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15 - Quick Reference for the K.I.S.S. of Visual Aids

Keep ISimple Silly

Remember: These are only aids… You and your message are the focus of the presentation.

Benefits for using visual support

  • Make clear and remember

  • Make complex simple

  • Add support

  • Sustain credibility

  • Help you to organize

Types of visual support

  • Charts

  • Graphs

  • PowerPoint, Keynote, or Prezi

  • Objects/Models

  • You

  • Videos

  • Pictures/Photographs

  • Diagrams/Drawings

  • Transparencies

  • Handouts

  • Computer Generated

Appropriate visual support

  • To the topic

  • To the occasion

  • To you

  • To the audience


  • When to use

  • Why to use

  • How to use

Remember: These are only aids… You and your message are the focus of the presentation.

K.I.S.S. of Death or K.I.S.S. of Success – Dos and and Don’ts of Visual Aid Use


  • PowerPoint (and similar) is a visual medium more than written

  • Simple not complex

  • Prepare in advance and practice with it!

  • Overhead projector—light background

  • Keep background design (template) consistent

  • One-color background

  • High-contrast colorsUsing your school colors is not effective and may violate your school’s policies. Check with your school’s Brand Guidelines for how to incorporate your school colors and icons in presentations.

  • Multimedia projection – dark background/light colors

  • Graphics – use cautiously2D or 3D – choose one style
    Choose images wisely
    Use relevant images

  • Meaning of images differ from person to person

  • One graphic work per slide with/without text

  • Have visual balance of slide elements

  • Appropriate “build” effects

  • Have a purpose for everything you put on a slide or visual aid


  • “Building,” “Flying,” “Zoom In/Out,” “Slide Build,” “Dimming/Graying,” “Drop,” “Dissolve,” “Appear,” “Split Vertical Out,” etc.

  • ConfusingBusy — too much happening
    Text — message lost

  • Use caution


  • Simple not complex – efficient

  • Font – print looks smaller on a monitor
    36-44 point for titles
    32 point for main bullets
    24 point
    18 point12 point

  • 6×6 or 8×8 Rule6-8 words per line — key words (think speaking notes)
    6-8 lines of text per slide

  • Use 1 or 2 font styles

  • Easy-to-read font style

  • All caps = hard to read

  • For screen/projection visual aids use a San Serif fontArial, Lucida Sans Unicode, Tahoma, Trebuchet, Veranda, etc.

  • For printed work, Serif fonts are easier to readTimes New Roman, Bookman, Garamond, etc.

  • Posters/Tri-foldsUse heavy foam board
    3-5 inch print
    White space


  • Front and center – you stand center, slides off to side

  • Face-off — talk to the audience, not the visual elements

  • Watch turning your back to your audience

  • Move out from behind the lectern

  • Chalk/dry erase boards are not preferred — can be messy

  • Pass out visual aids after your speech

  • Timing is everything – it is your controlApproximately 1-3 minutes per slide — depends on needs and message
    Focus for understanding
    Not too many slides

  • Remove when finished

  • Explain clearly and concisely

Practice with your visual aid!

15 - Quick Reference for the K.I.S.S. of Visual Aids
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