Create your own visual style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.

Orson Welles (1915–1985)
American actor

Unfortunately, our working memory is not very large. It fills up quickly. When this happens, a listener will not be able to process further information or at least only partially. Thus, it’s better to reduce the amount of information. What is really essential? Better check with a colleague or friend beforehand.

To be able to process visuals and oral information, it’s best to synchronise it. That means talking about what people are looking at that moment. And use the same key words in your speech that you have written down in the presentation.

If you have slides, prepared boards or flip charts, give the participants time to read first before you start talking. Speak slowly — everybody has different speed of processing. You could also present the text step by step.

Don’t forget to explain or comment on the visuals. Start with the topic, follow the sequence and go into detail — but not without summarising the key message(s).

Avoid anything, which might be distorted in communication. Don’t forget: what can be misunderstood will be misunderstood. This distortion can be as simple as a missing heading or bad writing. Unreadable text is not just the non-existence of visual aid, but it actually prevents concentration on your speech as participants concentrate to figure out what your text means.

Key points on professional visualisations:

  • They should be appropriate to your target audience.
  • Colors have significance.
  • Build up complex images step by step!
  • Provide clear structure and orientation!
  • Synchronize with speech!
  • Speak slowly, write carefully!

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