4A – PowerPoint and Visual Aids

Design Your Presentation FIRST, Then Decide on the Appropriate Visual Aids

Remember that PowerPoint and other types of slide decks, like Prezi, should be used as VISUAL AIDS, not the actual speech itself. One of the main mistakes that presenters often make is starting their presentation design with creating the visual aids. For instance, when people start thinking about what they want to say in a presentation, they will often open up a PowerPoint deck and just start typing. This is backwards. You really want to design your speech first, then decide what visual aids will help you explain the content better.

A Few Visual Aid Tips that Will Help

  • One of the best visual aids is just a simple slide with your topic and five or fewer bullet points.
  • Although photos and animation can help clarify your content, consider posters, boards or props versus just inserting a photo on a slide.
  • Charts and graphs typically work much better as a handout than on a slide.
  • Don’t use your slideshow as a crutch to keep you from forgetting content. Use it as a visual aid to help the audience understand your content better.
  • Get away from your slide deck and use stories, analogies, posters, props, and showmanship to make your presentations more interesting. Remember that your slide is just a single type of visual aid.

In reality, how many slides would it take for you to deliver the entire presentation that you have designed in class?