Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Visual Aids 101: Help, Not Hinder Your Next Presentation

Are you suffering from “death by PowerPoint?”

Many people in corporate America are.

You know the symptoms … yawning participants during your slide shows or distant looks from half of the audience who are staring at your screen like zombies.

Let’s be real. Personally, I've never heard, “Oh good – another slide!” I’m sure you would agree.

So, where is the problem?

I believe that most presenters create their slides and think they have a presentation.


What they should be doing is writing the presentation, and then determining where a slide would add value, impact and interest.

When audience members need specific information to study, and to share with others, give them the complicated details in advance, or at the end of the presentation. Then, simplify when presenting.

What are some guidelines?

•Use pictures (personal photographs or high-end, online stock images) whenever possible – as long as they reinforce the message.

•Use charts and graphs to help explain trends, statistics, or any other numbers.

•Limit the bullet points.

•Use the “B” key to blank out the screen. It pulls the attention back to the speaker.

•Start and end with no slide, so you can make the personal connection with the audience.

Slides are tools – and shouldn’t be used as a crutch. Remember, they are visual aids – not presentations.

Your audience will thank you for not having them suffer a tedious “death by PowerPoint.”

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