Visual aids and accessories can go a long way in adding interest and depth to your presentation. Many people are highly visual in nature. “Did you see that!” Audiences tend to remember information presented visually with greater clarity and detail. If you are still a little nervous, a small “accessory” will help you keep your hands “busy” so that you can avoid a series of unconscious “nervous habits”. Some accessories and visual aids that I have found useful during my presentations include these items.
Small stuffed animals
I have used “Winnie the Pooh”, “Tigger” and “Piglet” more times than I can count. I have also used “generic” rabbits, frogs, puppies, and stuffed mice with success. Be creative and imaginative in coming up with ways to use them to help express your point of view and your audience will eat you up.
Brochures are still an effective means of keeping the audience in tow. Use them to reinforce your main points, as an outline for your audience to follow your presentation, and as additional information that they can take away. If you have additional services or a product to offer, be sure to include a flyer as part of your brochure package. In fact, I’ve had seminar attendees almost literally fighting over the brochures, crawling over each other in their quest to get the packet of brochures.
Photographs are a great visual aid: When I recently gave presentations to a group of fellow teachers, I included slides that not only cited some of them, but also used a photo of them. In another presentation, I used a photo collage to illustrate the upcoming themes and themes of my presentation. One of my most memorable “Thanks for Coming” slides featured a collage of photos I had previously taken of people in the audience. Needless to say, it turned out quite well.
Tables and graphs
Charts and graphs put verbal information in a visual form that the audience can digest and remember much more easily. They can also add a more colorful dimension to your presentation’s key statistics and data.
Of course, don’t miss the opportunity to include a short demonstration in your presentation. Use volunteers from the audience, mini-contests, etc. to deeply engage attendees in your presentation. It will be even more memorable not only for them, but also for their fellow assistants. Ask them to make a short comment, relate an experience, or provide a relevant anecdote during their presentation. Ask for volunteers, “Has anyone had an experience with …” or “Has this happened to anyone here?” I always have at least a couple of eager volunteers. They sure can liven things up.
Video is a wonderful tool that is increasingly included in all types of presentations. Digital video clips do not need to be long or excessively large and can be inserted into a Power Point slide. These include full color, movement, and sound to present, illustrate, or deepen a key point. Their use should be controlled, if not limited, as they can cause “technical problems” if the equipment you are using is not yours. A differently configured computer can wreak havoc on your carefully designed presentation.
Don’t leave out the sound
Don’t overlook sound in your presentations, either. Some ideas include using a bell, whistle, rattle, kazoo, sliding whistle, flute, rhythm sticks, or some other small noise generator. Save Klaxon’s horns and sirens for New Year’s Eve. The sound can be used as prompts to draw attention, indicate slides or activities or audience participation: “Now at the sound of the bell, everyone says …
Use more audiovisual aids and accessories in your presentations. You will also have more attendees coming up after your presentation to shake your hand and say, “Thank you, I really enjoyed your presentation.”