Visual aids: How to get the most out of public presentations?

 

In preparing our public presentation, we should be aware about the importance of creating a script that will guide us throughout the presentation, and organize our speech in a fluid and coherent way.

The creation of this guide allows us to organize content that can and should be accompanied by visual aids.

There are several programs that we can use to prepare public presentations: prezi, powerpoint, google slides, among many others.

In these presentations we can insert:

  • text;
  • images;
  • graphics;
  • statistics;
  • studies;
  • reports;

The supports in powerpoint, prezis or google slides, besides helping us to organize ideas and follow our guiding thread, allow us to retain much more of the public’s attention since we can add photographs, studies, images or even graphics that complement the information we are communicating verbally.

All of these files will help us to complete our speech. Although we can use them as a support, they do not replace us as communicators, and thus most of the information must be said by us.

 

Text

The text present in these presentations must be in the form of a topic and only with general words or key words. Nobody wants to attend a presentation in order to just read a powerpoint, and therefore it is essential that we create dynamism and leave the monotony aside if we want to be successful in public speaking.

 

Advantages of using visual aids

The use of audiovisual resources is very positive for us as communicators, because in addition to helping us to follow the script and keep the presentation script, they give us the feeling of security and confidence. Even in case of lapsing, we can always look at the slides and get our train of thought back on track!

When a presentation has this type of support, it becomes much more interesting and captivating for the audience.

 These sources of information create dynamism, being much more explanatory. And their images allow to keep the public much more focused and curious.

 

In addition to all the media mentioned earlier, we can also, depending on the theme and context of the presentation, add photos or texts that refer to storytelling:

  • An Asian psychologist speaking on the importance of interracially acceptance, highlighting what she had to face when coming to Europe. In this situation, she could use an image of the day she arrived to another continent, and expand on the story overcoming challenges until she got adapted.
  • An influencer who has thousands of followers and gives lectures on creating content for YouTube, who shows the image of how his channel was at the beginning and how it evolved over time.
  • A 50 year old social communication graduate who gives lectures at schools about how important it is to remember that is never too late to fight for dreams, This person can show pictures of his class, in which he was much older than his colleagues, but nevertheless completed the course with success.

We have 3 completely different stories here, but they have stories of achievements,  struggle and overcoming challenges. The public is attached to this, to these testimonies of those who have faced human challenges and won, despite all the obstacles.

 

Visual and aesthetic content

Above all, the most important thing is that the images relate to the theme and to what we are transmitting. When it is not a matter of our personal life, we can always use a paid or free image bank, or even have self-made pictures that illustrate what we aim  to communicate.

It is crucial that our presentation is:

  • Organized;
  • Thought;
  • Architecture;
  • Clean.

 

It is useless to fill the PowerPoint with information if it is not useful for us, as the excess of text will have the exact opposite effect to what we intend. It will be boring.

 

The text support helps us to follow the thread of our script, but it can never replace our presence and our role, so instead of a lot of text we should just put in this support key words/ideas that will help us throughout the presentation.

 

In terms of aesthetics, creating a visual identity for the presentation is essential. All slides must follow the same line, the same theme, the same colors and the same fonts and font size.

The advantage of these supports is the fact that we can interact with the public as much as possible:

  • ‘’ What is different about this graph compared to the previous one? ’’
  • ‘’ Seeing these two images, do you think they are from the same author? ’’
  • ‘’ For the type of calligraphy, what do you consider the century of this manuscript to be? ’’

This type of interaction, in addition to dynamism, makes the audience reflect and question themselves, just like for rhetorical questions. These are excellent message supports for the transmission of ideas.

 

Review and finalization

In most situations, we are not able to predict what can go wrong, and even less when we work with this type of resources. As such, it is essential that, in addition to the prior proofreading and support, we are able to guarantee that the presentation will also open whenever we need it. In this sense, we should check its format and compatibility with the computer / projector that we are going to use. If technically everything seems fit, when we have everything prepared we can ask someone to reread it and see if they find any faults or errors, it is always good to get a second opinion. If you take any text, article or image from other sources, do not forget to put the references or paraphrase the author in order to avoid future problems in terms of copyright. 

As we have seen, the use of visual aids is extremely positive to enrich our presentations in public, following just a few rules and tips we will undoubtedly achieve success with our speech! Always remember that “Less is more“, create your presentation and be great!

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