Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Leadership Communication Chapter 5:Using graphics and powerpoint a leadership edge


Chapter 5: Using graphics and powerpoint for a leadership edge

Leaders need to know how and when to use graphics. Graphics improve presentations and documents, particularly if the material is primarily quantitative, structural, pictorial, or complicated that it can be illustrated more efficiently andmore effectively with the visual aid than with words alone.

Recognizing when to use graphics specifically, graphics should serve the following purposes:
Reinforce the message.
Reinforcing the message means that the chart captures and emphasizes the main ideas expressed by the speaker.

Provide a road map to the structure of a presentation.
Using a text chart to establish the agenda or discussion topics is the one very common method of establishing a road map for the structure of the business presentation.

Illustrate relationships and concepts visually.
Graphics usually work better than words to help an audience understand relationships or concepts.

Support assertions.
Graphics to support assertions are usually quantitative charts;however, you might use quanlitative charts if you have based your assertions on interviews or open-ended surveys and want to show your audience quotations from your subjects.

Emphasize important ideas.

Maintain and enhance interest.
Using graphics to maintain and enhance interest requires a word of warning. Essentially, adding interest means introducing some variety in your slides and looking for ways to make your presentation graphically interesting.

Selecting and designing effective data charts
For data charts to add to your presentation or document, you need to clarify your messages and then you can determine the type and content of the graph that will add to, support, or explain that message best. Excellence in statistical graphics consists of complex ideas communicated with clarify, precision, and efficientcy.

Creating meaningful and effective text layouts
The goal with any text chart is to make it as readable as possible and to make sure that it contains meaningful content. There are many guidelines for creating effective text slides:
1. Do not put too many words on the slide.
2. Do not have only one bullet or sub-bullet as a category.
3. Use hanging indents for text lists of more than one line.
4. Avoid having too many “widow words”
5. Keep the text simple but present meaningful content.
6. Make sure all bulleted items are parallel in structure.
7. Use some variation in how you lay out the text.
8. Maximize the impact of your title slide.
9. Work the text and graphics together to convey the message as at the right.

Employing fundamental graphic content and design principles
For chart to add to the presentation, they should convey your messages clearly and effectively to your audience. In addition, they should be legible and designed so that they contribute to communicating your messages.

- Conveying messages clearly and effetively
Keep charts simple but meaningful.
Include only one main message per chart or slide.
Make sure your chart title captures the “so what?”

- Selecting the most effective colors
The right colorsand fonts can make a difference in how effective your PowerPoint presentation is. Selection should focus on colors and fonts that show up best when a presentation is projected. The secret of effective color choices is not so much the choices of one colors but the choice of one in contrast to the others used with it. In summary, when using colors
Keep them simple and select colors that work well together.
Ensure the colors are easy to see when placed against each other.
Check text color,in particular, to see that it contrasts with background colors sufficiently to be clearly legible.
Make sure the colors support the image you want to project and the message you want to convey.

- Selecting the most effective fonts
With computer projected presentations, a light font on dark background is best. F\For overhead presentations, a dark font on the white background projects better in most settings. In summary, the guidelines for colors and fonts are:
Stay with the basic colors.
Go to contrast in background and fonts.
Use a dark background for computer-projected presentations.
Use white, cream, yellow, or light gold font on dark backgroung.
Use a sans serif font.
Make your font at least 20 points for text and 28 points for titles.
Do not use all caps in titles or text, underlining, and red font on blue backgrounds.

Making the most of PowerPoint as a design and presentation tool
- Deciding on layouts and templates
The most common format used in PowerPoint is the horizontal or landscape.
- Using Templates
- Designing your own templates
- Creating document using PowerPoint
- Inserting graphs and other objects
- Using animation

To summarize, when using graphics and PowerPoint, you want to follow these guidelines:
Decide on your message, determine what information or data best supports it, and then decide how best to show that data graphically.
Use graphics for the right reasons, such as to reinforce your message, to provide a road map of your presentations, and to support asertions.
Select the right kind of graph to illustrate your message.
Use integrrity in selecting and designing all graphics, making sure any graphs do not distort the data.
Keep your graphics simple.
Use a title that captures the “so what?” of your slides so that your audience see immediately the message the graph is communicating.
Create your PowerPoint template or modify the standard ones so that the presentation reflects your persanality or that of your company.
Make the font size and any graphic images large enough for the audience to see even from the back of the room.
Be careful with your color selections; go for contrast but be conservative.
Avoid overusing or misusing animation.

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