Visual aids have long been regarded as a staple in most public speaking endeavors. When making a presentation during a business meeting, giving a speech, or even when holding seminars, the use of visual aids is commonly employed.
There are two main functions of a visual aid:
- it helps the audience understand your message better.
- it keeps them interested.
Learners can be visual, auditory, or even kinesthetic learners, which is why effective seminars always take into consideration these three aspects.
By making use of visual aids during your seminar, you will be able to address the three channels of learning. The audience can see (by looking at you and the visual aids), hear (by listening to your voice and audio materials), and feel (by participating in the activities provided) the message and lessons you are trying to impart to them.
Importance of Visual Aids
Public speakers and just about any person who will present a point, topic, insight, lesson, or message in front of an audience should make use of visual aids. Not only because this helps to enhance the learning of visual learners but also because it is quite significant in the retention of information. Studies show that by combining visual and oral resources in getting your message across to your audience, they will be able to retain 65% of the information given after three days. Without visual aids, retention of information drops to a mere 10% with just oral presentation.
How to Make Your Visual Aids
Now that the importance of visual aids has been established, the next step would be to know how to make one for your seminar. What is good about it is that such knowledge can be applied in many different situations, not only for your seminar alone. As a professional, knowing how to make effective visual aids will be something that will give you a bigger advantage over others and will never fail to impress superiors, clients, and customers.
The very first step in making visual aids is to determine what it is you hope to achieve through the materials you will make. Establishing clear objectives is necessary because these will serve as the groundwork from which you will base your materials on.
The next step would be to study your audience. What segment of the population will be attending the seminar? Are these college students, company executives, or aspiring young entrepreneurs? It is important that you know the type of people who will most likely to attend the seminar so that you can prepare materials appropriate for them. It would not be proper to show a children’s movie during a seminar participated by a group of corporate executives.
Then, based on the information you have obtained from the first two steps, choose images, graphs, and illustrations. Make sure to use large images and texts so that the audience will be able to see clearly.
You can choose from one or more of the following types of visual aids: slide shows, posters, presentation software programs, posters, transparencies, handouts, and videos.
Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Visual Aids
The foremost tip to keep in mind is to always prepare the visual aids before the start of your seminar. A lot of things could go wrong—you could lose your slide show file or the video will not play, if you do not check this beforehand. On a similar note, if you have prepared handouts for the seminar, it is also best to distribute these handouts before the presentation because doing so during the presentation will only cause distraction in the audience.
Next, know when to use your visual aids and for how long. It is not wise to keep playing videos for too long otherwise your audience would get bored and you would be wasting valuable time. A two-minute video presentation should be sufficient.
Lastly, K.I.S.S. it. This is short for Keep It Short and Simple. Using too many slides, too many fonts, too many words, and too many colors will defeat the purpose of using visual aids. Keep your materials simple and easy to understand. When you put too many images or illustrations, it would only confuse the audience. Using a crowded detail in graphs and bullet points will not be appealing to them as well.