guidelines for presenting visual aids

7 Guidelines for presenting visual aids

Visual aids are one type of support material for a speech. To be effective, visual aids should be easy to read and understand as well as pleasing to view.

Whatever types of aids you are creating or using, consider the following guidelines:

1. Make them visible

Everyone in the room must be able to see your visual aid. Use the largest possible lettering and both upper and lower cases. Use blank space to make text stand out.

2. Limit visual

Limit each visual to only one main thought or point. More than one point distracts the audience.

3. Limit text and words

Use no more than six lines of text and no more than six words per line per visual. This keeps the text big enough for the audience to read.

4. Keep them simple

Avoid cluttering a visual aid with too much artwork or fancy graphics. Your audience should be able to quickly grasp the visual aid’s point.

5. Use color carefully

Colors add interest and improve retention. Choose colors that enhance readability. For example, black letters on a dark blue background are difficult to read. Avoid using too many colors; two or three are enough.

6. Make them consistent

Including some consistent design elements, such as font, colors and/or artwork, will make your visual aids more pleasing to the eye.

7. Use different types of aids

Variety adds interest. If you’re giving a presentation with computer-based visuals, for example, follow a bar chart with a text visual or a diagram.

Keep in mind

Using visual aids effectively will make your presentations clearer and more interesting. At the same time, you should use visual aids carefully. In fact, if you do not want to bore your audience you have to work hard so that you can keep them interested. Finally, proofread all visuals for spelling and grammar. If your visual is a graph, table, chart, or diagram, be sure to title it so the audience knows what it is.

Francesco Pecoraro

Francesco has extensive experience as a project, program and portfolio manager, project management officer (PMO), digital transformation and strategic consultant. He is also considered a communication, public speaking and leadership expert.

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