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Event Recap: It Takes More Than Charts and Graphs to Win An Audience

by Sandy Duran, Marketing Specialist, Arup

Artitudes Design led our first SMPS Seattle Education Workshop of 2014: "It Takes More Than Charts & Graphics to Win an Audience." To download the full presentation, please click here.

Led by Gerri Russell and Steve Ahlbom, the presentation team began the workshop with an exercise, asking the group what kind of graphics we commonly use, for proposals and presentations, and how we can make them more visually engaging. Responses included organizational charts, project schedules, and process diagrams. Our responses were given to Artitudes graphic designer, Robin Warren, who was challenged to create eye-catching graphics.

The Artitudes team alos introduced us to a Top Ten list for creating visual impact in your messaging. These simple steps will guide and your graphic and presentation skills to stand out from the rest!

Top Ten List

#10 - Be Interesting - Focus on passion and genuine interest

    • Remember it's about them...NOT YOU


#9 - Know your Audience - Know you audience, first and foremost

  • Goal is to build a bridge between your message and audience


#8 - Create a Signature Style - Create your own style and then perfect it

  • Create a unique story, message, and style


#7 - Tell a Story - Have a single, clear BIG IDEA in mind when presenting

  • Get rid of extra info. Less is always more
  • Clean up graphics to a consistent color to create a cohesive and professional look


Before Slide - Text and images are small and hard to read

After slide - Text is bigger, images have been changed to a uniform color

#6 - Keep it Simple - Keep your pages clean, less is more!

  • Keep words to a minimum
  • Use images instead of text, when possible
  • Keep one idea per page or slide


#5 - Prepare for Success - Measure twice, cut once

  • Remember to plan - if you have a week or hours to prepare, an outline, sticky notes or whiteboarding can guide your presentation to success.


#4 - Be Visual - Visual aids have been found to improve learning by up to 400%

  • 10% of people remember what they hear, 20% of what they read and 80% of what they see!


#3 - Be the Expert - Be an eternal student

  • Know you subject so well that your audience has no room to question
  • Be selective on what you present. What you leave out is just as important.


#2 - Practice, Polish, Prepare - Show your audience you're invested in their message

  • Practice your presentation, time it and have an audience to critique your performance


#1 - Enlist Others

  • Review grammar and spelling errors
  • Simplify your message
  • Enlist the help of a trained graphic designer to enhance graphic content


Other tips and tricks:

  • Use animation to add life to graphics and enhance a specific point
  • When presenting in a dark room, use dark background and light text
  • When presenting in a lit room, use light background and dark text
  • Use appendix section for lengthy, detailed information to keep the front of the proposal, crisp, clear and easy to read
  • Don't be afraid of white space. White space gives the eye a natural resting place.


Returning to the earlier exercise, Robin provided the group an example of a process diagram and how to present the information in a new way. Using a circular chart and breaking down the availability and responsibilities per phase. Using color, different shapes and animation, turns a static and flat graphic into a more engaging and visually effective piece of information.

Artitudes will be hosting and presenting a PowerPoint tips and tricks event on March 7th from 12:00 to 2:00 pm. Space is limited, RSVP to Anna True at [email protected] to guarantee a spot. This is a free event, just bring your own lunch!


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