Visual Voice

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Part 1: Discover What’s Missing from Your Presentation

If people learn a majority of content from visuals, it’s important for presenters to show what they’re saying as much as speak it to their audience. You have likely seen a few presentations so filled with words, both spoken and presented in the slides, that you had difficulty hearing the message.

Presentations are best understood when delivered with a well-spoken message and an equally good visualization of the message. A great speaker with poor slides is using only half their power to speak to the audience. The missing half is a complementary partner to their speaking ability: their visual voice.

The visual voice is like a fingerprint. It is a presenter’s communication style using images and design elements to deepen the meaning of and multiply the impact of their verbal presentation.

Effective use of visual voice helps the audience to remember the presentation by guiding them to better select, organize, and integrate the information into something meaningful in their memory. The visual voice supports the verbal voice to create a coherent message where the verbal and visual are meaningfully presented together.

The effective presenter’s visual voice can enhance the audience’s understanding of the message by showing what they are saying. The ability to visualize a presentation with the appropriate and judicious use of graphic design is the beginning of developing one’s visual voice.

The graphic quality of the visual voice is like the tonal quality of a singer’s voice and both are developed through practice. You may be thinking that you’re not a graphic designer, but the truth is you have skills waiting to be developed! You may be thinking that you have no artistically creative cell in your brain. Even if the one cell that you have is hiding in the deepest recesses, it can be developed and then shown how to raise up a few others. You can learn to apply a few basic graphic design principles, or guidelines, to empower your presentation with visual voice. 

You can learn to apply a few basic graphic design principles, or guidelines, to empower your presentation with visual voice and increase the chance your audience will remember what you’ve said. 

In part 2 of the Visual Voice series, explore how the power of visual voice can literally create a more memorable presentation.

In part 3, uncover the how-to techniques of building up your visual voice with a few basic graphic design techniques.