for Effective Use of Visual Aids
ďTo PowerPoint or not to
PowerPoint,Ē this is a question that all presenters must ask.
Visual aids (PowerPoint, overheads, flip charts, DVDs, etc.) can
add power and depth to a presentation, often boosting attention,
clarity, and interest. But
beware, used ineffectively visual aids can weaken a presentation or, in
the worst case scenario, alienate the participants.
Below are some common sense
tips to help you incorporate visual aids effectively:
Be sure your visual aids can
be seen and understood by everyone.
If you are using technology,
be certain that you can use it proficiently.
Fumbling with the equipment will break the flow of any
Donít overuse visual aids;
use them only when they support your content directly
Donít overload any visual
aid with too many words or graphics
Remember that your visual
aids support your presentation, they are not the presentation itself
Ask yourself if any
particular visual aid will increase learning.
If it doesnít do this directly, donít use it.
Always ask yourself the
question: ďWhy am I using
this visual aid and does it work to increase the impact of my
Always have a backup plan if
a visual aid fails (like a bulb burning out)
Be sure to avoid using
copyrighted material without permission
Make certain that the
roomís lighting supports your visual aid.
Watch for things like glare, a washed out screen, dark spots,
Donít allow visual aids to
take your attention away from the participants.
Be very aware of your
timing. Donít. for
example, rush through your
slides so people canít keep up or, on the flip side, donít break
your delivery rhythm by lingering too long on one visual.
Remember that your audience
is literate so you donít have to read everything on your visuals to
them, assuming of course that they can see your visuals clearly.
Overuse of one kind of
visual is usually the kiss of death for presenters.
For example, taking the time to write every little thing on a
flip chart sheet will try the patience of even the most forgiving
If you are writing on a
transparency or flipchart, be sure your handwriting is legible and large
enough to be seen by everyone.
On your presentation
evaluation ask participants to give you feedback about your visual aids.
Weed out those visuals that arenít working.