People have various ways and styles in learning. There are good listeners, those who do well in retaining information and comprehending ideas based on what they heard. Others prefer to have a visual learning approach, meaning they need to picture out or envision what they hear so they can easily comprehend. In delivering a presentation, both oral or verbal and visual approach will work best.
As in any form of presentation whether professional or informal, the use of visual materials is key to a successful presentation. You let your audience “visualize” or picture out the main points of your topic. This gives them a better and easier understanding of the message that you wish to get across. Visuals are also very important if you wish to create an impact in your presentation.
A plain oral presentation without any help of visuals does not guarantee effectiveness since the audience will most likely retain only about 10% of what was being said. But the use of visual aids along with your speech will guarantee about 65% of information retention.
In choosing the visual aids that will match your presentation, you need to consider the suitability of such materials to your audience and the topic, the availability, and usefulness of these visuals.
Aptness to the Audience and Topic
Remember that in the preparation of your presentation, the audience is an important factor to consider. Though the highlight is you as the presenter, the audience is your judge and critique. In choosing your visual aids, know your audience and what suits them.
For example, when doing a presentation before a board of directors, you may use PowerPoint presentation which gives it a more professional approach. Furthermore, find a visual that suits your topic. You may need more of illustrations or photographs if the topic itself is very visual. The use of graphs works best for sales or business presentations. If not through PowerPoint presentation, these graphs may be prepared using charts.
Availability of the Visual Material
It is futile choosing what visual aid matches your presentation and the topic if the material itself is not readily available. If you are planning to use illustrations, for instance, they have to be prepared and obtained prior to the presentation. For Power Point presentations, make sure that the venue has an available overhead projector. Otherwise, you will be struggling in finding an alternative during the presentation proper. Worse, your prepared outline will be messed up.
To make sure you have your visual materials ready, do a complete check of these items one day before the presentation starts. If you use electronic items such as desktops, laptops, or videotapes, make sure that these are working perfectly. Otherwise, it may be too late to fix technical issues on the day of the presentation.
Usefulness of Your Presentation Visuals
Make sure visuals are aids, not distractions. These visual materials indeed keep an interest from the audience about the topic. However, too much use of these materials will create an obstruction to you as the presenter. Remember that you are a visual aid yourself and you are the most powerful of all the visual aids. Limiting your choice of the visuals to use is as important as keeping your message brief but direct to the point. If you asked to make a 30-minute presentation, one type of visual aid will do.
A PowerPoint presentation may suffice to present the main points of your topic. Using photographs or flipcharts may eat up your time. Illustrations can simply be incorporated in your PowerPoint presentation. But if the presentation is a whole day program, two or three types of visual aids will help in delivering your message.
Visuals need not be complex. In fact, they have to be simple and easy to understand. You need your audience to grasp a quick understanding of quite a difficult topic. Do not add up to the complexity by using a difficult visual. Just as you use simple words and professional language, your visuals should be the same.
In making a presentation, the proper and effective use of visual aids makes a successful presentation and an impressed, well-informed audience. Know what proper material to choose and your presentation will be more than effective.