Most presenters find that using some sort of visual aid helps them to engage their audience. Some people, however, make the mistake of leaning too heavily on their visual aids. Doing so detracts from their speech and distracts the audience. Think back on the age-old elementary school activity “show and tell”. You show your audience something and then tell them a story about it. That is how you should use any visual aid in your presentation.
Here are some great visual aids that can add to the success of your presentation when used to enhance your message.
PowerPoint Slides: Skip the titles, bullet points, and dense paragraphs (they only distract the audience). Simple photos on a projection screen can visually illustrate a point and begin to tell your story without going overboard. Choose simple, well-composed photos that don’t have busy backgrounds or poor lighting for the best effect. Put the Power Back into PowerPoint!
Props: Presenters rarely think about using physical objects to help illustrate a point. Steve Jobs did it when he announced the original MacBook Air. He did not settle for having an image projected on a slide . . . he stepped it up . . . picking up an office envelope and pulling out the world’s thinnest notebook which instantly awed the entire audience.
Video: As our colleagues at e-slide point out, video can help bring information to life. It can also help the audience better understand a complex message, view a product demonstration, as well as engage them on a whole new level. Remember though, use video only if it enriches and supports the message you want to convey. Do not use it as a crutch to deliver your presentation.
How have you been using visual aids in your presentations? Rather than relying on text-heavy PowerPoint, be bold and try something new and turn your “show” and “tell” into a message your listeners will remember.
Please share what works for you!