6 Steps to Creating Visual Aids That Have Impact

glassesWhen you Google “visual aids,” the definition is not “your notes.” Yet how many times have you observed in agony a PowerPoint deck that resembles a textbook?

According to Carmine Gallo in his book, Talk Like Ted, The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds,“Scientists have produced a mountain of evidence showing that concepts presented as pictures instead of words are more likely to be recalled. If you hear information, you are likely to remember about 10 percent of that information three days later. Add a picture, however, and your recall rate will soar to 65 percent.” Simply put, adding a picture to your visual will help your listeners remember six times more information. That’s impact!

If you’re showing a visual for every point you’re making, you’re working way too hard. The visual is the message, not you. Avoid wasting your time and your listeners’ time when you could simply send them the visual to read. Do you think your listeners are reading word for word when the visual is packed with tiny text and graphs? Influential communicators make it easy for their listeners to want to listen to them. Designing visuals that have impact is one step you can take this week.

Challenge yourself by making one or all of the following changes to your visual aids. By doing so, this will ensure the message complements your story and key takeaways instead of detracting.

  1. Add a photo that drives your points home.
  2. Use bullet points correctly: No more than six bullet points per slide; no more than four words per bullet.
  3. Limit slides to no more than 10 slides per 20 minutes.
  4. Use a 32-point font.
  5. Make sure you’re the message while your visuals support your message.
  6. Leave the details for a leave behind.

These steps will challenge you to communicate a message that is compelling and engaging. (Heavy slides are distracting and invite your listeners to check out.)

Avoid the temptation to follow the majority by making your slides text heavy with a font size that gives your listeners a burning headache. Stand out from the crowd. Be unique and memorable by creating an experience for your listeners with visual aids that enhances your message rather than distracts.

It takes courage and discipline to commit to keeping your visual aids simple to the point and visually stimulating. These characteristics distinguish good communicators from influential communicators.

I’d love to hear how you have redesigned your visual aids to keep them simple, clear and memorable. Tag me on my Facebook page.

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