Use Visual Aids to Enhance ... Not Destroy ... Your Presentations by Chris King
Visual aids can add a new dimension to our presentations. When used properly they will enhance our presentation and make it memorable. When used improperly, however, they will distract from our impact as presenters. They will not only bore and confuse our audiences, they will also put them to sleep. I have attended more presentations than I even want to think about where the speaker somehow felt that he or she must use PowerPoint slides. It is a fabulous program and when used properly can spark up any presentation. However, only about 10 per cent of the presenters use it properly, so beware! Use a variety of visual aids. We agree that visual aids will add a new dimension to our presentations, but which ones should we use. I suggest incorporating many. It will keep your presentation interesting and lively. Having flip charts around the room that audience participants move to for various feedback exercises that involve them; using slides with more graphics than words or even relative cartoons; posters; useful handouts; and props that serve as metaphors can all work together to hold attention. Use PowerPoint with care. With the advent of high tech tools today, it is easy to turn to presentation programs like PowerPoint, use the templates, and voila! you have your whole presentation on slides. Yes, I have experienced many well executed and exciting presentations where the speaker made excellent use of this approach. I have also experienced more presentations where the speaker depended upon his/her slides for the whole presentation. They were loaded with too much information or too many animated distractions for us to understand what the speaker wanted us to take away from the presentation. Also, if you depend for your whole presentation on PowerPoint, that will be the day when something goes wrong and it doesn’t work. Always have a backup plan! Keep it simple. The time-tested KISS (Keep...
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