Visual aids help your presentation make things happen. Visual aids help you reach your objectives by providing emphasis to whatever is being said. Clear pictures multiply the audience’s level of understanding of the material presented, and they should be used to reinforce your message, clarify points, and create excitement.
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 mutual beneficial to the audience and 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.
When preparing your visual aids you should include a clear, brief, heading on each slide or page. Use bullet or short phrases to complement your heading. Do not use sentences or entire paragraphs unless you plan to read them out loud, your audience will want to read what you show them. Avoid using all capital letters except in headings. Whether you use slides, overhead transparencies, flipcharts, models, photographs or drawings, keep visual aids simple: no more than three or four key points on each item. Its better to have a few extra slides than a lost audience. In preparing tables and charts for projection, limit data to key points. Include only columns, rows or plots that you plan to discuss. Leave details and more comprehensive data summaries for your written paper or a separate handout.
Leave plenty of white space or other background color to make your visuals easier to read. Check spelling and your slides’ readability by printing them on standard-sized paper. Then...
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