Visual aids are often a necessary tool in any presentation, used to maintain the audience’s interest as well as help the audience understand better what you are trying to say. But there’s a thin line between using visual aids as real aids and using visual aids merely to show off your technical prowess. However, if used correctly, visual aids can impart a more precise and more powerful message. So what kinds of visual aids can you use for your presentation? Here’s an in-depth list of the most common and effective visual aids for presentations.
Find out your visual aid’s purpose
Before you begin, you should first determine your visual aid’s purpose. Is it to be used to clarify a main point? Is it for providing an illustration or example? Is it to give your audience more information about your topic? Is it to summarise your presentation? Is it simply to entertain your audience? Finding out your visual aid’s purpose will help you determine what to use, how to use it, and when.
Some of the most common – and effective – visual aids
Whiteboards are popular as visual aids for years, and for a good reason. They are quite useful if you want to provide an explanation for a concept or create a diagram and headings. If your presentation involves some brainstorming, whiteboards can be helpful in recording comments and statements from your audience. If you use a whiteboard, it takes more time, and you should also make sure that your handwriting is easy to understand. You can also make use of whiteboards which are interactive but make sure you know how to use them as well.
Flip charts have also been popular for years, and they remain a low-cost alternative to expensive and more complex visual aids. The good thing about flip charts is that they can also help you brainstorm and communicate with your audience, and they are portable as well. If you want to collect ideas from your audience, flip charts are an excellent choice. Of course, if you are speaking to an auditorium full of people, flip charts are not recommended.
If your presentation involves some form of training, the use of videos can be ideal. Just make sure that your video will be properly displayed before you begin your presentation, so you don’t have to struggle with connecting a computer to the projector, hence making your audience wait.
Most every presentation done today will have PowerPoint slides, but if you are doing this, make sure your PowerPoint slides are there to emphasise points and not detract from your message.
Handouts can be very useful, especially if you want your audience to remember specific points about your presentation or get more information about a topic. You can place handouts in presentation folders along with brochures, leaflets, flyers, product information sheets, and the like.