What Makes A Visual Aid Effective?

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2019 at 1:47 PM

keep it simpleEffective visual aids intrigue your audience and support the point you are making.  The impact of your visual aid will increase if it is properly designed and presented appropriately.

A good visual aid contains only information needed to make your primary point. Every word, line, dot or picture should be necessary to make the one point you are trying to achieve. Everything else is irrelevant and will confuse the audience. It is better to present less information than to drown your audience in details.

Effective Visual Aids Are Clean, Simple And To The Point!

If there are several bits of information needed on a particular visual aid, disclose them one at a time allowing your audience to absorb them before moving to the next point.

When presenting your image, expose it to your audience at the point in your talk that it is relevant. Allow your audience adequate time to look at and understand your image before you begin speaking again. Once you move to the next topic, take the image down so the audience will again focus on your words.

Your visual aid needs to be readable by everyone in the room. While there are guides that will help you calculate the proper size of text and images, the best test is to put your image up and then stand in the back of the room you will be presenting in. If this is not possible, put it up in a large room and step back and see how far you can go and still read the words and letters. The back row of your audience should be no further back than this point.

Another good test is to show your visual aid to a co-worker (or outsider). Have them view it from the same distance you expect your audience to view it, take it down and ask what they remember. Does it make sense, is there anything they find confusing or any information they feel is missing? Are the words and symbols readable?

Making it easier for your audience to understand what you are saying is the whole purpose of making a presentation. A well thought out and appropriately used visual aid can create that moment of discovery that you can hear in the room!


For more information, send me an email and ask for a copy of

“Quick Tips to Creating Effective Power Point Graphics”






© 2007 – This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. Call for information on individual coaching or group training.

A Tough Act To Follow

In Uncategorized on June 6, 2018 at 1:10 PM


excellent speakerThe speaker on stage was excellent. She had it dialed in: the audience was attentive, involved and the room was full of energy and laughter. The man standing next to me leaned into me to whisper “She is really good. Sure glad I am not up next. That would be one tough act to follow”.

What this man did not realize is I was the next speaker and in a few minutes I would be taking the stage with this same audience. My assessment of the situation was quite the opposite of his though: I was delighted with what she was doing with the audience and how she was setting me up for success. I knew when I took over, the audience would be alive, active, fully charged and ready to take it to the next level. She had in essence, built a podium of success for to me to step up to.

As I took the stage, I acknowledged what a great speaker had preceded me. I reminded the audience of her energy and felt the room liven up again at just the thought. Then I worked my own magic on the audience and gave the audience my best. Being ready for the presentation helped: I had a clear goal, an outline, and used the confidence that comes with properly preparing to catapult the audience to new heights.

Many speakers, including the man I mentioned earlier, are intimidated in this situation and start with something like “That is one hard act to follow.” That type of statement implies you are intimidated and immediately lowers your credibility both to your audience and in your own mind.

The next time you find yourself following a really great presenter, rather than bring the energy down, boost it by taking one of these approaches:

  • Thank the speaker and highlight a part of the talk you found helpful
  • Acknowledge the speaker’s success to the audience, for example, open with” Wow! – That was one great presentation –don’t you think?”
  • “Let’s have another round of applause for that great presentation”
  • Highlight a point the speaker made and how it relates to what you will present

Rather than dread following an excellent speaker – ride the wave of energy and excitement. Express gratitude to the previous speaker, acknowledge how good they are then give the audience your best.


© 2016 iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved – This speaking tip is one in a series provided by iSpeakEASY. We help people profit from their words. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.



Managing Difficult Audiences: A Workshop

In Uncategorized on April 17, 2018 at 10:19 PM

It Is Difficult To Present Controversial Or Unwanted Information

Have you needed to respond to a tough question, needed to deliver unwelcome information, or felt heckled at a program or meeting?  When done properly, both the audience and agency leave feeling heard and satisfied (even if not happy) with the results. When done poorly, it is like throwing gasoline on a fire. Your credibility will be questioned and you will leave feeling terrible. difficult audience

This session provides techniques to help set up and manage difficult discussions while remaining in control of the situation and  ensuring everyone has the opportunity to speak. You will learn techniques to diffuse conflict before it occurs, keep your meeting on-track , and provide respectful dialogue that allows everyone to share their opinion.

Participants will learn:

  • Tips to manage difficult meetings successfully
  • How to manage hecklers
  • To respond effectively to questions
  • Techniques to diffuse tense situations
  • Ways to determine when you are dealing with a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”
  • Techniques of Verbal Victories
  • To help your audience feel heard

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

10:30 AM– 2:30 PM

 Robert Livermore Community Center, Livermore, CA

 $110  per  person – To register

 (415) 342-7106