Monday, November 06, 2006

If your audience can't see your graph, they can't understand it

Why should you use a graph on a PowerPoint slide? To illustrate data that would have more impact when shown visually that any other way. So if you are trying to have greater impact, why would you choose colors for a line graph that the audience would not be able to see? A recent slide was a perfect illustration of this problem. The background is a dull medium-dark blue. Five lines on the graph: bright red, which is OK, then burgundy, dark blue, light blue and dark green - Huh? What was the presenter thinking? How they thought anyone could see those last four lines is beyond me. If your audience can't see the lines (or bars, columns, pie slices) of the graph, they have no hope of figuring out what the message is supposed to be. Make sure that when you put a graph on a PowerPoint slide, you change the default colors to ones that illustrate your point. An even better approach is to figure out what the single most important point is and have that data in an accent color and the rest of the data in the same less prominent color. This way the most important point jumps out at the audience. If you want more ideas on how to make your PowerPoint graphs effective and watch exactly how it is done, check out my video at .


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