I suggest putting the company's logo or name on the same line as the transparency's title. (For an example, look at most of the samples in this book.) That way, you'll have plenty of space for your content.

Consider using frames

Some speakers tape each transparency to a cardboard or plastic frame. That's a good idea if you have only a few transparencies. In that case, the frames have these advantages:

• The frame provides an opaque edge that allows only the transparency itself to project onto the screen. Otherwise, there would be a glaring edge because the face of the overhead projector is larger than a transparency.

• The frame makes handling transparencies easier.

• It takes care of the static electricity problem. Freshly prepared transparencies have an amazing amount of static electricity. That causes them to cling, turning neat stacks into messes. A frame solves the problem.

• It helps you put the transparency on straight.

I use a neat device that replaces the cardboard frames—a plastic and glass frame that sits on the face of the overhead projector.

It's like an in-box with glass on the bottom and works perfectly. The sides of the device are about half an inch tall. I simply put it on the overhead at the beginning of my presentation and worry no more.

If you don't use frames, put tape on the face of the projector to cut out the glare. Simply put a test transparency on the projector, make sure it's projecting straight on the screen, and put tape all around the outside edges of the transparency.

In effect, you create on the projector a rectangular frame made of tape.

If you do use tape, don't use masking tape. Use drafting tape, which isn't very sticky. Masking tape can ruin the face of the projector: the top of the tape peels off later, but the glue tends to stay put.

If you have a lot of transparencies and use them frequently, you probably want to avoid frames. They're quite bulky. I can easily fit all the transparencies for a two-day seminar in my briefcase.

But if they had frames, I'd need several briefcases.

You can write brief notes on the frame. Some people like to write their transition statements on the frame so they can read those ivords as they place the transparency on the projector. Others like to list a few points they want to be sure to cover. Don't put too many notes on the frame, though, or you'll have more eye contact there than with your audience.

Label your transparencies

When you're giving your presentation and look down at your stack of transparencies, you can't see what's on the next one. Because they're "transparent," you can see through several at once—a jumbled mess of words and graphics.

I suggest you write a brief tide on the frame for each one. I don't number my transparencies because I'm always adding another, taking one out, or rearranging. Simple titles are effective.

If you don't have frames, put a label (the kind for file folders) on the bottom corner (which often doesn't project on the screen).

Here's an example of what I mean:

Tasks of a Desk Editor pagefitting stylizing sourcing


The next chapter gives you further tips for designing visual aids.

Designing visual aids —further tips

Bottom line

A.s with the previous chapter.; simply having visual aids is a good start, but having well-designed visual aids can make all the difference.

This chapter continues the previous chapter, "Designing visual aids."

These are the suggestions I'll cover:

• Be consistent with your design.

• Use varying type styles and sizes.

• Try replacing words with an image.

• Consider using graphs.

• Use only relevant clip art. Now let's look at examples of each.

Be consistent with your design

A common mistake people make is designing good individual visual aids but not a good set of visual aids. Each may look nice, but together they don't have a uniform appearance. These three transparencies are inconsistent:


Stylizing external internal


4/' checking facts V'checking MORE facts

Now let's use a consistent design:

Pagefitting placing the text on the page changing the text to fit

Sourcing checking facts checking MORE facts

A consistent design looks good to the audience. So try to keep the titles in the consistent places on each transparency; the spacing consistent; and the typefaces consistent for titles, headings, and body text.

There's a benefit to you, too: if you (and your company) have a consistent design, you can interchange transparencies for different presentations, and for different presenters, too.

Use varying type styles and sizes

Computers give us easy access to varying type styles (such as bold and italic) and sizes.

Here's a transparency that looks decent, but it makes the common mistake of using a bold typeface for all the text:

Mechanical expert system



• recharge battery

In the next chapter, I'll suggest using bold all the time for computer presentations: the lower resolution of the computer projection systems pretty well demands that. But for transparencies, bold all the time looks too bold.

Notice that you can now easily see which are the subordinate parts:

Mechanical expert system



• recharge battery

Using bold selectively helps audiences see your transparency's organization.

Try replacing words with an image

Bonnie Franklin, an expert communicator, says that the key to good visual aids is "to get the right image for the

That means looking beyond using only words on a visual aid and considering a diagram, drawing, map, or other image that may communicate more efficiently.

This is the most important change taking place today with visual aids. Many business people know how to use a graphics program. So getting or designing images is usually a snap.

The result is that audiences no longer need to yawn at seeing one bullet slide after another. So let's look at some examples.

Here's a transparency that tries to describe a computer network using only words:


Computer Networks

Computer networks consist of the following:

• workstations

Cables connect these components.

Notice how much more effective a diagram is:

Computer Networks

That's simple enough. What are some other types of "images"?

A drawing can be effective, too.

For example, if you're talking about something complicated like the effects of lift, drag, thrust, and gravity on an airplane, this line drawing is going to be much more effective than a word chart could ever be:

An actual picture of an airplane wouldn't work as well because it would have too many distracting features.

But a picture would be terrific for showing a building you're planning to move into, a television you're marketing, or the mountain you've just climbed.

Let's consider another example using something other than words. If you want to tell people where your regional headquarters are, your immediate thought might be to use a simple bullet transparency, like this:

Regional Headquarters

But notice how much more effective a map is:


Finding the right image isn't always easy, but once you discover it, it can get across instantly what a word chart might never convey effectively at all.

Consider also using:

• process diagrams

• organization charts

• tables (not exciting but often quite helpful)

• simple cartoons

• even photographs

A graph is another kind of image that can replace words, and we're all familiar with their value. The question I'll deal with is how to present graphs so they're easier to read. Today's technology can take us beyond yesterday's traditional presentation, and a simple, efficient graph like this is easy to produce—even on word processing programs:

Consider using graphs

Quarterly Sales


1000 750 500 250 0

1Q 2Q 3Q

A couple of suggestions I have are to remove clutter when possible and make the title convey the bottom line. Here's one possibility:

Sales Declining








1 Q



Use only relevant clip art

Clip art is prefabricated line drawings. People can buy hundreds or even thousands of clip art images and then scatter them throughout their transparencies. Audiences naturally turn their attention first to the clip art.

That's all right if the clip art is an integral part of the transparency's content—such as the illustration of a computer network or the aerodynamic forces on an airplane.

Often, though, the clip art is no more than empty—and distracting—decoration:

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