What, why, how & software marissam. andal-zamora
Why use Visual Aids? Preparation for your presentation should involve design of any visual aids which help your audience to understand what you are saying. Images and and diagrams can convey messages and information which, if spoken, would take longer to explain and be harder to digest. However, dont assume that you can flash up a diagram and the audience will immediately understand what it means. They need time and clear explanations to make sense of your material. Visual stimuli combined with your oral delivery also make the presentation more memorable. They are also a good way of maintaining your audiences interest and attention. Make sure they support and complement what you are saying, not directly repeat, contradict or distract from your speech.What is a Visual Aid? The main types of visual aids are whiteboard, flip chart, overhead projector (OHP), PowerPoint (or other presentation software), video, props, handouts, yourselves demonstrating an action or in a role play. Which types of visual aid might you use in your next presentation? For example, consider whether PowerPoint is the best way to show a detailed diagram or would a handout be better? What might you use a flip chart for?
Whats the purpose of your visual aids? Visual aids can be a great way of enhancing a presentation VISUALLY – when they are used sensibly and with a clear purpose. You need to relate your visual aids to your audience and to the type of presentation you are designing. It needs to be suited to that audience. For example, if its just a small intimate presentation you might just want to use a few sheets on a flipchart and forget about using your PC and PowerPoint. Especially if its an interactive presentation / discussion you’re having – as the audience can then partly own the flip chart with you and hence buy into overall process more easily. Obviously if its a bigger more formal presentation then it’s probably expected that you’ll be using a software tool such as PowerPoint. But remember it’s there to enhance your message – not just your prompts!Managing your visual aids It’s also important to think about how you are going to manage your visual aids. Where to place them in the room. How to work around them physically. How visible will they be to the audience. All these sorts of practical things are best thought through ahead of when you are actually standing there ready to present.
Aptness to the Audience and Topic Remember that in the preparation of your presentation, the audience is an important factor to consider. Though the highlight is you as the presenter, the audience is your judge and critique. In choosing your visual aids, know your audience and what suits them. For example, when doing a presentation before a board of directors, you may use PowerPoint presentation which gives it a more professional approach. Furthermore, find a visual that suits your topic. You may need more of illustrations or photographs if the topic itself is very visual. The use of graphs works best for sales or business presentations. If not through PowerPoint presentation, these graphs may be prepared using charts.Availability of the Visual Material It is futile choosing what visual aid matches your presentation and the topic if the material itself is not readily available. If you are planning to use illustrations, for instance, they have to be prepared and obtained prior to the presentation. For Power Point presentations, make sure that the venue has an available overhead projector. Otherwise, you will be struggling in finding an alternative during the presentation proper. Worse, your prepared outline will be messed up. To make sure you have your visual materials ready, do a complete check of these items one day before the presentation starts. If you use electronic items such as desktops, laptops, or videotapes, make sure that these are working perfectly. Otherwise, it may be too late to fix technical issues on the day of the presentation.
You will probably have your own ideas about this, so think about how you feel about PowerPoint as a member of the audience and list good and poor techniques. This example of a PowerPoint presentation highlights common pitfalls and techniques for making the most of PowerPoint including aspects using as: PowerPoint as a script Designing accessible visual aids Effective diagrams and graphs Referencing You might also find guidance on Getting Started with PowerPoint useful.Using your Visual Aids: Here are a few suggestions for making most effective use of your carefully designed visual aids: Be careful not to stand in front and obscure the view of your audience. Avoid reading from the large projector screen as this means you turn your back to the audience obscuring eye contact and reducing projection of your voice. If you need to read directly from the text look at the PC or laptop screen. Try making brief notes on index cards, including any details like dates, statistics or names that you need to get right. No-one will expect you to speak without an aide memoir. Be sure to interact with the information on your visual aids by pointing to specific points or part of diagrams etc. This helps the audience to make links between your speech and detail on the visual aids. Think about what you want the audience do with any handouts. If they need them during the session hand them out when necessary. If they are for future reference consider handing them out at the end to avoid them causing distraction. Advise the audience of what you plan to do.