Basics of Public Speaking
~ A Step by Step Guide to Successful Presentations ~

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Lesson 14 - Effective Use of Visual Aids

Generally speaking, visual aids in public speaking can be dangerous! There are many ways that visual aids, or "props", can become a distraction rather than a help to you. If the props are TOO strong, they can be remembered long after your message. Basically, simple visual aids are the best. If they help communicate your message and make it more clear to your audience, then they are very useful. Here are some tips to keep in mind when using visual aids while giving a presentation:

Tip Number 1: Use a visual aid that will help your audience remember your message. If the prop ties in with the main idea, it can be very effective.

Tip Number 2: Visual aids must be simple or they may be (probably WILL be!) misunderstood.

Tip Number 3: Vusual aids should be big enough so that everyone in the audience can see clearly. I have seen speakers use photographs or drawings in a presentation but they were so small that nobody knew what the speaker was talking about! To make matters worse, in such a case the audience spends much energy on trying to see the small visual aid and stops listening to the speaker's message!

Tip Number 4: Prepare well and PRACTICE before you use any visual aid. Many possible problems can come up in a presentation. Be sure you can handle any props easily before you get up to speak. Make sure the visual aids can be easily shown to the audience without distracting you or your listeners.

Tip Number 5: Don't be afraid to use no visual aids at all! Instead of depending on a prop, you should depend on a strong message, well-organized and professionally presented. You already posess one of the best visual aids possible - your own self! Review Body Language in Public Speaking and start using this wondeful "visual aid" more in your presentations!

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