The Five C's of Credit

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Audiences may spend time admiring your clip art rather than listening to you.

There are two good places for creative clip art, however.

One is a repeated design—on a series of transparencies in a row. If, for example, you're talking about trucks for a few transparencies, then airplanes, then trains, consider putting the image of a truck or an airplane or a train on the all the appropriate ones. That way, the clip art serves to help members of the audience recognize changes in topic (truck to airplane to train).

Another good place for creative clip art is the title transparency. It's often on the screen as the audience arrives. Because the presentation hasn't even started, the clip art can serve as an indicator that your presentation is going to be interesting.

Here's an example of clip art on a title transparency:

Now let's turn to a specific application for many of these tips: computer presentations. They are the next generation of visual aids.

Designing computer presentations

Bottom line

Computer presentations should be more than simply slides that computers help project. To be fully effective, computer presentations should take advantage of the added capability and features of computers.

For years I used color transparencies as my primary medium when giving presentations. Now I've shifted much of what I present to computer presentations.

That's because computer presentations allow me to use movement, sound, and far more images to help me make my points.

There are some drawbacks of computer presentations, such as added equipment and expense. But the benefits usually outweigh them as long as you're not simply showing computerized overhead transparencies.

Do the last two chapters still apply for computer presentations? Absolutely! Virtually everything in those chapters applies fully. This chapter gives you other considerations.

Here's what I suggest:

• Consider how you'll be projecting your images.

• Be careful in choosing your fonts.

• Use more images to make your point.

• Use special effects purposefully. Let's look at these more closely.

Consider how you'll be projecting your images

There are several ways to let audiences see what's on your computer screen:

• Monitors. You can project onto a large (perhaps really large) monitor. Normally, this monitor will be on a stand in front of an audience. But there could be several monitors, and they could be hanging from the ceiling.

• Televisions. You can use little gizmos to hook your computer into a regular television. The resolution isn't as good as with a monitor, but it's workable with small audiences.

• LCD panels. These are "liquid crystal display" panels and are quite popular. They sit on top of overhead projectors. The light passes through the panel and projects the image onto the same kind of screen you'd use for projecting an ordinary transparency. You want to be sure you have a very bright overhead projector; otherwise, the audience will see a dim image on the screen.

• Projectors. These look a little like 35-millimeter slide projectors. They sit on a table or hang from the ceiling. And although they're heavy and expensive, they project the brightest image.

So why is it important for you to know how you'll be projecting your image? Well, there are some design considerations.

For example, if you're using an LCD panel, the lights will probably have to be very dim in the room. There is a good chance you'll seem like a disembodied voice. So if there are parts when you expect the audience members to be looking at you, they may not be able to see you easily. Therefore, you need to design your presentation to show more on the screen.

Also, if you're using a monitor or television, using a pointer can be quite awkward. Don't count on it. Let images on the screen (like suddenly appearing arrows) show your audience where to look.

And images on a monitor or television may be quite a bit smaller than those you'd have with an LCD panel. As a result, fonts and graphics need to be bigger with a monitor or television.

Regardless of how you project your image, try to use a remote mouse. You can move about the room easily and simply click whenever you want the next image to come on the screen.

Be careful in choosing your fonts

In Chapter 2 2,1 recommended 28-point sans serif type for transparencies, and I said you should use bold only for titles. However, for computer presentations, I want to modify that recommendation.

The resolution for computer presentations is normally not as good as for transparencies. For computer presentations, then, I recommend at least 32 points for your text, bold all the time. Sans serif type is even more important for computer presentations, again because it projects better when your medium has poorer resolution.

The size may need to be even larger than 32 points. You may want to experiment with 34-point or even 36-point type.

Since you're using such a large point size, you may want to use a condensed font, such as Arial Narrow, to get more on the page. You can see that Arial Narrow takes less horizontal space than Arial, but still looks large on the page:

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