Speech Discussion


Tips For Using Visual Aids

Tip 1. Plan your presentation before creating visual aids. Know what you want the audience to do as a result of hearing your presentation. Then figure out what they need to know to do what you want them to do. Then create a simple outline that logically and clearly develops your main points. Finally, create visual aids to support your message.

Tip 2. Use visual aids sparingly. They are aids to your presentation – not its sum and substance. Using visual aids is meant to highlight and support your key points.

Tip 3. Make your visual aids visible to the entire audience. Projecting an image people can’t see is as senseless as speaking so softly people can’t hear.

Tip 4. Talk to the audience, not to your visual aids. Look at the audience at least 80% of the time. Avoid turning your back to the audience.

Tip 5. Use laser pointers. Your visual aids should be so clear that your audience can easily follow along. Use your laser pointer, if necessary.

Tip 6. Explain the content of the visual aid when you first show it. As soon as you show people an object, they will look at it – even if you’re talking about something else. Don’t make them divide their attention.

Tip 7. When you finish with the visual aid, remove it, cover it, or turn it off. (See above.) When using PowerPoint, tap the B key and the screen will go to black. Tap any other key and the screen light up again.

Tip 8. Limit the amount of material on any one visual aid. Use each slide to convey a single point. Bullet points – no more than four or five per slide – explain, illustrate, or substantiate that one point.

Tip 9. Avoid clip art from well-known sources. It’s almost always boring and amateurish. DO use images, graphs, and charts, whenever possible and appropriate. Tip 10. Be prepared to give your presentation without your visual aids. Murphy’s Law — “if anything can go wrong, it will” — applies in spades to anything involving technology and an audience. Have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. Take a hard copy of your slides.