Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Visual Aids or Visual Pain: How can you use these the right way in your next presentation? [Speak on the Shoulders of Giants]

August 12, 2020

In a speech, speakers heavily rely on verbal communication to get their message across.

Some speakers find it easier to explain concepts and ideas by tapping on their audience’s imagination using vivid descriptions.

Other speakers prefer to use tangible tools to help them relay their message—one example is visual aids.

Although many speakers immediately turn to using visual aids, it’s not all the time that these are used properly. There are instances when these visual aids end up “taking over” the whole presentation instead.

We don’t want that, do we?

Of course not!

Using the Power Outage can help you avoid this.

— This is just one of the powerful secrets featured in James C. Humes’ book, “Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln.”

The Power Outage serves as an extra visual tool to include in your presentation. It can vary from graphs and charts on a board, a PowerPoint presentation, or simple illustrations and images.

It helps you build a stronger presentation by having your audience both hear and see what your message is.

Despite its usefulness, your visual aid isn’t your primary tool. Some speakers fall into the trap of using these as their crutch rather than a support for their audience to follow the discussion.

Visual aids should not be a substitute for speaking.

Avoid depending solely on the slides or illustrations you project.

Remember that the audience is there to listen to what you have to say, not to just see you reading everything from your slides.

You want them to understand and remember all the important information you’ve discussed in your presentation. They won’t be able to do this if you’re just reading things out loud without any explanation.

They need to feel engaged and part of the discussion.

A few more things to take note of…

Don’t make your slides too flashy. Instead, keep it simple and concise.

There is no need for you to include every detail of your speech in every slide. Just include key points that help you explain your concept better to the audience.

Including long sentences and several photos in just one slide or visual can overwhelm your audience. Keep it simple.

Take this slide as an example.

Overwhelming, right?

Having blocks of text like these in your slides will have your audience focus their attention on reading everything on the slide instead of listening to your discussion.

Remember the acronym: S.L.I.D.E.S.

Slogan – Stick to one or two slogans (or lines) per slide. The less text, the better. Use these as a point to expound on and explain. These can serve as a guide on what the discussion is about.

Large – Make sure your fonts are large enough so it’s easy for your audience to read right away. You wouldn’t want them to lose focus just because they’re trying to figure out what’s written on your slides.

Illustration – Keep photos and other illustrations simple to make your presentation less scattered. Use images that are relevant to your point.

Directional – In terms of pointing out concepts in your slides, try not to use laser pointers or sticks. Use gestures instead to keep the audience’s attention on you.

Erase – When you’re discussing a difficult topic, try not to stay too long on a slide that has a photo. Try including a blank slide that you can switch to after a photo when you need to expound on the topic. This way, the audience won’t get distracted by the photos you show when they should be paying attention to your discussion.

Speech – Don’t read your speech from the slides. This act implies you’re not prepared and solely dependent on the slides when you should be relying on yourself to know your talking points really well.

The audience is there to listen to you. If they just wanted to read slides or watch you read through slides, they wouldn’t have attended your presentation.

Visual aids are of great help but it should not be the star of the show. Know when and how to use them.

Using good and effective visual aids are a plus but remember that for the most part, an effective presentation still depends on how you effectively explain and present to an audience.

Use this week’s tip for your next speech or presentation!

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Wednesdays: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”

In a meeting with one person

…a boardroom with five people

…or a huge venue with hundreds of people

—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.

No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.

What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?

Every Wednesday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.

The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.

(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)

Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to present well will definitely give you an edge.

Have that advantage.

Hope you’ve found this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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