Presentation Pizzazz Adding Impact to Learning

A Special Presentation by

BOB LUCAS President, Creative Presentation Resources, Inc.

© Copyright 1993, 2001 Creative Presentation Resources, Inc. P.O. Box 180487 Casselberry, Florida 32718-0487. (800)308-0399/(407)695-5535. E-Mail: [email protected] All Rights Reserved.

FIGURE 8-1 b. (Continued)

Use of a few colors can aid appearance whereas too much color can distract and make material look thrown together and unprofessional. If you are unsure how to match colors, seek the advice of someone who has that knowledge (e.g., artist, marketing professional, or books on arts and graphic design).

Color can aid learning and appeal to emotions, as you read in Chapter 5.

Black ink works well on lighter colored (e.g., pastel) and white paper; however, it does not show up well on dark papers (e.g., purple and red).

Use red sparingly, as people who are color blind have difficulty reading large sections of text in that color. It is also puts a strain on the eyes.

Spacing and Margins

A general tip when creating written materials is to leave plenty of white space. This aids ease of reading and provides areas for writing notes. Most people use 1-inch margins at the top, bottom, and on each side of text pages. They also leave blank line space between key points and paragraphs. Headers typically have at least two blank line spaces above and one below so that they stand out. Subheadings usually have one blank line space above and below them. If you are going to bind (e.g., put in a notebook, glue, or staple) a participant workbook, leave at least 1/2-2 inches on the left margin so that participants can easily read the beginning of sentences once the material is bound.

,>ages. Also, consider including blank pages that have a graphic border with a header NOTES. If you are using a chapter or section format for your guide, leave at least one of these per chapter. If there are no distinct section breaks, insert a few note pages throughout the guide. There is a sample NOTES page in the Tools for Trainers section of the appendices at the end of each chapter.

Although there is no hard and fast rule on the length of sentences and paragraphs, your goal should be ease of reading, holding participant interest, and comprehension. To achieve this when writing, keep your average sentence length to between 20 and 30 words. Anything longer may require rewriting. Making sentences too complex limits their effectiveness and can confuse readers.

Related to sentence length, pay attention to the length and complexity of paragraphs. Remember that paragraphs should contain only one key idea or focus. You can reduce paragraph length by limiting the number of key points or subordinate clauses, which are separated by commas.

New paragraphs are set off by either indenting the first line, or by separating it from the previous paragraph by a single blank line.

There are many software packages and books that provide cartoons, pictures, borders, creative fonts, and other graphics that you can use to make your visual message sizzle (see Resources for Trainers in the appendices). Visual images can reinforce the meaning of your written message or enhance what you are saying. Use care to select images that complement or are in congruence with the words.

Provide Note Space hen creating multiple-page participant workbooks or guides, leave plenty

Text Length

Adding Artwork

Putting a face on writing

Putting a face on writing

MINDMAP 1. Clarifying Written Messages

As you saw in Figure 8-1a, adding art to your cover sheets can make a difference in appearance. You may also want to consider including pictures, graphs, diagrams, clip art, caricatures, graphic bullets, or other visual images in your text. As I have done throughout this book, you can entice learners to your written message by placing graphics to attract attention or to reinforce a point. This often works because many people grow up reading newspaper comics or comic books. For that reason, they are already conditioned to seeing a combination of written and graphic messages. This can work to your advantage because they subconsciously see a cartoon or graphic image, which often attracts them because of fond childhood memories. Once they get to the image, they will likely read the text to see what it is about. It is then that you hook them and hold their interest through the text.


Obtain a copy of a participant workbook from any program that you or your organization has produced or purchased. Using the information you just read, do an analysis of the material to see what improvements or changes you night make.

What is your immediate reaction to the appearance of the material when you look at the cover or thumb through contents?_

What do you like about the material?

What changes might you make?

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