Use visuals correctly
Your eyes are geared to take in visuals more than any sense. You’re wired to see things and to see patterns. Pattern recognition helps memory. So your goal is to deliver a pattern that people can understand so that they remember it so that they can restate it and spread your ideas.
There are two things I want to clarify here. First, I’m not talking about stock photography. While stock photography adds some visual interest, it doesn’t actually help you at all. If you just have a bunch of bullet points and a stock photo next to it, that’s not actually a great slide. What you want to do is create a graphic that supports your argument.
I doodle them a lot just to get my thinking clear. For example, if I was going to make a graphic about the premise of this article, which is: be structured, be succinct and be visual, I might just have three circles with those words in each of them as a Venn diagram. And then in the middle I’d point to the sweet spot of presentations, like this.
Think through how to visualize what you’re trying to say.
If you are delivering presentations with very dense data and need charts and graphs to support what you’re saying, make sure you’re not trying to turn your audience into analysts. If there’s any level of interpretation that they have to do in order to understand your chart or graph, it’s too complicated. So again, what I would advise you to do is grab a pen and a piece of paper and literally draw your graph. See what happens. Is it clear?
If you can draw your graph or the data presentation that you need to represent on a piece of paper, that is what should inspire what ends up as the nice-looking graph that you do in Excel or PowerPoint or whatever it is that you’re working in. Keep it simple. Use visuals to help people comprehend. And so people remember them, and then they spread your ideas or make decisions based on understanding your ideas.