graph shows where the Dow closed at the end of each business day over a period of five days.
In this exercise, you will begin to refine your ideas for incorporating media into your presentation. Complete the following steps on your own sheet of paper.
- Revisit the list you brainstormed for Note 14.12 “Exercise 3” in Chapter 14 “Creating Presentations: Sharing Your Ideas” , Section 14.1 “Organizing a Visual Presentation” and the annotated outline you developed for Note 14.17 “Exercise 4” .
- Analyze the two different types of visual aids: images and informational graphics. Identify at least two places in your presentation where you might incorporate visual aids.
- Evaluate the purpose of the visual aid. Does it create emotional impact, or does it organize information? Is the visual effective?
- Determine whether you will be able to create the visual aid yourself or will need to find it.
Creating Original Visual Aids
You will include original visual aids in your presentation to add interest, present complex information or data more clearly, or appeal to your audience’s emotions. You may wish to create some visual aids by hand—for instance, by mounting photographs on poster board for display. More likely, however, you will use computer-generated graphics.
Computer-generated visual aids are easy to create once you learn how to use certain office software. They also offer greater versatility. You can print hard copies and display them large or include them in a handout for your audience. Or, if you are working with presentation software, you can simply insert the graphics in your slides.
Regardless of how you proceed, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Create visual aids with purpose. Think carefully about how they will enhance your message, and choose a form that is appropriate for your content.
- Strive for quality. You do not need the skills of a professional photographer or designer, but do take time to make sure your visual aids are neat, attractive, and legible. Proofread for errors, too.
Using Software to Create Visual Aids
You can use standard office software to create simple graphics easily. The following guidelines describe how to work with word-processing software and presentation software.
Working with Photographs
Most personal computers come equipped with some basic image-editing software, and many people choose to purchase more advanced programs as well. You can upload photographs from a digital camera (or in some cases, a cell phone) or scan and upload printed photographs. The images can then be edited and incorporated into your presentation. Be sure to save all of your images in one folder for easy access.
To create a table within a word-processing document consult your software program’s help feature or an online tutorial. Once you have created the table, you can edit and make any additional changes. Be sure that the table has no more than six to seven rows or columns because you do not want to compromise the size of the text or the readability. Aligning with precision will help your table look less crowded. Also, the row and column titles should spell out their contents.
Pie charts and bar and line graphs can also be created using standard office software. Although you can create these graphics within a document, you will need to work with both your word-processing application and your spreadsheet application to do so. The graph should visually explain the data using colors, titles, and labels. The use of color will help the audience distinguish information; however, avoid colors that are hard on the eyes, such as lime green or hot pink. The title should clearly state what the graph explains. Lastly, avoid using acronyms in the titles and other labels.
Creating Graphics in an Electronic Presentation
If you plan to work only with hard copy graphics during your presentation, you may choose to create them as word-processing documents. However, if you are using presentation software, you will need to choose one of the following options:
- Create your graphics using the presentation software program.
- Create your graphics within another program and import them.
Standard office presentation software allows you to create informational graphics in much the same way you would create them within a word-processing application. Keep the formatting palette, a menu option that allows you to customize the graphic, open while you use the software. The formatting menu provides options for inserting other types of graphics, such as pictures and video. You may insert pictures from an image bank available within the program, or insert images or video from your own desktop files. Shape your use of multimedia in accordance with the message your presentation is trying to convey, the purpose, and your audience.
Creating Visual Aids by Hand
Most of the time, using computer-generated graphics is more efficient than creating them by hand. Using office software programs helps give your graphics a polished appearance while also teaching you skills that are useful in a variety of jobs. However, it may make sense to use hand-created visual aids in some cases—for instance, when showing a 3-D model would be effective. If you follow this route, be sure to devote extra time to making sure your visual aids are neat, legible, and professional.
Flip charts are inexpensive and quick visual aids used during face-to-face presentations. The flip chart can be prepared before, as well as during, the presentation. Each sheet of paper should contain one theme, idea, or sketch and must be penned in large letters to be seen by audience members farthest away from the speaker.
Any media you incorporate should include a caption or other explanatory text. A caption is a brief, one- to two-sentence description or explanation of a visual image. Make sure your captions are clear, accurate, and to the point. Use full sentences when you write them.
Captions should always be used with photographs, and in some cases, they can be useful for clarifying informational graphics, which represent qualitative data visually. However, informational graphics may not require a caption if the title and labels are sufficiently clear. For other visual media, such as video footage, providing explanatory text before or after the footage will suffice. The important thing is to make sure you always include some explanation of the media.
In this exercise, you will begin to develop visual aids for your presentation. Complete the steps in this exercise—and enjoy the chance to be creative. Working with visuals can be a pleasant way to take a break from the demands of writing.
- Revisit the ideas you developed in Note 14.24 “Exercise 1” . Choose at least two ideas that you can create. ( Note: If you are using software to develop a slideshow presentation, count this as one of your self-created visual aids. Include at least one other self-created visual aid, such as an original photograph, within your slideshow.)
- Get creative! Take your photographs, construct a 3-D model, create informational graphics, or work on your presentation slides. Develop good working drafts.
- After you have completed drafts of your visual aids, set them aside for a while. Then revisit them with a critical eye. First, check any text included with the graphic. Make sure your facts are correct, your words are clear and concise, and your language is free of errors.
- Next, evaluate how well your aids work visually. Are they large enough to be seen and read from a distance? Are captions and labels easy to find? Are photographs of reasonably high quality? Ask someone else for feedback, too.
- Begin making any needed changes. As you proceed through the rest of this section, continue to revisit your work to improve it as needed.
Please share the first version of your visual aids with a classmate. Examine what they have produced. On a separate piece of paper, note both the elements that catch your attention and those that would benefit from clarification. Return and compare notes.
Testing and Evaluating Visual Aids
Regardless of how you create your visual aids, be sure to test-drive them before you deliver your presentation. Edit and proofread them, and if possible, show them to someone who can give you objective feedback. Use the following checklist.
Visual Aid Evaluation Checklist
- Visual aids are clearly integrated with the content of the presentation
- Photographs and illustrations suit the overall tone of the presentation
- Images and text are large and clear enough for the viewer to see or read
- Images are shown with explanatory text or a caption
- Informational graphics include clear, easy-to-read labels and headings
- Text within informational graphics is easy to read (Watch out for wordiness and crowded text or a font that is too small and hard to read.)
- Formatting choices (color, different fonts, etc.) organize information effectively
- Any text within graphics is free of errors
- Hyperlinks within slides function properly
- Display text for hyperlinks is concise and informative (Never paste a link into a slide without modifying the display text.)
Writing at Work
Office software includes many options for personalizing a presentation. For instance, you can choose or create a theme and color scheme, modify how one slide transitions to the next, or even include sound effects. With so many options, students and employees sometimes get carried away. The result can seem amateurish and detract from, rather than enhance, your presentation.
Remember, you are delivering a presentation, not producing a movie. Use the customization options to help give your presentations a consistent, polished, appearance. However, do not let these special effects detract from the substance of your slides.
Using Existing Visual Media
Depending on your topic, you may be able to find images and other graphics you can use instead of creating your own. For instance, you might use photographs from a reputable news source or informational graphics created by a government agency. If you plan to use visual aids created by others, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Set a purpose before you begin your search. You will search more efficiently if you start with a general idea of what you are looking for—a line graph of unemployment rates for the past twelve months, for example, or a video clip of the most recent State of the Union address.
- Filter out visual aids that are not relevant. You may come across eye-catching graphics and be tempted to use them even if they are only loosely related to your topic, simply because they are attention getting. Resist the temptation. If the graphic is not clearly connected to your point, it does not belong in your presentation.
- Read carefully. In addition to reading labels, headings, and captions, read any text that accompanies the visual. Make sure you understand the visual in its original context. For informational graphics, make sure you understand exactly what information is being represented. (This may seem obvious, but it is easy to misread graphic information. Take the time to examine it carefully.)
- Evaluate sources carefully and record source information. When you look for visual media to complement your presentation, you are conducting research. Apply the same standards you used for your research paper. Choose reliable sources, such as reputable news organizations, government and nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions. Verify data in additional sources. Finally, be sure to document all source information as you proceed.
Searching Efficiently for Visual Media
You will probably find it most efficient to use the Internet to search for visual aids. Many students begin by typing keywords into a search engine to locate related images. However, this search technique is not necessarily efficient, for several reasons:
- It often pulls up hundreds or even thousands of images, which may be only loosely related to your search terms.
- It can sometimes be difficult to understand the image in its original context.
- It can be hard to find copyright information about how you may use the image.
A more efficient strategy is to identify a few sources that are likely to have what you are looking for, and then search within those sites. For instance, if you need a table showing average life expectancy in different countries, you might begin with the website of the World Health Organization. If you hope to find images related to current events, news publications are an obvious choice. The Library of Congress website includes many media related to American history, culture, and politics.
Searching this way has the following advantages:
- You will often find what you are looking for faster because you are not wasting time scrolling through many irrelevant results.
- If you have chosen your sources well, you can be reasonably certain that you are getting accurate, up-to-date information.
- Images and informational graphics produced by reputable sources are likely to be high quality—easy to read and well designed.
If you are unable to find what you are looking for on the Internet consider using print sources of visual media. You may choose to mount these for display or scan them and incorporate the files into an electronic presentation. (Scanning printed pages may lower the quality of the image. However, if you are skilled at using photo-editing software, you may be able to improve the quality of the scanned image.)
Inserting Hyperlinks in an Electronic Presentation
If you are working with images, audio, or video footage available online, you may wish to insert a link within your presentation. Then, during your presentation, you can simply click the link to open the website in a separate window and toggle between windows to return to your presentation slides.
To insert a hyperlink within your presentation, click on insert in the toolbar and then select hyperlink from the menu. Doing so will open a dialogue box where you can paste your link and modify the accompanying display text shown on your slide.
Copyright and Fair Use
Copyright restrictions are somewhat more ambiguous when you wish to download visual media for educational uses. Some educational uses of copyrighted materials are generally considered fair use —meaning that it is legally and ethically acceptable to use the material in your work. However, do not assume that because you are using the media for an educational purpose, you are automatically in the clear. Make sure your work meets the guidelines in the following checklist. If it does, you can be reasonably confident that it would be considered fair use in a court of law and always give credit to the source.
Media Fair Use Checklist
- You are using the media for educational purposes only.
- You will make the work available only for a short period and to a limited audience. For instance, showing a copyrighted image in a classroom presentation is acceptable. Posting a presentation with copyrighted images online is problematic. In addition, avoid any uses that would allow other people to easily access and reproduce the work.
- You have used only as much of the work as needed for your purposes. For video and audio footage, limit your use to no more than 10 percent of the media—five minutes of an hour-long television show, for example. Image use is harder to quantify, but you should avoid using many images from the same source.
- You are using the media to support your own ideas, not replace them. Your use should include some commentary or place the media in context. It should be a supporting player in your presentation—not the star of the show.
- You have obtained the material legally. Purchase the media if necessary rather than using illegally pirated material.
- Your use of the media will not affect the copyright holder or benefit you financially.
By following these guidelines, you are respecting the copyright holder’s right to control the distribution of the work and to profit from it.
In some fields, such as teaching, job applicants often submit a professional portfolio to a prospective employer. Recent college graduates may include relevant course work in their portfolios or in applications to graduate school. What should you do if your course work uses copyrighted visual media?
This use of media is acceptable according to fair use guidelines. Even though you are using the work for your personal professional advancement, it is not considered an infringement on copyright as long as you follow the additional guidelines listed in the previous checklist.
As you conduct your research, make sure you document sources as you proceed. Follow the guidelines when you download images, video, or other media from the Internet or capture media from other sources. Keep track of where you accessed the media and where you can find additional information about it. You may also provide a references page at the end of the presentation to cite not only media and images but also the information in the text of your presentation. See Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” for more information on creating a reference page.
Write captions or other explanatory text for visual media created by others, just as you would for media you created. Doing so helps keep your audience informed. It also helps ensure that you are following fair use guidelines by presenting the media with your commentary, interpretation, or analysis. In your caption or elsewhere in your presentation, note the source of any media you did not create yourself. You do not need to provide a full bibliographical citation, but do give credit where it is due.
In this exercise, you will locate visual aids created by others and continue developing the work you began earlier. Complete these steps.
1. Revisit the ideas you developed in Note 14.24 “Exercise 1” . Choose at least two ideas for which it would make more sense to find the visual aid than to create it yourself. 2. Use the search tips provided in this section to locate at least two visual aids from reputable sources that you can use. Prepare them for your presentation by adding clarifying text as needed. Be sure to credit your source. 3. Incorporate the visual aids you created in Note 14.26 “Exercise 2” and Note 14.32 “Exercise 3” into your presentation. This may involve preparing physical copies for display or inserting graphic files into an electronic presentation.
4. Take some time now to review how you will integrate the visual and verbal components of your presentation.
- If you are working with presentation software, refine your slides. Make sure the visual approach is consistent and suits your topic. Give your text a final proofread.
- If you are not using presentation software, review the annotated outline you created in Note 14.24 “Exercise 1” . Update it as needed to reflect your current plan. Also, determine how you will physically set up your visual aids.
- Visual aids are most effective when they are chosen with the purpose and audience in mind. They serve to add emotional impact to a presentation and to organize information more clearly.
- Visual aids should always be clearly related to the presenter’s ideas. Captions, labels, and other explanatory text help make the connection clear for the audience.
- Like writing, developing the visual components of a presentation is a process. It involves generating ideas, working with them in a draft format, and then revising and editing one’s work.
- Visual aids can be divided into two broad categories—image-based media and informational graphics.
- Widely available software programs make it relatively easy to create visual aids electronically, such as photo images, charts, and graphs.
- When using visual aids created by others, it is important to apply good research skills, follow guidelines for fair use, and credit sources appropriately.
Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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Blog Graphic Design
15 Effective Visual Presentation Tips To Wow Your Audience
By Krystle Wong , Sep 28, 2023
So, you’re gearing up for that big presentation and you want it to be more than just another snooze-fest with slides. You want it to be engaging, memorable and downright impressive.
Well, you’ve come to the right place — I’ve got some slick tips on how to create a visual presentation that’ll take your presentation game up a notch.
Packed with presentation templates that are easily customizable, keep reading this blog post to learn the secret sauce behind crafting presentations that captivate, inform and remain etched in the memory of your audience.
Click to jump ahead:
What is a visual presentation & why is it important?
15 effective tips to make your visual presentations more engaging, 6 major types of visual presentation you should know , what are some common mistakes to avoid in visual presentations, visual presentation faqs, 5 steps to create a visual presentation with venngage.
A visual presentation is a communication method that utilizes visual elements such as images, graphics, charts, slides and other visual aids to convey information, ideas or messages to an audience.
Visual presentations aim to enhance comprehension engagement and the overall impact of the message through the strategic use of visuals. People remember what they see, making your point last longer in their heads.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into some great visual presentation examples that would do a great job in keeping your audience interested and getting your point across.
In today’s fast-paced world, where information is constantly bombarding our senses, creating engaging visual presentations has never been more crucial. To help you design a presentation that’ll leave a lasting impression, I’ve compiled these examples of visual presentations that will elevate your game.
1. Use the rule of thirds for layout
Ever heard of the rule of thirds? It’s a presentation layout trick that can instantly up your slide game. Imagine dividing your slide into a 3×3 grid and then placing your text and visuals at the intersection points or along the lines. This simple tweak creates a balanced and seriously pleasing layout that’ll draw everyone’s eyes.
2. Get creative with visual metaphors
Got a complex idea to explain? Skip the jargon and use visual metaphors. Throw in images that symbolize your point – for example, using a road map to show your journey towards a goal or using metaphors to represent answer choices or progress indicators in an interactive quiz or poll.
3. Visualize your data with charts and graphs
The right data visualization tools not only make content more appealing but also aid comprehension and retention. Choosing the right visual presentation for your data is all about finding a good match.
For ordinal data, where things have a clear order, consider using ordered bar charts or dot plots. When it comes to nominal data, where categories are on an equal footing, stick with the classics like bar charts, pie charts or simple frequency tables. And for interval-ratio data, where there’s a meaningful order, go for histograms, line graphs, scatterplots or box plots to help your data shine.
In an increasingly visual world, effective visual communication is a valuable skill for conveying messages. Here’s a guide on how to use visual communication to engage your audience while avoiding information overload.
4. Employ the power of contrast
Want your important stuff to pop? That’s where contrast comes in. Mix things up with contrasting colors, fonts or shapes. It’s like highlighting your key points with a neon marker – an instant attention grabber.
5. Tell a visual story
Structure your slides like a storybook and create a visual narrative by arranging your slides in a way that tells a story. Each slide should flow into the next, creating a visual narrative that keeps your audience hooked till the very end.
Icons and images are essential for adding visual appeal and clarity to your presentation. Venngage provides a vast library of icons and images, allowing you to choose visuals that resonate with your audience and complement your message.
6. Show the “before and after” magic
Want to drive home the impact of your message or solution? Whip out the “before and after” technique. Show the current state (before) and the desired state (after) in a visual way. It’s like showing a makeover transformation, but for your ideas.
7. Add fun with visual quizzes and polls
To break the monotony and see if your audience is still with you, throw in some quick quizzes or polls. It’s like a mini-game break in your presentation — your audience gets involved and it makes your presentation way more dynamic and memorable.
8. End with a powerful visual punch
Your presentation closing should be a showstopper. Think a stunning clip art that wraps up your message with a visual bow, a killer quote that lingers in minds or a call to action that gets hearts racing.
9. Engage with storytelling through data
Use storytelling magic to bring your data to life. Don’t just throw numbers at your audience—explain what they mean, why they matter and add a bit of human touch. Turn those stats into relatable tales and watch your audience’s eyes light up with understanding.
10. Use visuals wisely
Your visuals are the secret sauce of a great presentation. Cherry-pick high-quality images, graphics, charts and videos that not only look good but also align with your message’s vibe. Each visual should have a purpose – they’re not just there for decoration.
11. Utilize visual hierarchy
Employ design principles like contrast, alignment and proximity to make your key info stand out. Play around with fonts, colors and placement to make sure your audience can’t miss the important stuff.
12. Engage with multimedia
Static slides are so last year. Give your presentation some sizzle by tossing in multimedia elements. Think short video clips, animations or a touch of sound when it makes sense. But remember, these are sidekicks, not the main act, so use them smartly.
13. Interact with your audience
Turn your presentation into a two-way street. Start your presentation by encouraging your audience to join in with thought-provoking questions, quick polls or using interactive tools. Get them chatting and watch your presentation come alive.
When it comes to delivering a group presentation, it’s important to have everyone on the team on the same page. Venngage’s real-time collaboration tools enable you and your team to work together seamlessly, regardless of geographical locations. Collaborators can provide input, make edits and offer suggestions in real time.
14. Incorporate stories and examples
Weave in relatable stories, personal anecdotes or real-life examples to illustrate your points. It’s like adding a dash of spice to your content – it becomes more memorable and relatable.
15. Nail that delivery
Don’t just stand there and recite facts like a robot — be a confident and engaging presenter. Lock eyes with your audience, mix up your tone and pace and use some gestures to drive your points home. Practice and brush up your presentation skills until you’ve got it down pat for a persuasive presentation that flows like a pro.
Venngage offers a wide selection of professionally designed presentation templates, each tailored for different purposes and styles. By choosing a template that aligns with your content and goals, you can create a visually cohesive and polished presentation that captivates your audience.
Looking for more presentation ideas ? Why not try using a presentation software that will take your presentations to the next level with a combination of user-friendly interfaces, stunning visuals, collaboration features and innovative functionalities that will take your presentations to the next level.
Visual presentations come in various formats, each uniquely suited to convey information and engage audiences effectively. Here are six major types of visual presentations that you should be familiar with:
1. Slideshows or PowerPoint presentations
Slideshows are one of the most common forms of visual presentations. They typically consist of a series of slides containing text, images, charts, graphs and other visual elements. Slideshows are used for various purposes, including business presentations, educational lectures and conference talks.
Infographics are visual representations of information, data or knowledge. They combine text, images and graphics to convey complex concepts or data in a concise and visually appealing manner. Infographics are often used in marketing, reporting and educational materials.
Don’t worry, they are also super easy to create thanks to Venngage’s fully customizable infographics templates that are professionally designed to bring your information to life. Be sure to try it out for your next visual presentation!
3. Video presentation
Videos are your dynamic storytellers. Whether it’s pre-recorded or happening in real-time, videos are the showstoppers. You can have interviews, demos, animations or even your own mini-documentary. Video presentations are highly engaging and can be shared in both in-person and virtual presentations .
4. Charts and graphs
Charts and graphs are visual representations of data that make it easier to understand and analyze numerical information. Common types include bar charts, line graphs, pie charts and scatterplots. They are commonly used in scientific research, business reports and academic presentations.
Effective data visualizations are crucial for simplifying complex information and Venngage has got you covered. Venngage’s tools enable you to create engaging charts, graphs,and infographics that enhance audience understanding and retention, leaving a lasting impression in your presentation.
5. Interactive presentations
Interactive presentations involve audience participation and engagement. These can include interactive polls, quizzes, games and multimedia elements that allow the audience to actively participate in the presentation. Interactive presentations are often used in workshops, training sessions and webinars.
Venngage’s interactive presentation tools enable you to create immersive experiences that leave a lasting impact and enhance audience retention. By incorporating features like clickable elements, quizzes and embedded multimedia, you can captivate your audience’s attention and encourage active participation.
6. Poster presentations
Poster presentations are the stars of the academic and research scene. They consist of a large poster that includes text, images and graphics to communicate research findings or project details and are usually used at conferences and exhibitions. For more poster ideas, browse through Venngage’s gallery of poster templates to inspire your next presentation.
Different visual presentations aside, different presentation methods also serve a unique purpose, tailored to specific objectives and audiences. Find out which type of presentation works best for the message you are sending across to better capture attention, maintain interest and leave a lasting impression.
To make a good presentation , it’s crucial to be aware of common mistakes and how to avoid them. Without further ado, let’s explore some of these pitfalls along with valuable insights on how to sidestep them.
Overloading slides with text
Text heavy slides can be like trying to swallow a whole sandwich in one bite – overwhelming and unappetizing. Instead, opt for concise sentences and bullet points to keep your slides simple. Visuals can help convey your message in a more engaging way.
Using low-quality visuals
Grainy images and pixelated charts are the equivalent of a scratchy vinyl record at a DJ party. High-resolution visuals are your ticket to professionalism. Ensure that the images, charts and graphics you use are clear, relevant and sharp.
Choosing the right visuals for presentations is important. To find great visuals for your visual presentation, Browse Venngage’s extensive library of high-quality stock photos. These images can help you convey your message effectively, evoke emotions and create a visually pleasing narrative.
Ignoring design consistency
Imagine a book with every chapter in a different font and color – it’s a visual mess. Consistency in fonts, colors and formatting throughout your presentation is key to a polished and professional look.
Reading directly from slides
Reading your slides word-for-word is like inviting your audience to a one-person audiobook session. Slides should complement your speech, not replace it. Use them as visual aids, offering key points and visuals to support your narrative.
Lack of visual hierarchy
Neglecting visual hierarchy is like trying to find Waldo in a crowd of clones. Use size, color and positioning to emphasize what’s most important. Guide your audience’s attention to key points so they don’t miss the forest for the trees.
Accessibility isn’t an option these days; it’s a must. Forgetting alt text for images, color contrast and closed captions for videos can exclude individuals with disabilities from understanding your presentation.
Relying too heavily on animation
While animations can add pizzazz and draw attention, overdoing it can overshadow your message. Use animations sparingly and with purpose to enhance, not detract from your content.
Using jargon and complex language
Keep it simple. Use plain language and explain terms when needed. You want your message to resonate, not leave people scratching their heads.
Not testing interactive elements
Interactive elements can be the life of your whole presentation, but not testing them beforehand is like jumping into a pool without checking if there’s water. Ensure that all interactive features, from live polls to multimedia content, work seamlessly. A smooth experience keeps your audience engaged and avoids those awkward technical hiccups.
Presenting complex data and information in a clear and visually appealing way has never been easier with Venngage. Build professional-looking designs with our free visual chart slide templates for your next presentation.
What software or tools can I use to create visual presentations?
You can use various software and tools to create visual presentations, including Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, Adobe Illustrator, Canva, Prezi and Venngage, among others.
What is the difference between a visual presentation and a written report?
The main difference between a visual presentation and a written report is the medium of communication. Visual presentations rely on visuals, such as slides, charts and images to convey information quickly, while written reports use text to provide detailed information in a linear format.
How do I effectively communicate data through visual presentations?
To effectively communicate data through visual presentations, simplify complex data into easily digestible charts and graphs, use clear labels and titles and ensure that your visuals support the key messages you want to convey.
Are there any accessibility considerations for visual presentations?
Accessibility considerations for visual presentations include providing alt text for images, ensuring good color contrast, using readable fonts and providing transcripts or captions for multimedia content to make the presentation inclusive.
Most design tools today make accessibility hard but Venngage’s Accessibility Design Tool comes with accessibility features baked in, including accessible-friendly and inclusive icons.
How do I choose the right visuals for my presentation?
Choose visuals that align with your content and message. Use charts for data, images for illustrating concepts, icons for emphasis and color to evoke emotions or convey themes.
What is the role of storytelling in visual presentations?
Storytelling plays a crucial role in visual presentations by providing a narrative structure that engages the audience, helps them relate to the content and makes the information more memorable.
How can I adapt my visual presentations for online or virtual audiences?
To adapt visual presentations for online or virtual audiences, focus on concise content, use engaging visuals, ensure clear audio, encourage audience interaction through chat or polls and rehearse for a smooth online delivery.
What is the role of data visualization in visual presentations?
Data visualization in visual presentations simplifies complex data by using charts, graphs and diagrams, making it easier for the audience to understand and interpret information.
How do I choose the right color scheme and fonts for my visual presentation?
Choose a color scheme that aligns with your content and brand and select fonts that are readable and appropriate for the message you want to convey.
How can I measure the effectiveness of my visual presentation?
Measure the effectiveness of your visual presentation by collecting feedback from the audience, tracking engagement metrics (e.g., click-through rates for online presentations) and evaluating whether the presentation achieved its intended objectives.
Ultimately, creating a memorable visual presentation isn’t just about throwing together pretty slides. It’s about mastering the art of making your message stick, captivating your audience and leaving a mark.
Lucky for you, Venngage simplifies the process of creating great presentations, empowering you to concentrate on delivering a compelling message. Follow the 5 simple steps below to make your entire presentation visually appealing and impactful:
1. Sign up and log In: Log in to your Venngage account or sign up for free and gain access to Venngage’s templates and design tools.
2. Choose a template: Browse through Venngage’s presentation template library and select one that best suits your presentation’s purpose and style. Venngage offers a variety of pre-designed templates for different types of visual presentations, including infographics, reports, posters and more.
3. Edit and customize your template: Replace the placeholder text, image and graphics with your own content and customize the colors, fonts and visual elements to align with your presentation’s theme or your organization’s branding.
4. Add visual elements: Venngage offers a wide range of visual elements, such as icons, illustrations, charts, graphs and images, that you can easily add to your presentation with the user-friendly drag-and-drop editor.
5. Save and export your presentation: Export your presentation in a format that suits your needs and then share it with your audience via email, social media or by embedding it on your website or blog.
So, as you gear up for your next presentation, whether it’s for business, education or pure creative expression, don’t forget to keep these visual presentation ideas in your back pocket.
Feel free to experiment and fine-tune your approach and let your passion and expertise shine through in your presentation. With practice, you’ll not only build presentations but also leave a lasting impact on your audience – one slide at a time.
Effective Visuals in a Presentation
Visual art and writing don't exist on an aesthetic hierarchy that positions one above the other, because each is capable of things the other can't do at all. Sometimes one picture is equal to 30 pages of discourse, just as there are things images are completely incapable of communicating. -- William S. Burroughs
A picture is worth a thousand words. – Arthur Brisbane
It's a visual world and people respond to visuals. -- Joe Sacco
Visual presentations are a key to effective communication in the modern world. Becoming an expert in presentations can enhance your value in the professional world. A complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image in most cases more effectively than a description. Use the following links to enhance your ability to create effective presentations.
Engage your audience with powerful visual presentations.
Visual tools are critical to have in any presentation as they’re one of the key presentation aids that will help enhance your overall presentation .
We’ll give you tips on how to develop a sense of good presentation design whether you’re using PowerPoint, Prezi, Google Slides or any presentation software under the sun. The secret to creating a great presentation does not lie in a superior software, but understanding a few universal design concepts that can applied for all types of visual presentations.
Don’t be afraid to use a few presentation templates – there are ways to make the presentation ideas in those templates your own ideas and advance it in several different ways. Let’s make your next presentation on point and designed beautifully.
Presentations Are The Visual Communication Tool To Your Story
In the age of information, people remember facts faster through stories. Keep your bullet points and information short. You can use a rule of thumb to not put more than a paragraph and 3 points per slide to start.
Make your presentation the visual component of your story, but not something your audience has to read. Something that is short and succinct on screen will capture your audience’s attention and make sure they retain the main points of your message.
This does not mean incomplete slides. A common mistake presenters make is putting too little information on a slide in the name of simplicity when in fact they’re leaving out the main context.
A well designed visual presentation has a great story behind it and a well rehearsed voice telling it as well. Engaging the audience is also a great way to associate meaning or connection to the content of your slide decks. Ask questions and tell stories while showing off a great visual presentation! Think of writing the copy like writing for social media – you only have a certain amount of characters to use and a short audience attention span.
General Tips For Visual Presentations
Before you begin creating your presentation, you first need to know what makes effective presentations – storytelling. Such presentations target the audience’s emotions leading to a stronger connection to the audience member and the main point of the presentation.
Below are some storytelling tips for your slides, but remember to keep the presentation itself simple and practice makes perfect. And again, these are more for your spoken component that accompanies the visual component. These tips can be useful because they can be applied to all your presentations in general.
Step 1 is to ask yourself who your audience is and how to convey the key message you have in mind to them. Once you settle on your message, you can start designing your slides with that direction in mind.
You may wonder how to connect with an audience with your slides. Look to your own experiences, your own speaking style and tailor your message to what you know. Not many people want to hear others recite facts with no real meaning driving the story. Ask yourself, “Why does this matter to the audience and why should they care?”.
There is a lot of trust that can be built when the audience has a genuine connection to the presenter. Overall, if you have something that can solve a problem or teach someone complex things, that is enough to form a connection with your audience.
Think of the last app you used, the last email you read or perhaps the last business you purchased from. What was the content or visual elements that pulled you in?
Are you making a PowerPoint, Prezi or other form of visual presentation but it’s taking too much of your time? Enlist the help of Presentation Geeks and consider outsourcing your presentation design . Outsourcing your presentation slides allows you to free more of your time while still getting the results of an interesting presentation. You’ll have the support of expert slide designers who know what presentation visuals work and don’t work thanks to years of presentation feedback and background knowledge.
Color Design Tips For Presentation Slides
When designing your presentation, make sure you take into consideration the colors you’re using. We’ve listed a few background color combinations you might want to consider when developing the overall slide deck and the font to use.
Color Wheel Alignments:
Primary Colors: Red, yellow, blue
Secondary Colors: Green, orange, purple
Tertiary Colors: Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green & yellow-green
Analogous Colors: These are any three colors which are side by side on a color wheel. (Think green, lime green, yellow)
Complementary Colors: These are colors that are directly opposite of a color wheel. (Think green vs. purple, red vs. blue)
Monochromatic Colors: This is when you use one color and various shades or hues of it. It works well for minimal looks.
Red/Orange/Yellow: Generally these convey a sense of energy, are warm colors and catch your attention. Yellow is a happy warm color on one end and red is very striking and can warn of danger, and symbolizes importance, passion and sometimes violence.
Blue/Purple/Green: These colors are calming, reserved, elegant and often used for corporate slides. Think of how indigo blue is used for many large corporate entities. Green often is branded with earth or medical brands. Purple often conveys a sense of royalty, money and creativity.
Use The Power Of Photography Or Video
Pictures and videos are great visuals to incorporate into any presentation. Remember the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Well, it’s true! Photos help visualize complex information. You’ll often come across a lot of photos in research presentations as they help the audience understand examples better.
They can also save you from having to put a thousand thoughts into the PowerPoint presentation slide!
The first tip we can give to make a great visual presentation is to choose all your photos before you start. This way you can keep the consistency of the images across your slide deck and make sure they’re somewhat alike in terms of composition, mood and brand.
Use free stock photos
You don’t have to take the photos or videos yourself.
There are plenty of free resources and web pages for stock photos online – Unsplash , Pexels , Pixabay , Free Range , Creative Commons and some photos from Freepik are free to use with some accreditation.
Effective photo use
Make sure you pick an image that will focus on the main theme of the slide. One image is usually enough if the image choice is very relevant to the slide. If you have multiple photos, avoid poor or loose placement of photos all over the slide. Try to use a grid or gallery placement and it will immediately enhance the layout of the slide.
If you pick great images, making presentations can be faster. Instead of having to create an elaborate template with multiple elements, a photo with a couple of bullet points can go a long way in terms of capturing attention and making your presentation slides look professional. This is true on any presentation design platform – whether its PowerPoint, Google Slides, etc.
You can also embed videos whether they’re located on your computer, YouTube, Vimeo or other major video streaming sites. If you’re feeling nervous about your presentation or have a complex message that would be hard to condense in one slide, a video is a dynamic way of conveying your message in any type of presentation.
The Typography You Use Matters
Typography is how you will arrange and present the words in your presentation. An audience can engage when text is readable, functional and works well with the other elements in the presentation. Fonts and sizing are a good place to start establishing the tone of your presentation.
Overview of Font Choices
Elegant fonts often denote a sense of luxury or lifestyle tone. Use script fonts sparingly, but as titles they immediately give this polished and high-end look. This should not be used as body text or something lengthy to read. Think about if you sent an email in that text – it would be tedious to read. However, maybe if it were a title or a way to name email, the choice may be more correct.
Corporate fonts often are traditional, serif fonts or clean sans serif fonts that evoke a sense of trust and a clear message. Think of the fonts Lato, Helvetica or Arial – they’re go-to fonts that are easy to read, and work across many systems. This is especially helpful if you are working across teams when creating content or having to approve the content, idea or visuals.
Of course, you can incorporate more stylistic or playful fonts if you want to give your presentation a personal feel. Much like the scripted font, when used sparingly but in large titles, this choice of font can be very effective at conveying a certain personality.
Adding Symbols & Icons To Your Presentation
You can consolidate information by using symbols or icons to direct your eye to information such as an arrow symbol. What if you used a symbol instead of a bullet point? Think of symbols as anchors for the eye to quickly find information. You can collect symbols off free stock sites or use the built-in ones in PowerPoint that are free to use!
Depending on if your presentation is formal or informal , you may also want to consider adding emojis! Emojis are fun ways to express different emotions and can help connect with a younger demographic.
Overall Branding, Tone of Voice & Consistency
Another tool you may have at your disposal is if your brand, business or company has brand guidelines. It will be the guide and compass to your presentation’s information that goes within it. By keeping consistent you can achieve a polished look even if it looks very simple.
Use your business voice to communicate ideas and set the tone for your presentation. Are you in an investment banking business and want people to rely on the information given to you? That would inform perhaps using blues and purples, which are calmer colors and a cleaner look. Are you an influencer who’s buying power and spending choices matter to your audience? Maybe choosing bright colors with personal touches will make the connection. Are you designing an innovative app? Maybe more interactive slides would do the trick.
Use these questions to make sure your text and tone is consistent as this is a foundation of a well articulated brand or personal identity.
Visual hierarchy is how you will arrange objects and text in relation to one another to guide your user and not confuse the objects and how they should read them in your slides. Setting rules helps differentiate and prioritize what’s important in order.
Look at the difference between these two.
Snoop Dogg just launched a wine and it’s coming to Canada
Daily hive branded content | aug 11 2020, 6:30 am.
Australian winery 19 Crimes recently announced that its new Cali Red wine, created in collaboration with Entertainment Icon, entrepreneur, and hip-hop artist Snoop Dogg, will be hitting shelves across Canada later this summer.
The collaboration offers a refreshing take on celebrity partnerships as the apparent shared values and history between the brand and famous rapper make for a perfectly organic pairing.
You can see a clear distinction in the example below:
Think of hierarchy of a form of narration or story structure. Your eye goes to the title, then to the subtitle, then to the body copy in a logical manner. Where the eye travels is one of those things we don’t think about often. But you can also utilize eye lines in photos. Is your subject in the photo looking left or right? Consider placing text to where your subject is looking and see how effectively your eye travels to that text.
We’ll look at hierarchy strictly as sizing of words for now, but note you can establish hierarchy with type, white space, alignment, etc. As a general rule of thumb, you should have consistent sizing for your Header (or title slide / slide title), your subtitles and your body text. That’s it! If the sizing in your PowerPoint is consistent, your words will look uniform and clean. Everything will be much easier to read and the eye will be trained to move each slide.
Don’t Forget Your Own Style
Also don’t forget to incorporate your own style and what kind of visuals you like. Even if your early visuals may seem simple, build up that design muscle with the basics and design techniques that look clean and consistent.
You’ll find as you design these basics, you’ll probably start noticing other visuals and things you like in other mediums and presentations. Keep a note or screenshot the presentation that inspired you. Create a mood-board that you can refer to in the future for quick idea inspiration. Copying gets a bad rap, but learning how to design something you like even if it’s a clone copy will teach you many things about design. Build a collection of images that informs everything you do: for your color scheme, your designs, the cadence of images, etc.
That being said, you can also use free stock websites like Freepik for some design layouts inspiration. Creative Market is a paid website but the site offers a ton of design inspiration. This site has design templates for what’s currently in and trending. You can subscribe to an email newsletter on either site to get bite sized design influence each day that goes straight to your inbox.
However, don’t be afraid to try something new!
Ask your friends or people at your organization to give you feedback and critique, as that’s also crucial to honing your design skills. The people around you also represent different audiences!
The above image looks boring, right?
That’s because there are no visual elements!
Powerful visual presentations can engage audiences psychologically with both the presentation itself and the energy of the presenter. By understanding a few universal design concepts, you can begin your journey creating wonderful visual presentations and becoming a better presenter ! Thanks for reading this blog post, tell us your tips in the comments below.
Author: Content Team
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6 Tips for Effective Use of Visuals in Your Presentation
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You have most probably noticed that in today's world, images have become must-haves for effective communication and conveyance of messages.
From social media posts, to marketing communications, and even sales presentations at the workplace, utilizing visuals in presentations is a great way to get your points across. Behavioral studies, brain scans, and eye movement tracking prove that visual content communicates more effectively with audiences.
According to Social Samosa , people retain on average a whopping 50% of the content from a presentation when it includes visuals and words. Only 10% of content is retained if it is presented just orally.
The images you choose for your presentation, along with other graphical considerations such as fonts and colors, can assist your audience in understanding your message. This article will highlight six tips that you can use to effectively incorporate visuals in your presentations .
1. Be consistent
The art of public speaking has changed a lot since the days of stump speeches and public debates. Speaking to an audience now involves a lot more moving parts – from crafting a speech that resonates with your audience, to choosing the right visuals to accompany your speech.
Now that Zoom and other conferencing tools are available, knowing how to speak to the public in an online environment is no longer just optional – it is a skill that every speaker should master. Part of this skill involves recognizing patterns in images and using them to support your prepared speech.
The human brain understands patterns much faster than any other form of data presentation. The images you use should have these attributes of consistency:
Images that focus on and bring out the big idea of your presentation. Pick images which contribute to the main message, and don’t distract the audience from it.
Pictures with a similar color scheme and shot in a similar environment. This will lead to a consistent tone throughout your presentation. It will also prevent you from losing your audience’s attention as they focus on trying to decipher each image.
All the visuals in your presentation should appear to be part of the same family of artwork. This will strengthen your slideshow. A cohesive set of pictures will make it easier for the audience to understand your message. Additionally, consider choosing visuals that tell a story.
2. Use high-quality visuals
There is nothing more distracting than a blurry, overexposed or pixelated photo. On a web page, low-quality images affect SEO strategies by increasing the bounce rate. Whether it is a high-quality blog article or social media post, bad images will turn away your target audience. Low-quality images have a similar effect on presentations – your audience will likely look away instead of getting drawn in.
To protect your reputation before your audience, pick high-quality images to use. In a case where you have to expand the photo to fit the screen, check to see if you have lost image quality and that you haven’t distorted the aspect ratio of the original. Direct your audience's gaze to where your body text is. If the image has a person or arrow pointing in a certain direction, use that as a subtle visual cue to place your text where it is pointing to.
Source: Slide Team
Check out this screenshot of a template for visuals in a presentation. The ribbon at the top of the screen goes down and seems to point to the words “text slide” below it.
This clever image conveniently directs your gaze to the words “text slide” at the bottom of the ribbon, right? Exactly.
High-quality images give your presentation a crisp, clean look.
Should you be worried that the images you intend to use won’t be up to scratch, help is at hand. In fact, there are a couple of options available to you. If you’re a graphic design whiz, then it shouldn’t take you too long to tinker with your visual elements in your preferred editing software. If you’re not skilled in this arena, or you have limited time on your hands, using an AI image enhancer is a great option. This tech can swiftly transform low-res or imperfectly framed images into crystal-clear, carefully orchestrated creations that will impress anyone who sees your presentation.
Remember, even no images are better than bad images. But of course, we're here to learn how to use images to enhance our presentation, so this won’t apply to us.
3. Add images that align with your content
Wowing your audience with stunning graphics will rarely be the main aim of your presentation. You will normally use visuals to reinforce the main goal of your slideshow.
Take your time and choose images that amplify your message. Picking random pictures to fill empty spaces in your presentation will serve only to distract your audience.
Images that first support your content and then add to the aesthetic of the slides are best for your slideshow. An image is your supporting staff and not the star of the show, as illustrated below.
Source: Powerpointninja .
In addition, consider visuals that seek an emotional connection from your audience. Such photos elicit a response from your listeners and emphasize specific points in your presentation in a similar way to using humor in your talk serves to lighten the mood and set up your audience for a point that you’d like to drive home.
4. Keep it simple
Keeping in mind that images serve to bolster the main message of each slide, check that the slides are readable and visible.
Picking a suitable simple yet powerful image, will support your presentation. In contrast, if you choose the wrong photo, you risk miscommunicating with your audience.
Here are a few pointers to keeping the visuals in your presentation simple:
How legible is your text? Chilibreeze explains that text should appear clearly against your chosen background image. Use readable, simple text for your body copy to make sure your audience does not struggle to read it.
Use text less and talk more – Have short bullet points on your slides that contain the keywords of your message. These serve as reminders of the main ideas for you to verbalize to your audience. Talk to your listeners while presenting, and not to the screen. Speaking to the screen implies that you’re afraid of speaking to the audience , which is something that you would need to address urgently.
The bigger the text, the better – Since there is brief text on each slide, let each word have room to breathe. Make sure to have a clear difference between the headlines and their supporting text by using various font sizes and maybe colors.
Visuals in your presentation are a great way to engage with your audience and retain their attention. Keep them glued to the screen with simple, engaging images.
5. Avoid clutter
Visuals in presentations add emotional resonance to your message and support your statements. The human brain can process images 3x faster than text.
Source: Media Lab
There is no need to fill every square inch of each slide. White space is relaxing, and your audience will like it more than full, overwhelming slides.
Display your images one at a time. This will help maintain the focus of your audience on your main idea. Too many images become distracting.
There may be instances where you need to use more than one visual to communicate one, unifying message. In such a case, here are a few points to consider:
Fit your images into a similar shape: If your images are of different sizes, use a binding element such as a grid. This will make the pictures appear tidy and well-fitted on your slide and will make them more understandable.
Use the same size and shape of photos: Whether you choose a square, circular or rectangular shape for your photo presentation, make them the same size to ensure the scannability of your slides.
Cluster, align and group your content – Evenly and consistently grouping the elements on your slide allows people to visually register the pattern and comprehend the information quicker. The simplest way to add groupings to slides is to have an image, a headline, and a descriptive body. Make sure to also align the elements of your slide along the X and Y axes.
Resist the temptation to fill your slides with objects or text. Your audience will thank you for it.
6. Check for copyright
Keep it legal. Have a proper license from the copyright holder before incorporating the images into your presentation. It is vital to give credit where it is due. Attribute the photos to the sources from which you obtained them. Avoid using watermarked images. They make your presentation look like they were ripped off from another source. You can get photos without these marks by obtaining them legally.
If you do not have the budget to purchase stock images, consider using photos listed under the "Creative Commons" license. These are more open and can be used for commercial purposes as long as you credit the image creator.
One way to credit the content creator is to leave space at the bottom of your slides where you cite these sources. You could also have them on a final page where all attributions can be listed.
We all love to be acknowledged for the work we put so much effort into. It is only fair to do the same for others whenever we have the opportunity, and your presentation is a great chance to do so.
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. It is definitely worth the digging that goes into finding the perfect one. A wrong choice of images could render even the most well-researched presentation useless, and hinder effective communication.
Pick high quality images for your presentation. They will give you a crisp, clean touch and make you look like the professional you are. Search for images that are consistent with your message. Your image should complement your main idea and not draw attention away from it.
Remember to keep it simple and avoid clutter. White space lets you frame your images and gives the viewer a chance to rest their eyes. At the same time, pick visuals that bolster the big idea of each slide and ensure that your text is easily readable against the image you have chosen. Lastly, check for copyright and acquire your images legally.
With all this in mind, you're on your way to having a killer presentation.
Daryl Bush is the Business Development Manager at Authority.Builders . The company helps businesses acquire more customers through improved online search rankings. He has extensive knowledge of SEO and business development.
Disclaimer: this article includes a paid product promotion.
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Top Trends of Visual Presentation Examples in 2024
Quynh Anh Vu • 27 Oct 2023 • 6 min read
What are the Visual Presentation Examples ? For many people, delivering a presentation is a daunting project, even before it turns to hybrid and virtual displays due to the pandemic. To avoid the Death By PowerPoint phenomenon, it is time to adopt new techniques to make your presentations more visual and impressive.
This article tries to encourage you to think outside of the slide by providing essential elements of a successful visual presentation, especially for the new presenter and those who want to save time, money, and effort for the upcoming presentation deadline.
Table of Contents
- What is a Visual Presentation?
- What is Visual Presentation Examples Types?
How to Create a Visual Presentation?
What makes a good presentation visual, frequently asked questions, how ahaslides supports a good visual presentation.
As mentioned before, you need a presentation tool to make your presentation more visual and engaging. The art of leveraging visual elements is all intended visual aids make sense and kick off audiences’ imagination, curiosity, and interest from the entire presentation.
The easiest way to create interaction between the presenter and the audience is by asking for rhetorical and thought-provoking quizzes and quick surveys during the presentation. AhaSlides , with a range of live polls, interactive questions, image questions, creative fonts, and integration with streaming platforms can help you to make a good visual presentation in just a second.
- Types of presentation
- College presentation
- Creative presentation ideas
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What is The Visual Presentation?
So, what are the visual presentation examples? When providing as much information as possible, many presenters think that text-heavy slides may help, but by contrast, they may lead to distraction. As we explore the characteristics of good presentations, illustrations and graphics play an important role to deliver compelling content and turn complex concepts more clearly, precisely, and instantly to understand. A Visual presentation is the adoption of a range of visual aids on presentation to ensure information is easier to understand and memorize.
In addition, visual aids can also help to keep presenters on track, which can be used as a cue for reviving a train of thought. They build better interaction and communication between presenters and the audience, making them notice more deeply what you are saying.
What is Visual Presentation Examples Types?
Some possible visual presentations include infographics, charts, diagrams, posters, flipcharts, whiteboards, and video presentation examples.
An infographic is a collection of different graphic visual presentations to represent information, data, or knowledge intended more visually quickly and clearly to grab the audience’s attention.
To illustrate quantitative data effectively, it is important to make use of graphs and charts. For both business use and research use, graphs and charts can show multiple and complex data in a way that is easy to understand and memory.
When it comes to presenting information systematically and logically, you can use diagrams. A diagram is a powerful tool for effective communication and brainstorming processes. It also is time-saving for people to read and collect information.
A Poster, especially a research project poster, provides brief and concrete information about a research paper straightforwardly. The audiences can grab all important data and knowledge and findings through posters.
A flipchart and whiteboard are the most basic presentation aids and work best to supplement lecture slides. Excellent whiteboard and flipchart composite of well-chosen words, and clear diagram will help to explain complex concepts.
A video presentation is not a new concept, which is a great way to spread ideas lively and quickly attract the audience’s attention. The advantages of a video presentation lie in its animation and illustration concepts, fascinating sound effects, and user friendly.
In addition, we can add many types of visual aids in the presentations as long as they can give shapes and form words or thoughts into visual content. Most popular visual aids include graphs, statics, charts, and diagrams that should be noted in your mind. These elements combined with verbal are a great way to engage the listeners’ imagination and also emphasize vital points more memorable.
It is simply to create more visual presentations than you think. With the development of technology and the internet, you can find visual presentation examples and templates for a second. PowerPoint is a good start, but there are a variety of quality alternatives, such as AhaSlides , Keynote, and Prezi.
When it comes to designing an effective visual presentation, you may identify some key steps beforehand:
Visual Presentation Examples – Focus on your topic
Firstly, you need to determine your purpose and understand your audience’s needs. If you are going to present in a seminar with your audience of scientists, engineers, business owners… They are likely to care about data under simple charts and graphs, which explain the results or trends. Or if you are going to give a lecture for secondary students, your slides should be something fun and interesting, with more colourful pictures and interactive questions.
Visual Presentation Examples – Animation and Transition
When you want to add a bit of excitement to a slideshow and help to keep the listener more engaged, you use animation and transition. These functions help to shift the focus of audiences between elements on slides. When the transition style and setting are set right, it can help to give fluidity and professionalism to a slideshow.
Visual Presentation Examples – Devices for interactivity
One of the approaches that improve communication between audiences and the use of visual aid is using technology assistance. You don’t want to take too much time to create well-designed visual aids while ensuring your presentation is impressive, so why not leverage a presentation app like AhaSlides ? It properly encourages participant engagement with interactive visual features and templates and is time-saving. With its help, you can design your presentation either formally or informally depending on your interest.
Visual Presentation Examples – Give an eye-catching title
Believe it or not, the title is the most essential part of attracting audiences at first sight. Though don’t “read the book by its cover”, you still can put your thoughts into a unique title that conveys the topic while piquing the viewer’s interest.
Visual Presentation Examples – Play a short video
Creative video presentation ideas are always important. “Videos evoke emotional responses”, it will be a mistake if you don’t leverage short videos with sound to reel in and captivate the audience’s attention. You can put the video at the beginning of the presentation as a brief introduction to your topic, or you can play it as a supplement to explain difficult concepts.
Visual Presentation Examples – Use a prop or creative visual aid to inject humour
It is challenging to keep your audience interested and engaged with your audience from the whole presentation. It is why to add a prop or creative visual aid to pull your audience’s focus on what you say. Here are some ideas to cover it:
- Use neon colour and duotones
- Tell a personal story
- Show a shocking heading
- Use isometric illustrations
- Go vertical
Visual Presentation Examples – Rehearsal and get feedback
It is an important step to make your visual presentation really work out. You won’t know any unexpected mirrors may come out on D-day if you don’t make the rehearsal and get feedback from a reliable source. If they said that your visual image is quality or the data is overwhelming, or the pictures are misunderstood, you can have an alternative plan in advance.
Incorporate visual or audio media appropriately. Ensure you arrange and integrate suitable data presentation in your slides or videos. You can read the guidelines for visual aids applications in the following:
- Choose a readable text size about the slide room and text spacing in about 5-7 doubted-spaced.
- Use consistent colour for overall presentation, visual aids work better in white yellow and blue backgrounds.
- Take care of data presentation, and avoid oversimplification or too much detail.
- Keep the data shown minimum and highlight really important data points only.
- Choose font carefully, keep in mind that lowercase is easier to read than uppercase
- Don’t mix fonts.
- Printed text is easier to read than handwritten text.
- Use the visual to emphasize punctuation in your verbal presentation.
- Say no to poor-quality images or videos.
- Visual elements need to be strategic and relevant.
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What well-designed visual aids should have?
Why is it important to keep visual aids simple, what is the purpose of visual aids in classroom.
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Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Presentations > 5 reasons to use visual aids for speeches and presentations
5 reasons to use visual aids for speeches and presentations
A whopping 65 percent of humans are visual learners . This makes sense, considering the brain processes visual information about 60,000 times faster than text.
It also explains why it’s so important for speakers to incorporate compelling visual aids into their presentations . Impactful visuals help us communicate our ideas and messaging more effectively—no matter what type of audience we are trying to reach.
Here are 5 facts that drill home the importance of visual aids when it comes to delivering a memorable presentation or speech.
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1. Presentation visuals grab an audience’s attention—and keep it
Human beings are naturally curious creatures but we have a short attention span—and it’s gotten worse in our current era of information overload and non-stop scrolling. When listening to a speech or presentation, audience interest peaks around the 10-minute mark and then drops precipitously depending on the content and communication style of the speaker. (A Ben Stein soundalike drolling on about duality quantum algorithms? Godspeed.) That’s why so many experts insist on capping lectures at 15 to 20 minutes or mixing up the format with 20-minute blocks. Interesting visual aids can help you do that.
They spark interest when the brain is feeling fatigued, making it easier to receive and process complex information. Think of each new visual or animation as little shots of adrenaline—capturing the waning attention of an audience and re-energizing the room. This can be especially effective when embedding picture polls, or visuals that require audience members to pull out their phones and interact with the content you’ve presented.
2. Presentation visuals make complex ideas easier to understand
Not everyone computes information at the same speed. Infographics make data-heavy presentations more digestible—breaking statistics and other figures or timelines into bite-sized chunks. They’re also more persuasive. According to a study conducted at the Wharton School of Business, 67 percent of audience members were more convinced by the content of a verbal presentation with accompanying visuals versus 50 percent with a verbal-only presentation.
3. Presentation visuals build emotional bridges with the audience
They say a picture is worth a thousand words—it’s cliché but true. Images make viewers feel things that words cannot and give presenters a way to connect with their audience on a more visceral level. (Yes, even if your audience is a bunch of humorless academics.) Instead of listing off dull facts about global warming, pop in a few slides depicting recent floods or forest fires to drive home your point. Powerful imagery, including 3D effects and visually appealing templates , resonate with audiences and makes them care more deeply about what you’re saying.
4. Presentation visuals help audiences retain information
Researchers have found that people who are asked to recall information after a three-day period retained just 10 percent of what they heard during an oral presentation, 35 percent from a visual presentation, and 65 percent from an oral presentation with visuals. You’ve worked too hard preparing your address to have the audience walk away remembering only a tiny fraction of what you said. Embracing visuals will improve the odds by six times.
5. Presentation visuals keep your speech on track
Peppering your presentation with visual aids will help you organize your talking points, avoid off-topic rambling, and even jog your memory if you get hit with a bout of stage fright.
But remember: While thoughtful visuals will make a speech or presentation much stronger, they won’t save you if you show up unprepared. The purpose of a visual aid is to engage the audience, boost their understanding of your content, ignite an emotional response, and help you convey important messaging—but it is never a substitute for preparation .
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