It is a common malady that most presentations are riddled with bullet points, lengthy sentences and poor graphics that accompany the text. This often leads to a torturous experience for the audience with little retention of the information presented. As a presenter, I would loathe to have put all that effort into sharing my knowledge only for it to have fallen on deaf ears or worse, a tuned-out audience.
One of the most effective methods I use throughout my presentations is to use visual aids as a storytelling tool to show and tell. And I mean it literally. Show an image, and talk about it. Don’t write about it. As the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but no one wants to read that on the slide!
Here are 3 Power Pointers on how to use visuals to improve your presentation:
1. Use icons
Ever used an emoji to express your thoughts or feelings? Icons are super efficient at reducing a lot of words into an image that people can understand in an instant. It helps to categorize and simplify, so you can be economical with your text on a slide. Beyond the basic icons that are available on PowerPoint, you can find more creative graphics from websites like The Noun Project, Flaticon and IconMonstr.
2. Use a compelling image
Use an evocative image to tell the story. Think of the emotion you want to arouse when you are using this picture. Use high-resolution images. You don't want it to be grainy, or worse, have a copyright watermark in the background. You can get free high-quality resolution images from websites such as Pixabay or Unsplash.
3. Use a word
You can make quite an impact by just putting one word up on the slide. Just like a compelling image, the word you use should be thought-provoking, or engage the five senses. Make it big enough so that it can be seen from the back of the room.
What's the point?
Remember that your slides are nothing more than an aid for your presentation, not a teleprompter. Use the visuals to guide your audience along your story as you provide the narrative. They will listen more attentively without having to read along with you.
Try these tips in your next presentation and let me know how they work for you.