For each visual used, Duarte asks: “Can I immediately pick out the key piece of information on this slide?” Slides that are too busy with words or even unnecessary graphics detract from the critical message. Passing the test requires bringing a design focus to bear on building effective slides. Use restraint, and make sure that every additional element contributes directly to the critical information. For example, Duarte asks, “Does the audience need to see your logo on each slide to remember who you work for?” Even accents that may appear subtle and innocuous can be distracting and make it difficult for the audience to focus on what matters.
Flow: structure slides to direct the transition of people’s attention to what is most important
Contrast: juxtapose visual elements to draw striking comparisons that make your point even more obvious
White space: just as a well placed pause between words can speak volumes, managing blank space instead of trying to fill it can isolate and sharpen the focus of important points
Hierarchy: treat your slide like the page of a comic book—think about where the viewer’s attention will start and end to prioritize the information they receive
Unity: maintain harmony in text style, themes, and image types so that each slide feels like a different part of the same body
Using a design focus greatly increases the effectiveness of communication tools. Be frugal with each element you add to a slide so that you get the most out of every visual cue.
Lessons from neurology have long highlighted the importance of visual processing. However, the less the viewer has to sift through to get to the critical information, the more effective the communication will be.
Ideas need to be shown in context. As social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk once stated famously, “If content is king, context is god.” The value here is that communication is most effective when it builds on itself. Structure ideas so that they flow into each other in a way that tells a story—without context, numbers and graphics do not add anything on their own.
*Photo - Effective Public Speaking Tips
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