Master Your Message Blog

How to Use Text Builds Effectively

Let’s look at “builds.” Builds are really powerful. They make information stick. Like goo.

I define builds as short phrases or words that are added to a screen on a particular cue. You can build text on the screen line by line or word by word.

The power of builds is that, if done properly, they visually reinforce key phrases you say that are really important. They can help make a specific idea memorable; set it apart from other screen text.

The important thing is the interaction between your voice and what appears on the screen.

From a learning perspective, two senses are way more powerful than one. So, saying a word and showing that word at the same time means your audience will remember it over 50% more accurately. This fact comes from John Medina’s “Brain Rules.”

Also … our eyes are attracted to movement. When something in a static scene changes, it gets our attention. As a television director for some 35 years, I can attest to the importance of this aspect of the human psyche. We are attracted my light, movement, and sound.

Here’s a fact: We learn better from animation and narration, particularly if presented simultaneously. When I use the word “animation,” I’m generalizing to include any kind of movement.

A couple of rules here: Build from top to bottom and from left to right – the way we read.

Now, if I’m presenting a series of steps and I want the audience to concentrate on each one, I’ll build them one at a time. You can either build them one at a time to the screen at full intensity or as some prefer, grey out each point as you add on the next one.

If I want to treat a series of points as a whole set of steps and talk about them as one, I’ll bring them to the screen at the same time.

So … presenting something logical – in a series of steps? Build it and say it and make it stick! Like goo!

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