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Enhance your effectiveness with visual aids.

Your audience is six times more likely to remember what you are saying when your information is presented in conjunction with a visual aid.

While your words are the cornerstone of your presentation, well-chosen and well-designed visual aids help make your point. Remember that a visual aid is just a helper and not the whole enchilada. Develop a strong oral presentation that uses a visual aid to add punch to the message. Avoid developing a visual aid that requires you to build a presentation around it.

Have a clear idea of the intended purpose. Before you put something in front of your audience, ask yourself, "When the image is gone, what do I want to the audience to remember?" Knowing the goal allows you to determine what type of visual aid to use and what the essential elements of that image will be.

Choose the best type of visual aid for your purpose and circumstance. Real-life props, flip charts, PowerPoint, photos, and graphs are all types of visual aids. The right one depends on the situation and what you are trying to accomplish. At times just writing words or numbers on a flip chart will get you the desired effect. Real-life objects (something that can be touched, felt, tasted, or smelled) are generally the most effective if your situation allows. Many people are lured into the attractiveness of PowerPoint, but as sexy, powerful, and effective as PowerPoint can be, most speakers tend to use it poorly, thus hurting their cause.

The potential of visual aids is great, yet we often ignore this tool with small groups such as at staff meetings. The purpose of your talk is to make a point, so anything you can do to help your boss, coworker, or potential client understand your point is good!

Take a moment to think about a presentation you are about to make either to a group or to a single person. Can you think of a way that a picture, chart, or real life object will help your listener better understand your point? Taking a few extra minutes up front to create this aid may save you time explaining and help you to be a more effective presenter.

Ethan Rotman will present a preworkshop at this year's NAI National Workshop. Contact him at 415-342-7106 or
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Title Annotation:Speaking
Author:Rotman, Ethan
Publication:Legacy Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2009
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