Giving effective group presentations involves many aspects that require planning and organizing. The use of visual aids in presentations is a tool that can help to make the presentation more effective and also serve to enhance the audience’s perception of the presenter and gain the audience attention, if done correctly. In this discussion the focus will be on the advantages and disadvantages of using presentation aids, then analyze four presentation aids that can be used in group meetings.
The reason to use visual aids is to make something happen. Visual aids add an important element to a presentation that without their use could leave the audience unclear of the intent of the message. One of the effects of visual aids is they can have a powerful impact upon catching and maintaining the audience interest in the presentation. When the audience is listening to the presenter and alsolooking at the visual they are using more of their senses. Therefore, visual aids canhelp to keep the audience involved, and interacting with the presentation. Once the presenter has the audience’s attention ideally he or she would like for them to retain the information. Studies reveal however that retention is only 10% when the message delivered was only verbal. The impact of visual aids upon memory increases that retention, when combined with the verbal communication, retention increases to 65% of the message delivered. The audience will also perceive the presenter as more credible, as well prepared, and as a professional when the presentation captures their interest and informs them with visual aids as a supplement to the presentation (U.S. Dept. of Labor, 1996)
These advantages lose their value however when the presentation material is not prepared correctly. Done improperly, visual aids can create a distraction and take the focus off of the presenter. Many presenters forget that the presentation is not about the aid. The aid is to do just that, aid the presentation, not for the presentation to aid the visual aid. If the incorrect aid is used or it is poorly developed it will distract from the message being delivered. For example, if slides in a PowerPoint are dull, uninteresting, or unnecessary the audience could view it as a waste of time.The use of the same graphics can be boring to the audience that has seen the same material in several presentations. If the presenter is not creative in his or her ability to develop the visual aid, the presenter should have assistance form someone who does. If the wrong aid for the presentation room was used the aid can take away from the presentation as well. For example, using flip charts in a large auditorium would be ineffective because many in the audience would not be able to view it(Sandro, 2006).
Picking the correct aid for the audience, the presentation, and the presentation room is essential. The presenter must do his or her research and use the aid that works the best in the physical setting the presentation is given in, and one that works well for the audience. The focus will now be on viewing the advantages and disadvantages of using computer generated slides, handouts, use of flip charts, and of overhead transparencies.
Building credibility with the audience is essential and presenting a professional image can help to create that impression upon the them. Computer generated slides such as in this PowerPoint presentation is one way to use a visual aid to help enhance the message being delivered to the audience. The slides can give the audience, and the presenter, the topic point and direction for the presentation. The information can be changed easily in the matter of seconds for any editing the presenter finds necessary and almost any data can be reproduced and inserted into the presentation. While presenting this data to the audience the presenter can stay focused on the audience and keep eye contact while they observe him or her an stage.The presenter can lose his or her audience just as quickly as gain it if the slides are a distraction. The audience will not stay focused on the slides or the presentation if the slides are too busy with data. The slides again are just a supplement to the presentation. The last thing you want to have happen is to lose the audience attention. Often times the lights are dimmed too dark during the presentation for the audience to see the presenter. This is certain to make the audience sleepy so do not do it. Keep the lights up, keep the room energized, and keep the audience engaged (Tulder, 2011).
One way to keep the audience engaged is through the use of handouts. Leaving spots in the handouts with purposely left blank spaces for the audience to fill in will help to keep their attention and follow along. Leaving space for people to take notes while following along will also help keep them interested and engaged in the presentation. As the speaker presents the information he or she must be aware of the speed at which they speak so as to not lose the audience place in the handout. Another concern with handouts is the audience reading ahead and not listening to the material being presented. One way to avoid this is to just put in limited information into the handouts so they have to listen. Make sure to bring enough copies for as many as can possibly come to the presentation. One way to irritate part of the audience is by forgetting to bring enough copies for them. This can end up being a costly way to present material (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2007).
For a less expensive visual aid to use in presenting data the presenter could make use of flip carts. These are easy to use and requires nothing more than the paper, pedestal, and a marker. Flow charts are easy to set up and are easy transported and portable. This is an excellent choice in the right presentation format for interacting with the audience.The drawback for this type of aid once again depends upon the size of the audience and auditorium. In large auditoriums the people may simply be too far away to see the presenters writing no matter how large the print. The presenters writing can also be a deterrent to the use of flip charts if the presenter’s writing is illegible (Taranto, 2004).
Like flip charts, overhead transparencies are easy to use and they also have an advantage that flip charts don’t offer, which is they are also good for presenting material to a large audience in a large auditorium. The transparencies are easy to create in preparation for the presentation, and should the same presentation be repeated, the transparencies can be easily stored as they are for future use.Overhead transparency projectors are not as easily transported as flip charts which makes flip charts the better option in some cases. The use of transparencies is an older technology and their use could give the impression the presenter is not as professional and perhaps outdated thus losing some credibility. They are somewhat noisy and the light from them may create a distraction as well (Get Ahead, 2005).
Visual aids are powerful. They can be the icing on the cake or the rain on the parade. To ensure visual aids are not undermining the presentation, research must be done on the audience about their beliefs and values. Also research the size, lighting, and sound system of the meeting place. Cost and budget is certainly part of the research required. If done correctly the presenter can gain the audience attention and keep them engaged. It just requires some research and making the decision of which aid will best compliment the presentation.
Presentation Tools Jeff Werner PSY/430 Becky Benson University of Phoenix July 4, 2011
Introduction Visual aids are a supplemental tool to enhance presentationsDiscuss advantages and disadvantages of 4 visual aids
Advantages of Visual Aids Make topic more interesting Enhances perception Help of speaker audience to remember
Disadvantages of Visual Aids If they create a distraction If graphics are uninteresting If the wrong visual aid is used
Selecting Presentation AidsAnalysis of the following types ofvisual aids• Computer generated slides• Handouts• Flip charts• Overhead transparencies
Computer Generated Slides Advantages • Looks professional • Easy to change data • Possible to reproduce data • Able to retain eye contact with audience Disadvantages • Distract audience attention • Use too much data in slides • Presentation room is too dark
Handouts Advantages Disadvantages• Helps to keep • Lose audience audience engaged • Audience reading• Help people follow ahead along • Irritate audience by• Space for taking notes not having enough copies • Expensive
Flip Charts Advantages Disadvantages• Inexpensive • Too small for large• Easy to use auditorium• Portable • Illegible handwriting• Good for interacting with audience
Overhead TransparenciesAdvantages Disadvantages• Easy to use • Big and bulky• Can be used in large • Not as professional auditorium • Distracting• Transparencies can be easily changed and stored
ConclusionVisual aids are powerful if done correctlyResearch is requiredMaking the decision
ReferencesGet Ahead (2005). Advantages and disadvantages of visual aids. Retrieved from http://www.getahead-direct.com/gwpr07- advantages-of-visual-aids.htmSandro, M. (2006). How visual aids undermine presentations - 3 ways you nay be boring your audience to tears. Retrieved from: http://www.articlesbase.com/presentation-articles/how-visual-aids-undermine-presentations-3-ways-you- may-be-boring-your-audience-to-tears-61887.html#axzz1QrZDd75nTaranto, M. (2004). The pros and cons of visual education tools. Retrieved from http://www.allbusiness.com/north- america/united-states-california-metro-areas/767789-1.htmlTulder, R. V., (2011) Skill sheets - An integrated approach to research, study and management. Retrieved from http://www.skillsheets.com/docs/F-Presentation/F5_(Dis)advantages%20PowerPoint.pdfUnited States Department of Labor (1996). Presenting effective presentations with visual aids. Retrieved from: http://www.osha.gov/doc/outreachtraining/htmlfiles/traintec.htmlUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison (2007). Delivering a talk. Retrieved from http://www.learning.wisc.edu/ugsymposium/delivery.html