How to Highlight Specific Aspects of Your Innovative Presentations

By Ray Anthony, Barbara Boyd

A powerful way to draw attention in your innovative presentation to an intended part of your text, illustrations, diagrams, photos, or videos is to use other visual attention-getters to precisely emphasize and contrast what you wish. Your imaginative ideas can create almost unlimited ways to do that. Here are just a few examples:

  • With text, use a different color, font, size, bold, heavy underline, or italic to make it stand out. Also, consider putting a rectangular box filled in with color around the text. Without overdoing it, have your graphic designer manipulate your text to make it shout. Animating text is a surefire way to make it pop — not to mention a low-cost way to add visual interest to your presentation.

  • Blur out the areas you want to de-emphasize so the part that stays in focus gets the attention — what photographers call a wide depth of field.

  • Use a build or dissolve function in your slide show or video to reveal and selectively disclose parts of your visual to construct it sections at a time.

  • If you have a pie chart or bar chart, make the key sector or bar a bright color, while keeping the rest of the illustration black and white.

  • Spotlight a certain part of a diagram, illustration, or anything else by enlarging that part over the entire graphic as if a magnifying glass focused on it. Or lower the opacity of your graphic to 25 percent, while keeping the opacity at 100 percent for the part you want to stand out.

  • Use shapes, colors, and geometric elements to draw the audience’s eyes to where you want their concentration.

    For example, in a process flow chart that displays each step of the process in a box or other geometric shape, change the shape color as you talk about each step in the process. Use color arrows to dissolve onto the visual to point where you want. Consider using color circles, squares, and ellipses to overlay the parts of the visual you want to emphasize.

By using contrasting shapes or colors and showing single parts of the whole image at a time, you guide the viewers’ eyes to precisely where you want them to be.