Visual Aids

January 5, 2010

Visual aids should be exactly that; something to look at that helps to get your message across.  Something the audience can look at, something that engages an additional one of their senses.  They may be slides, computer generated graphics, they may be objects you can hold and touch.  Anything that adds more to your presentation and that helps to get your message across.

Visual aids should not be a constant stream of bullet points, which people can read instead of listening to what you are saying. It is doubtful that people can both listen to you and read your bullets at the same time. All a screen full of bullet points does is enable the audience to get ahead of you, they don’t add any value to your presentation.

If you are prone to creating presentations full of bullet points then after you have finished creating all this bullet point slides, go back through them one by one and ask yourself ‘How could I convey that information using pictures?’  Some people will find this much easier than others will.  Luckily, with the Internet you are now no longer constrained to using clip art.  Search the net for photographs and images, which can help you to convey your message.  You may end up with more slides but you will also have a more interesting presentation.

You need to be careful that you do not infringe any one’s copyright.  But there are thousands of copyright free images and libraries of images that you can purchase the rights to use.

Once you have replaced the bullet points with images, do not throw away the bullets put them on to your cue cards so they remind you what you are going to say while the image is being displayed.

There are people who dislike PowerPoint (or similar software) presentations. Personally I am not anti-PowerPoint, I think that showing a good visual aid while you are talking helps to convey your message and can make it more memorable. The key part of that last sentence was the “good visual aid”. Showing a set of bullet points while you talk is a very poor presentation style.

Presentation Training and Coaching is available from the author of this blog. Please visit my presentation training  website.

Give me a day and I’ll change your presentations, forever

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Mental Pictures

January 5, 2010

Telling stories which your audience can associate with and where they can create a mental picture of the story is a great way of gaining buy in to your presentation. 

When the story is a personal anecdote then it’s even better as people are usually much better at telling stories from personal experience.  People tend to put more emotion into such a story and can bring it to life. This makes it more interesting for you audience.  By sharing a piece of yourself, through retelling a personal story, the audience will gain a better understanding of you and will become more involved. They will trust you more, which all helps in gaining their approval and commitment to your objective.

Presentation Training and Coaching is available from the author of this blog. Please visit my presentation training  website.

Give me a day and I’ll change your presentations, forever


Graphics

January 5, 2010

‘Death by PowerPoint’ is a well known phrase these days, but is it really PowerPoint’s fault?  While after dinner speakers rarely use PowerPoint nor comedians or entertainers that does not mean that any presentation that uses PowerPoint or similar presentation software is at a disadvantage. 

Personally, I believe Effective Business Presentations can be made even better by the right use of PowerPoint. 

Surveys have shown that audiences remember up to 40% more if they have seen it as well as hearing it.

The trap many presenters fall into is using PowerPoint to build their presentation in the first place.  This makes the slides more like speakers notes than visual aids.

PowerPoint slides should be “visual aids”, doing exactly what it says on the tin. That is being both visual (rather than textual) and helping to convey the message and make it more memorable. This medium is ideal for showing graphs, charts and images, which elucidate, compliment and reinforce your message.

Instead of a bullet saying the company was formed in 1969, why not have an iconic picture of something that happen the year the company started, in this instance, the first moon landing.

Once you have worked out what you are going to say and even written out your cue cards, that is the time to start thinking about using PowerPoint or a similar tool to create your visual aids.  Think about what imagery you could have to illustrate each point. If you can’t find a substitute for the bullet points, even this type of text can be transformed by embedding the text into conceptual block diagrams.

Presentation Training and Coaching is available from the author of this blog. Please visit my presentation training  website.

Give me a day and I’ll change your presentations, forever