GUIDELINES FOR USING AUDIOVISUAL AIDS

PLANNING AUDIOVISUAL AIDS Audiovisual aids--including overhead transparencies, flip charts, slides, chalkboards (and occasionally film and video)--can supply added impact and clarity to your, presentation. You can use A/-V to visually reinforce the points made verbally in your presentation, to summarize the points you will make, as well as those you have already made, and to visually clarify important concepts and analogies. Audiovisual aids not only help your target group follow your presentation, but they provide support to the presenter by helping to keep, you on track. The key to preparing effective audiovisual aids is to remember that they are only aids. Their role is to add a visual dimension to the points that you made orally. They cannot make those points for you; they can only reinforce them. When you plan for audiovisual aids, follow these simple guidelines: 1. DO use them to summarize or show the sequence of content. 2. DO use them to visually interpret statistics by preparing charts and graphs that illustrate what you will say. 3. DO use them to illustrate and reinforce your support statements. 4. DO use them to add visual clarity to your concepts and ideas. 5. DO use them to focus the attention of the target group on key points. 6. DON'T project copies of printed or written text. Instead, summarize the information and show only the key points on the visual aids. If the group must read every word, use handouts for reading, either before or after your presentation. 7. DON'T put yourself in the role of aiding your visuals: A presentation is primarily an oral form of communication. If your only function is to read the information on your overheads or slides, the target group will become easily bored. 8. DON'T use copies of your transparencies as handouts. They reinforce what you are saying-- they don't say it for you. If you want your

target group to remember what you meant, you'll need to provide written text in addition to any key point summaries or charts that you need for your transparencies. 9. DON'T use charts, graphs, or tables that contain more information than you want to provide. The group will have difficulty focusing on the point that you're tying to make. When presenting ideas that include references to data, it can be helpful to make the point using a graph or table. These visual methods can make the point much stronger than simply describing the data. While they can be powerful methods, they also have the potential to ruin a presentation if they convey the wrong message or they confuse the audience. Appropriate use of graphs and tables is one way to enhance the message you are delivering. Graph Types There are five basic types of graphs that are used most frequently. There are more complex types that are used for specific purposes, usually technical in nature, which will not be discussed here because they would rarely be used by most of us. A graph is really a graphical representation of one or more sets of data. A set of related data is referred to as a data series. For example, the sales of product X each year for the past five years would be one data series. Here are the five basic graph types: Area - This graph shows the relationship of different parts to a whole over time. One example would be to show the breakdown of the total organization profit by product line over the last five years. This graph can show many (4-6) data series at a time. Column - This graph shows the differences in individual values vertically. It can be used to show the differences between values in different time periods or other data groupings. A 3-D column graph allows comparison on two dimensions. Examples include showing the total number of phone calls each month for the past year or the number of orders received by each order method (fax, phone, email, web, walk-in) over the last month. This graph works best with fewer (1-3) data series. Bar - This graph shows the differences in individual values horizontally. It is not a good choice for showing values in different time periods. It works better for showing the results of one or two data series. One example would be to show the popularity of the top eight answers to a survey question. Line - This graph shows values at different points in time. It is usually best to have equal time intervals along the horizontal axis of the graph. One example would be to show the trend in the number of customer service calls handled by the five offices each month over the last year. A line graph can display many (46) data series quite well. Pie - This graph shows the proportions of each segment of a whole. This graph only handles one data series. An example would be to show the proportion of

funding provided to the organization by each level of government in the past year. When you are deciding which type of graph to use for your situation, the decision tree below can help you. The key questions to consider are whether the data is time-sequenced and how many data series you want to show. By selecting the appropriate graph type, you can help make the message clearer to the audience.

Key Graph Elements Colors – Make sure that you set the background color and the color of each data series so that there is enough contrast to be seen clearly by the audience. These colors should also be consistent with the overall color scheme of the slides so that the graph does not look out of place. Depth – The depth of the graph refers to whether the graph is 2-D or 3-D. The 3D option is used mostly with column, bar and pie graphs to give them more presence on the slide. The 3-D effect works best with one or two data series, but starts to look too cluttered when there are more data series on the graph. Axes – All of the above graph types except the pie graph have two axes. One is for the data values and the other is for the time scale or how the data is separated. It is important to set the scale of the axes to be appropriate to the data being shown. Also, make sure that axis labels that indicate the values along each axis are big enough to be clearly read when the graph is displayed. If the axes are not clear, the graph may be misinterpreted because it is not clear to the audience what the difference between the data is. Data Labels – When you need to more clearly indicate the data value in a graph, you can use a data label. This is a text box that contains the actual data value

and it should be placed close to the graphical representation of the data point, whether it is at the end of a bar or column, above a data point on a line graph or inside the pie section in a pie graph. Make sure that the text is big enough to be read clearly and that the text color has enough contrast with the color underneath it. Title – The title of the graph should focus on the interpretation of the data, not the data itself. Remember that we are using a graph to help make a point, and the title will be a key factor in the audience interpreting the graph properly. For example, instead of a title like "Sales 1996-2001", you could say "Sales Up 42% ’96-’01". Legend – If you have more than one data series on a graph, you should consider having a legend on the graph. The legend shows the audience which data series is represented by which color on the graph, and allows them to more easily understand what the graph means. Creating the Graph Most presentation software packages have a built-in graph creation tool. For Microsoft PowerPoint, it is the Microsoft Graph application. Most of these built-in tools are quite robust and will meet the needs of most presenters. If you want to use a graph, understand within your presentation software how to create and edit a graph, especially the elements listed above. There are specialized graphing software tools available, but these are required only when you need to use certain complex graph types or require features that are not included in the builtin tools. One way to extend the capabilities of the built-in graphing tool is to use the graphing tool to create the basic graph, and then use the drawing tools of the presentation software to add specific elements that are required for your purposes, such as lines, text boxes or arrows. Importing a graph from another software package, such as a spreadsheet is not always a good idea because it is harder to get the colors right on the import translation and it is harder to edit since the other software package must be started to do the editing. Graphs These aids show comparisons between figures. Four types of graphs are illustrated in figure 7-3. The bar graph is one of the most commonly used. Graphs are useful when the information being presented compares figures from time to time or from several sources. For example, a budget meeting may utilize graphs to show the increases and decreases of the budget over several years

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