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Simplicity wins – visualization as well. Tips for your next presentation

April 10, 2013 | bit-wartung | Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools |

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Rating: 4.0 out of 5

How to prepare memorable presentations? Simplify it and make it visual. Inspiring and memorable presentations are simple, clear and meaningful. While preparing have your audience in mind and make it visual and easy for them to follow.

By Nadia von Holzen, SDC
Before reading this post watch this video. It’s only 2’35 and well done:

What I liked most:

• The advice to make it simple because the audience has to catch the visual content at the same as listening to you. To keep things simple and on target is not a new advice (Roman and Raphaelson gave this advice in 1981; see the brainpickings) and is good to remember

• The idea to write or draw a presentation on small Post-it notes because it is flexible and allows combining and rearranging messages and stories freely. Additionally, writing the essential on small Post-it notes requires us to focus and be clear. That’s a good thing!

• Slides are a visual medium. Clear, isn’t it! But how often are we stuck with bullet point presentations. So it’s worth to remember. Reduce the text to the absolute minimum (see Share, learn, innovate! Toolkit of the OHCHR).

Still reluctant?

Make the glance test on blogs.hbr.org

Or ask yourself: speech or movie? What do you prefer?

Movies tell stories, and stories are visual. Remember, you can write the story on Post-it notes… jeffhurtblog.com/2012/08/01/which-would-rather-attend-speech-or-movie

Data visualisation can make a difference. It did already in 1854. John Snow drew a cholera map to understand the transmission of the disease and to convince the public council to take action.

A valuable alternative to PowerPoint are poster sessions with infographics.

You might find some inspiration here:

• Infographics on iheartinfographics.tumblr.com

• Visualization Methods on visual-literacy.org

• 100 Diagrams that changed the world on brainpickings.org

And yes, Mr Peter Point would be delighted.


What’s your experience with visual presentations?


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Comments to“Simplicity wins – visualization as well. Tips for your next presentation”


  1. Corinne Sprecher says:

    It’s such an everyday task to prepare slides… and it’s so easy to forget about the simple rules. Tranks for reminding, Nadia! I really like the post-it idea! What a great little trick to keep slides simple and to get out of the linear thinking. I will try that!

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  2. Nadia von Holzen says:

    Dear Corinne; thank you for your comment. It’s exactly the linear thinking modus of PowerPoint that is hindering the creative delivery of too many presentations. PowerPoint is often more the presenter’s own cheat sheet than an inspiring visual support. Let’s make the next presentation a creative challenge! Best, Nadia

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