Presentation Visual Aids

Time has passed and such visual aids like flip charts, slides and handouts are also passing away. With the total influence of computers, presentations with Power Point, and other presentation software, have become the most commonly used form of visual aids for presentations. Visual aids enhance understanding, add variety, support claims and have a lasting impact.

While working on your presentation, always remember that humans receive information in different ways; visual perception is 55%, vocal information perception is 38% and for text perception, only 7%.

The Purpose of Using Visual Aids

  • Visual aids support your ideas and improve the audience’s comprehension of your presentation.
  • Visual aids add variety to your presentation, by giving the audience a break from listening and letting them see something.
  • Visual aids help illustrate complex ideas, or concepts, and are helpful in reinforcing ideas.
  • Enliven a difficult/boring subject.
  • Make a presentation entertaining.
  • Help the presenter to stick to the intended plan.

Guidelines for Creating Presentation Visual Aids

  1. Start with, at least, a rough outline, of the major points of the presentation, before selecting the visual aid(s).
  2. Text size should be readable from the slide. The letters should be 18 and over font size. Combine different text sizes for main and secondary points.
  3. Text font should be uniform throughout the presentation. Use plain and easy to read fonts. Times New Roman and Arial are the most preferred fonts for visual aids.
  4. Add appropriate background, or design, for the slides. Use light backgrounds consistently, throughout your presentation. Remember that font colors should contrast sharply with background texture. The use of color can reinforce the logic of slide structure.
  5. Don’t make your presentation word-for-word on the slides. Use key words and phrases only.
  6. Use charts and graphs to support the presentation of numerical information. When preparing graphics, make sure they are not too crowded by detail. Don’t use more than two graphics and pictures per slide.
  7. Your audio visuals should be directly relevant to your presentation topic. Each element of an audio visual must be simple and contain only one message. Keep visual aids brief.
  8. Use pictures that are appropriate to the topic of the presentation. A picture may sometimes be worth more than a thousand words. Don’t use small pictures that may be difficult to see.
  9. Simplicity. Charts, slides, graphs, maps and posters, should be displayed for only a short time during your speech. Therefore, their meaning must be instantly clear.
  10. Balanced presentation aids are pleasing to the eye. You achieve balance when you position materials to form a consistent pattern and help the audience focus on the message. White space is also important.
  11. Avoid the use of distracting animation. Be consistent with the animation that you use; don’t go overboard, with animation, in your presentation.
  12. Your visual material should not contain grammar and spelling mistakes.
  13. Use one slide per minute of your presentation. Show one point at a time. This will help the audience concentrate on what you are saying, prevent the audience from reading ahead and keep your presentation focused.
  14. Determine the difference between what you will say and what the visual aid will show. Do not read straight from your visuals.
  15. Ask the audience to read or listen; not both. Visual aids should not provide reading material while you talk.
  16. Account for production time in your planning and selection process. Never leave that for the last minute.
  17. If you have handouts, don’t let them become a distraction during the presentation.
  18. Practice presenting the full program using audio-visuals, in order to become familiar with their use and arrangement.

The strength of presentation aids arises out of a certain inherent weakness of words, as communication tools. Words can have powerful effects, but they are essentially abstract. Presentation aids help connect your audience with your message. When properly prepared, and used, they can help speeches in many different ways.