Sticky Presentations bite size article: Removing clutter in charts

Removing clutter charts

May 15, 2015

Clutter in presentation slides is the culprit that is responsible for the messy, wordy, and difficult to understand visuals. This seems to be a norm in many presentations that we have seen. Squeezing tons of information on a single slide or adding extra decoration to fill up empty space will not increase efficiency when presenting.

To reduce and simplify is the best solution if we want clarity in the message. It might take time to simplify complex information. One area where we can start is to look at charts that we use in our presentation slides. Start by removing unnecessary clutter such as extra colours, lines, labels, words, etc. from your chart. It will make your chart simpler leading to higher impact as your audience will be able to see the key information clearer.

Here is an example of a cluttered chart compared to one that is less cluttered. See the difference?

Cluttered chart is difficult to comprehend. The key message is hidden.
Example of a cluttered chart
Removing clutter (background, colours, lines, text) improves clarity and brings focus to the key message.
Chart that is less cluttered is clearer
Cluttered removed and chart redesigned with more focused. Key message is clear.

Be focused and simple. Give it a try for your next presentation. Start simple by removing extra lines and colours from your charts that you want to use in your next presentation.

The author, ANG Tian Teck is a coach, trainer, and speaker, specialising in inspiring organisations and business leaders to deliver high impact presentations. He has coached, trained, and infected over 10,000 individuals across the region with his Amazing Sticky Presentations approach. Tian Teck is also the author of two books, Sticky Presentations, and Spinning I.D.E.A.S.

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