Thursday, December 30, 2010

5 Tips For Using Visual Aids During A Presentation

When it comes to giving a presentation, visual aids are a powerful ally to have on your side. In fact, these days visual aids are pretty much expected to accompany any presentation. This is because visual aids add an additional, powerful dimension to presentations. Studies have shown that people retain information 55% longer when combined with sight and sound, which means visual aids can make a presentation twice as effective.

It's Not Enough To Just Have Visual Aids. You Need The RIGHT Visual Aids.

How you employ your visual aids during a presentation is just as critical as using them. To help ensure your next presentation meets with rousing success, take a look at the five tips we have put together below.

5 Tips For Using Visual Aids During A Presentation:

Tip #1. Use Only When Necessary: Overloading your audience with too many graphs, charts, images, videos and sound bites will turn out to be a far greater distraction than benefit. Keep the information you present visually streamlined. Visual aids should accent your presentation, not dominate it.

Tip #2. Choose The Right Visual Aid: There are many different kinds of visual aids out there, and just as many methods to display them. Selecting the right one is a crucial step in your preparation. Consider the size of your audience, the venue and how interactive you want the presentation to be. Visual aids and presentation styles that work for one group might not be right for another.

Tip #3. Practice Using Your Aids: In order for your presentation to go off without a hitch, you need to know how to operate your visual aids efficiently. Stumbling about trying to move forward in a slideshow or boot up an image or video will hurt your presentation -- not to mention waste your audience's time. So practice using your materials in advance.

Tip #4. Use Quality Visual Aids: Grainy pictures, blurry video or scratchy audio won't make a very big splash during your presentation. The media you use to accompany your presentation needs to pop if you want the presentation itself to do the same. Also, avoid using clip art. Clip art might have flown back in 1993, but nowadays it simply will not cut it.

Tip #5. Have A Backup Plan: Be ready for anything, especially when electronic devices are involved. If the bulk of your presentation relies on your visual aids, and you find yourself in a situation where the computer is being uncooperative, the projector has burnt out or power is lost, you need to have a contingency plan. We recommend creating hardcopies of your presentation to pass out just in case.

Executive Summary: Visual aids are a great way to give your presentation the extra sizzle it needs, but remember this: Just because you can include visual aids doesn't mean you should. Be particular in the media you select to accompany your presentation, make sure their quality meets a high standard and be sure to practice using your visual aids via dry run in advance. Beyond all this, have a backup plan. Life is full of twists and turns, and computers are notorious for being reliable one day and a mess the next. Don't let "technical difficulties" ruin your presentation.

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