Using Visual Aids in Presenting

Our presentation courses are planned to significantly improve presentation skills to allow delegates of all levels to be able to make powerful presentations.  The presentation seminars that we provide are packed full of presentation tips and techniques that demonstrate strategies which will show delegates how to reduce nerves in presentations and to allow them to present confidently when presenting to clients or colleagues. Our presentation skills workshops are designed not just to show delegates how to make a simple presentation: they are designed to show delegates how to create a successful presentation also maximising the applications of PowerPoint to make great presentationsPresentation training will allow delegates to build on their presenting skills; make better presentations; enjoy making presentations and teach delegates how to present successfully.  Delegates who have taken our Presentation Courses have expressed how much they enjoyed the variety in our presentation skills training and now feel confident to present in any situation.

The benefit of using visual aids in your presentation

Visual aids should be used to reinforce your message, clarify points, and create excitement. Visual aids will help you reach your objectives by providing emphasis to what is being said. Clear pictures multiply the audience’s level of understanding of the material presented.

Visual aids involve your audience and require a change from one activity to another: from hearing to seeing. When you use visual aids, their use tends to encourage gestures and movement on your part. This extra movement reinforces the control that you, the speaker, need over the presentation. The use of visual aids, then, are mutually beneficial to the audience and to you.

Visual aids add impact and interest to a presentation. They enable you to appeal to more than one sense at the same time, thereby increasing the audience’s understanding and retention level. With pictures, the concepts or ideas you present are no longer simply words – but words plus images.

People tend to be eye-minded, and the impacts visual aids bring to a presentation are, indeed, significant. The studies, below, reveal interesting statistics that support these findings:

  • In many studies, experimental psychologists and educators have found that retention of information three days after a meeting or other event is six times greater when information is presented by visual and oral means than when the information is presented by the spoken word alone.
  • Studies by educational researchers suggest that approximately 83% of human learning occurs visually, and the remaining 17% through the other senses – 11% through hearing, 3.5% through smell, 1% through taste, and 1.5% through touch.
  • The studies suggest that three days after an event, people retain 10% of what they heard from an oral presentation, 35% from a visual presentation, and 65% from a visual and oral presentation.

The use of visual aids, then, is essential to all presentations. Without them, the impact of your presentation may leave the audience shortly after the audience leaves you. By preparing a presentation with visual aids that reinforce your main ideas, you will reach your audience far more effectively, and, perhaps, continue to “touch” them long after the presentation ends.

Adding the visual dimension

Visuals add an important dimension to a presentation, and you, the speaker, must capitalize on this dimension. It is critical that you prepare visual aids that reinforce your major points, stimulate your audience, and work well in the physical setting of your presentation.

Visual aids and audio-visuals include a wide variety of communication products, including flip charts, overhead transparencies, slides, audio-slide shows, and video tapes. Demonstrating a process or simply passing around a sample of some equipment or model are also effective way to clarify messages visually. If visual aids are poorly selected or inadequately done, they will distract from what you are saying.

Tips on preparing visual aids

  • Start with at least a rough outline of the goal and major points of the presentation before selecting the visual aid(s). For example, a particular scene or slides may trigger ideas for the presentation, providing the power of images. Do not proceed too far without first determining what you want to accomplish, what your audience wants to gain, and what the physical setting requires.
  • Each element of an audio-visual product – a single slide or a page of a flip chart presentation, for example, – must be simple and contain only one message. Placing more than one message on a single image confuses the audience and diminishes the potential impact of visual media. Keep visual aids BRIEF.
  • Ask the audience to read or listen, not both; visual aids should not provide reading material while you talk. Rather, use them to illustrate or highlight your points.
  • Give participants paper copies of various graphic aids used in your presentation. They will be able to write on the paper copies and have them for future reference.
  • Determine the difference between what you will say and what the visual aid will show. Do not read straight from your visuals.
  • Assess your cost constraints. An overhead transparency presentation can always be used in a formal environment if 35 mm slides are too expensive.
  • Use local photographs and examples when discussing general problems and issues. While a general problem concerning welding safety, for example, may elude someone, illustrating with a system in use at the site can bring the issue home.
  • Use charts and graphs to support the presentation of numerical information.
  • Develop sketches and drawings to convey various designs and plans.
  • When preparing graphics, make sure they are not too crowded in detail. Do no over-use colour. See that line detail, letters, and symbols are bold enough to be seen from the back of the room.
  • Account for production time in your planning and selection process. Slides must be developed, videotape edited – you do not want to back yourself against a wall because the visuals are not ready. You can often get production work done in 24-48 hours, but it is much more expensive than work that is done on an extended schedule.
  • Do not use visual aids for persuasive statements, qualifying remarks, emotional appeals, or any type of rhetorical statement.
  • If you have handouts, don’t let them become a distraction during the presentation. They should provide reinforcement following your address. Consider giving them out after the presentation, unless the audience will use them during the presentation or will need to review them in advance of the presentation.
  • Seek feedback on the clarity of your visuals and do so early enough to allow yourself time to make needed adjustments.
  • Practice presenting the full program using graphic materials so you are familiar with their use and order. If you use audio-visual materials, practice working with them and the equipment to get the timing down right.

Excellent presentation skills give you a platform to demonstrate your sales skills, leadership qualities, communication skills, influencing abilities and promotion potential. Our objective over the two days is to teach you the skills and techniques that will give you both the confidence and competence to enjoy making presentations in all situations. We will be giving action points to sharpen your image; reduce nerves; allow you to appear both confident and competent and increase your credibility in the eyes of colleagues and clients.

PowerPoint presentation skills, Advanced Presentation skills and Presentation skills are three of the courses trained by Total Success Training, a training consultancy specialising in communication training and management skills in London and throughout the UK. Other related courses include sales presentation skills, training the trainer, assertiveness skills, selling skills, negotiation skills and communication skills for managers. Click here if you need more information regarding presentation skills course information or contact Total Success who will be delighted to talk to you via e-mail.

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