In an oral presentation, the auditory sense of the audience is the fundamental method in getting your message across. However, a plain verbal manner of presenting can elicit boredom and slow grasping of ideas. For your audience to understand what you are explaining, visuals will reinforce your message. So, they do not just make use of the auditory sense but visual stimuli as well. But visual aids need to be well-designed to be effective. You cannot just flash them to your audience without explaining what it means. Visual and verbal presentation delivery creates a huge impact to your audience. This is also a good technique of keeping the interest and attention of the audience.
Various Types of Visual Aids
There are various types of visual aids you can choose from in your presentation. But factors like availability and usefulness should be taken into consideration. To help you in your choice of visual material, let us understand the advantages and limitations of the different visual aids.
A presentation for a small group will do well with the aid of flip charts. This type of visual aid is quick and ready to use, and the materials are readily available as well. It helps the presenter go through with the content smoothly and demonstrate the speaker’s thoughts. However, this may require good graphic talent from the speakers. Visibility may be an issue with flip charts, especially to presenters who have small and unclear handwriting.
Two other types of visual for a small audience size are posters and handouts. Posters may be in different forms of media materials such as diagrams, photographs, and word messages. They are permanent and handy. Moreover, they are simple or they can also be elaborate. With elaborate posters though, the tendency is it can be too wordy and may contain too much detail. Handouts help in outlining the key points for your presentation. But good quality paper should be used. Also, it should have headings, subheadings, and short paragraphs to explain the content. Make sure though that there are sufficient handouts to be distributed to the audience.
For a larger group of audience, the use of slides, overhead transparencies or projectors, and PowerPoint presentations is more efficient. Since these visuals cater to a big audience size, they should be clear, informative, visually stimulating, and simple. The overhead projector used to be a common visual aid in business presentations but is gradually replaced by computer or laptop presentations. The latter has a more modern and professional approach especially that the presenter can incorporate sound and video recording. The use of slides allows a smooth and creative transition. However, these visual aids should be carefully checked for any malfunctions or technical issues.
Visuals Are Aids, Not Distractions
Making the most out of your presentation with the help of visuals should be balanced between your verbal and audio-visual delivery. If majority of the presentation is spent on watching a video footage or passing show-tell articles and objects, you do not just waste time but make an ineffective presentation as well. Let visuals work to reinforce or highlight key points, not manipulate the entire content. Do your share of explaining and elaborating, too.
Techniques for Using Visual Aids
How do you effectively use visual aids? For one, they should be simple and clear. In the first place, they serve to make a complex subject easy to understand. Visuals should not be cluttered with words and too many details. Outline the main points and do the rest of the elaboration. Since visuals require the audience’s sense of sight to work, they should be conspicuous even to the last person at the back.
When explaining with a visual, speak to the audience and not to the material. Say, you use a PowerPoint presentation, do not stand in front of the slide because it will obstruct the content. Or, if you are writing on a flipchart or a whiteboard, refrain from turning your back from the audience. Tilt the body toward them. For overhead transparencies and laptop presentations, use a font size that is large enough to be read and use easy-to-read font types such as Times New Roman or Arial.
In the visual aid preparation, designing is very essential to come up with a successful and effective presentation. Allocate ample time to prepare your visuals and do not forget to rehearse your presentation using your chosen visual aid. That way, you will have a smooth and efficient delivery of your content.