Posts Tagged ‘pictures’

Have empathy for the audience

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Not everyone is expert at composing graphics and tables and presentations. Not everyone is a good writer. However, we all consider ourselves experts at being part of an audience. We watch TV, listen to the radio, watch movies, read books, listen to conversations, and act as an audience several times a day. What do you like in a presentation? Most people like pictures (not descriptions), brevity (not long-winded stories reliving every detail), facts (more than speculation), provocative challenges (rather than whitewash that offends the fewest people), debate among alternatives (rather than obvious bias), and clarity (rather than ambiguity). As we prepare a presentation, we should ask ourselves whether we would want to listen to it. We are our own best critics, so we should try to evaluate our presentation from the audience’s perspective.

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Illustrations and graphical elements

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

A picture is worth 1000 words. Try to explain in words what the face of a clock looks like, how Celsius translates into Fahrenheit, how your net worth has changed over the past 10 years, or the beauty of the Aurora Borealis. These are far easier to convey with a simple illustration, equation, graph, and photo, respectively. These sorts of graphical elements are more memorable than strings of words.

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