Showing is more effective than telling. Visual impressions linger longer than the spoken word. A thousand spoken words are not worth one seeing.
An audience remembers about 20% of what they hear and about 80% of what they see. That’s why you should use visuals if you want a presentation to be remembered.
The five best tips when using visuals
* Check the venue
Check the blackout facilities.
Check the equipment to make sure it is compatible to your machine.
Make sure you have the right plugs and cords and power points.
* Keep your message simple
If you are using images, don’t use too many. Show only the best – leave out the rest.
Each visual should have a single message. Make it bold with no distractions. Don’t use complicated charts that are hard to read.
Explain the visual when you first project it and remove it as soon as you finish discussing it.
A good projected photo can do a lot of talking for you, especially if you are setting a scene.
Complex messages such as detailed graphs and large lists of figures should be given out as handouts and not projected.
* All people must be able to see your visuals
Many presentations are ruined by people not being able to see the visual aids or to read slides clearly.
Check the seating arrangements and the size, height and the location of the screen.
When preparing visual aids for projecting, pay special attention to the text – the amount, the size and the colour combinations.
Use primary bold contrasting colours so your message can be seen easily. (About 8% of men are colour blind so be aware of red/green problems.) Use combinations such as black or dark blue lettering on a white or yellow background. Don’t use pastel colours.
Don’t clutter your visuals. Keep your message bold with no distractions. Avoid using fancy, distracting visuals with messages flying in and out.
Keep your message simple to reinforce your spoken message.
Allow sufficient time for the audience to study each visual.
* Talk to your audience not to your visuals
Try not to lose eye contact with the audience. Don’t talk to a screen.
(A shaking laser pointer tends to distract attention.)
* Have a ‘dry run’
If possible, check the equipment for compatibility and check you images for clear viewing before your presentation. There is nothing worse than setting up during your talking time and finding you have an equipment failure.
Prepare a backup plan just in case you have a problem. It often happens.
Distribute handouts when you have finished your presentation. (They should briefly cover your recommendations and copies of your visuals for further reference.)
Never forget you are the main visual aid, dress well, smile and chat to your audience.
“Many expensive presentations have failed because last minute checks were not made.”
Source: “Persuasive Ways. ‘Tricks of the trade’ to get your ideas across”. First published by Moss Associates Ltd., New Zealand and in Chinese by the Shanghai People’s Publishing House, the Singapore Institute of Management, Kogan Page Ltd, U.K and in Hungarian by Bagolyvar Konyvkiado. Also published as the “Secrets of Persuasion” by Cengage Learning Asia and as an e-book and sold by Amazon.com.