Visual aids and props can go a long way in lending interest and depth to your presentation. Many people are highly visual in nature. “Did you see that!” Audiences tend to remember visually presented information more clearly and in more detail. If you’re still a bit nervous, a small “prop” will help you to keep your hands “busy”, so you can avoid a number of unconscious “nervous habits”. Some props and visual aids I’ve found useful during my presentations include these items.
Small stuffed animals
I’ve used “Winnie the Pooh”, “Tigger” and “Piglet” on more occasions than I can count. I also have successfully used “generic” stuffed rabbits, frogs, puppies and mice. Be creative and imaginative in coming up with ways to use them to help make your point and your audiences will eat it up.
Hand outs are still an effective means of keeping your audience in tow. Use them to reinforce your main points, as an outline for your audience to follow your presentation and as additional information they can take away. If you have additional services or a product to offer, be sure to include a flyer as part of your handout package. I’ve actually had seminar attendees almost literally fight over handouts, climbing over one another in their quest to get the handout package.
Photographs make great visual aids – When I recently gave presentations to group of fellow teachers, I included slides which not only quoted some of them but used a photo of them as well. In another presentation, I used a collage of photos to illustrate the upcoming themes and topics of my presentation. One of my most memorable “Thank You for attending” slides featured a collage of photos I’d taken previously of persons who were in the audience. Needless to say, it went over quite well.
Charts and graphs
Charts and graphs put verbal information into a visual form that is much more easily digested and remembered by audiences. They can also add a more colorful dimension to your presentation statistics and key facts.
By all means don’t miss an opportunity to include a short demonstration in your presentation. Use volunteers from the audience, mini-competitions, etc. to deeply involve attendees of your presentation. It’ll be all the more memorable not only for them, but for their fellow attendees as well. Have them give a brief comment, relate an experience or offer up a relevant anecdote during your presentation. Ask for volunteers, “Has anyone had an experience with …” or “Has this ever happened to anyone here?” I always get at least a couple of eager volunteers. They sure can liven things up.
Video is a marvelous tool that is being included more and more into all kinds of presentations. Digital video clips needn’t be lengthy or excessively large and can be inserted into a Power Point slide. These include full color, motion and sound to introduce, illustrate or deepen a key point. Their use should be controlled if not limited as they can cause “technical problems” if the equipment you’re using isn’t yours. A differently configured computer can wreak havoc on your carefully crafted presentation.
Don’t leave out sound
Don’t leave out sound in your presentations either. Some ideas include using a bell, whistle, rattle, Kazoo, slide whistle, flute, rhythm sticks or some other little noise maker. Leave the Klaxon horns and foghorns for New Year’s Eve. Sound can be used as prompts for attention-getting, cueing slides or activities or audience participation – “Now at the sound of the bell, everybody say …
Use more audio visual aids and props in your presentations. You too will then have more attendees approaching after your presentation to shake your hand and say, “Thanks, I really enjoyed your presentation.”