Updated July 2022
Presentations are an excellent opportunity to influence your audience or class on an idea, product, or service. As your audience evaluates your pitch, they use multiple senses, especially hearing and sight.
You may have the utmost confidence in your spoken words, but how are you appealing to the audience with presentation aids? Presentation aids add a new dimension to your presentation when you use them effectively.
We highlight the concept of presentation aids, why they are critical for your presentation, and the top five presentation aids to ensure success in your next pitch or meeting.
What Are Presentation Aids, and Why Are They Important?
Presentation aids are digital and physical components used to enhance the spoken information during a speech. Your audience listens, digests, and evaluates your vocal points throughout the presentation. However, presentation aids uniquely convey additional information. While the presenter appeals to the hearing sense, a visual aid can address vision, taste, touch, and smell.
So, why do presenters use presentation aids? For visual learners, presentation aids are critical. Someone in the audience may not fully understand a point spoken verbally. However, the speaker will gain attention and audience engagement when they use one of the visual aids described in the article.
The verbal pitch is just a minor component of the presentation. Visual aids are the missing piece to influencing the audience to your point of view. These resources allow your audience to experience your idea, product, or service thoroughly.
Presentation Aids: Best Practices
Before we dive into the best presentation aids, you must understand how to use them effectively. Below are some of the critical things to remember before and during the pitch.
As you think of the optimal presentation aid, you must consider items that the crowd can identify and understand. Although you can implement visual aids from beginning to end, try and prioritize the most critical points of your message.
When you prepare for a speech, it is best to envision the ideal outcome with the presentation aid. What do you want the audience to understand? How do you want them to digest the presentation aid? What is the desired action you want them to take? You should answer all these questions when narrowing down your presentation aid choices.
If you have a smaller object, make sure it is easy to handle and pass around the room. Do not put your audience members into a position where they could break the item. For larger objects, you should position it in an area of the room where it is visible. You should also leave yourself time to deliver the item to the presentation room before the speech.
If you decide on an image, graph, or chart, you must make it clear and aesthetic. It would be wise to avoid making an image look cluttered and messy. The image or visual aid should show clearly from across a medium to large-sized room. Try to keep images consistent with your presentation. When you use presentation graphs or charts, the color scheme should match any slides you use.
It is vital to improve audience understanding when it comes to presentation aids. Do not overwhelm the audience with the image, either. They need to not only digest your words but also take in what the presentation aid conveys. A standard best practice is to use one point per presentation aid.
Lastly, you need to practice, rehearse, and visualize for your presentation. Double-check to make sure your presentation slides are operating effectively. Ensure that your presentation aids do not have any technical issues. Run through your entire presentation as if you were giving it to the actual audience. Gain feedback from your friends and colleagues to make sure you perform the best.
During the Pitch
Now that you prepared in the best way possible, it is time to deliver it to the audience. As you use the presentation aids during the speech, the number one priority is to ensure that everyone in the audience can see your presentation aids.
To ensure that the audience captures everything, turn your body toward the crowd and maintain solid eye contact. Try your best not to read directly from the presentation aid, which will lose your connection with the audience.
It is critical to analyze the audience’s attention throughout the presentation. When you showcase a visual aid, the crowd’s attention will flock to it. Therefore, you must explain and elaborate on the presentation aid immediately. If you do not explain the visual aid, you will lose the focus of the crowd members.
Lastly, what you say about the visual aid is just as important. You should clearly explain why you used the visual aid and how it fits in with your presentation’s theme. Your audience members should have a clear understanding of what they need to do with the information. When you finish with the visual aid, make sure to remove it from the audience’s point of view.
5 Best Presentation Aids
You now understand what presentations are, why they are essential, and how to use them effectively. So, what are the best presentation aids to use during a presentation? Below are the five most effective components to enhance your speech and earn the full attention of your audience.
Influential Quote, Anecdote, or Statistic Presentations Auds
The speaker’s words may already influence the audience toward a decision. However, using information from another source may bring the point home. Throughout the presentation, there will be times where a statistic, anecdote, or quote could provide more insight into a topic. The speaker must use these sparingly and avoid letting other people’s thoughts overshadow the presentation.
Why are these presentation tools so effective? While the audience should trust you for the research and hard work you put in, using a statistic, anecdote, or quote is a prime example of enhancing credibility. Much like citing your source in an article, you can bring worldwide expertise to the presentation. Using an authoritative source as a presentation aid is effective because the audience will respect the information.
This principle is especially true with quotes. When picking out the correct quote, it is critical to use a relevant, impactful, and simple excerpt to understand. Prioritize sayings from industry thought leaders, global leaders, and other figures who have put the thoughts into practice. Using a quote could easily lead to an anecdote.
Anecdotes are crucial for a presentation because they engage the audience. You cannot bore the audience with complex data for an hour. You must keep the audience locked in through an emotional or captivating story. Anecdotes usually have a compelling plot that leads to a lesson, which could also serve as a valuable presentation aid.
Lastly, statistics are helpful to use because numbers tell a story. If the speaker is looking to explain a trend, movement, or overarching theme, a statistic could paint a good picture for the audience. Statistics represent several hours of research to find an answer to a problem. Mix these aids sparingly to avoid boring the audience.
Product or Service Demonstration
A large bulk of the presentation will involve explaining a concept or idea. However, putting this idea into practice will better educate the audience. Demonstrations are an effective presentation aid because they provide a “break” from the speaker’s dialogue. It is vital to capture the attention in different ways to keep the audience engaged.
Demonstrations can also involve the audience. If it is a straightforward application, the speaker can guide the audience toward successful completion. Doing so will make the audience member feel involved with the presentation. It will bring the speaker and audience closer to solidify a reliable connection.
Presentation slides and other media can demonstrate a point, but the presenter can get creative in communicating the idea. If it is a presentation about a product, the speaker can show how it solves the issue right then and there. The presenter must practice the demonstration beforehand. If this juncture of the presentation goes wrong, it can be tough to rebound.
A white paper or handout is another effective presentation aid because it gives the audience something to take home. It is a value-added, tangible item that the attendee can take home and reflect upon. The presenter might have made excellent, memorable points. However, a white paper or handout will be critical in aiding retention and recall.
This presentation aid is helpful in a situation where additional information is needed. All the relevant data might make the presentation too cluttered. However, leaving the audience with a white paper or handout can communicate the point even further. Filling a white paper with statistics, diagrams, and case studies will help the audience comprehend the presentation theme more effectively.
One thing to be careful of here is the white paper or handout as a distraction. You want to avoid handing out the paper too early in the presentation because it will take away the audience’s attention. The audience might be too busy reading the document to hear any audible aids from the presenter. It would be best to incorporate this presentation aid at the end to leave the listeners on a positive note.
Chart, Data, or Diagram
Many of the audience members will be visual learners. Presentation charts, data visualization, and other presentation diagrams are beneficial presentation aids because numbers tell a story. The attendees might need a break from reading words on the slides. Switching the presentation to a graph or diagram will allow the audience’s eyes to reset and keep them engaged.
Charts and diagrams are also a viable solution for memory loss. If you verbalize statistics, percentages, and other figures, the audience is doubtful to remember everything. Much like a white paper or handout, a chart or diagram can be tangible paper for the audience to take home.
When the presenter integrates a chart or diagram, it is critical to explain why it is relevant to the presentation topic. Once the audience digests the visual aid, the speaker must inspire the audience to take action or draw a conclusion from the data.
You can have the audience answer questions or take a small paper quiz to retain information from the presentation.
Video Presentation Aids
Video is one of the most captivating forms of media, which makes it a valuable presentation aid. The audience will be excited to get a break from the speech and watch a different form of entertainment. A video also allows the speaker to catch their breath while the video plays.
There are several things to remember when selecting the right video and audio for the presentation. First, it would be best to integrate a brief video. Depending on time constraints, you do not want the video to overshadow the rest of the presentation. You also do not want the video to make the audience forget about what the presenter was saying.
It is also crucial for the video to be high-quality. The video is a direct reflection of your presentation. If you choose a low-quality video, it will make you and the presentation look bad. If the presentation takes place in a large room, the video should be loud and clear enough for all attendees.
When the speaker uses a video within the presentation, the transition makes or breaks the aid. Before you play the video, it is helpful to give the audience a background on why it is in the presentation. Set up the short film so that the audience can be primed to consume it. When the video is over, get right to the point, highlight the lesson or purpose of the video, and then incorporate it into the presentation theme.
Final Wrap Up
As you can see, many behaviors and components go into a successful presentation. It is not essential to decide which presentation is the best. However, it is critical to know how to integrate the presentation aids into the speech.
A skilled presenter can provide extra insights using quotes, anecdotes, statistics, charts, diagrams, videos, graphics or handouts. When you can appeal to the senses of all audience members, you will inspire them to take action.
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