Understanding Presentations Nowadays, myriad computer programs and other technological innovations have been made available in the market to aid in making effective presentations. These are valuable sources of visual aids that prove to be vital in emphasizing primary points and stimulating the audience. This has been proven by studies that show how visual aids substantially improve retention of information of audience ("Presenting Effective Presentations", n.d.).
However, as much as these programs and devices enhance presentations, they may also be disadvantageous in some cases. Instead of making presentations memorable, they may cause the audience to be distracted. For instance, high-tech and excessively colorful graphics used by many speakers may blind the audience ("National Seminars Group", n.d.). Although presentations become very impressive with these, "graphic overkill" tends to confuse the audience. As such, the main points the speaker is driving at may be missed by the audience as these visual aids may compete with the attention of audience.
Another example is when inappropriate visual aids are utilized in presentations. There are many speakers who are fond of showing videos on TV monitor located on the stage. Some fail to realize though that in using videos, the size of the audience and aim of presentation should be taken into account. At times, spectators are not able to view videos clearly resulting to confusion and even irritation.
Given these examples, it is
important for those preparing presentations to note that visual images should be chosen carefully and appropriately (Saylor, 2005). Presentations using simple, neat and uncluttered visuals are more reflective of the professionalism of speakers and the companies they represent. Elegant and simple design for a presentation is deemed to be more effective that flashy ones (Anthony, 1995).
Particularly for business presentations using PowerPoint, animations must also be carefully applied (Saylor, 2005). This is because animations may make speakers go too fast for the audience to follow. Moreover, this type of audience is not so fond of fanciful animations. As such, it is better to tone down animations in making presentations and ensure that there is uniformity and consistency in applying animations and other effects.
Apart from this, in preparing presentations the limitations of visual aids to be used should also be considered. For example, flip charts and videos are ideal only for small groups ("National Seminars Group", n.d.). However, they may not be effective for much bigger groups. If they would be utilized for big groups, speakers must ensure that these visual aids are visible to everyone by testing if they could still be seen by the audience at the farthest end of the room to be used. This would help sustain the attention of the audience.
To summarize, technology and visual aids are generally significant components in making effective presentations if used appropriately. On the other hand, these components may also ruin presentations if not selected carefully. In this regard, planning presentations utilizing technology and visual aids must be in line with the objective of the speaker such that these factors should jive and help in clarifying the main message the speaker wants to impart.
Anthony, R. (1995). Talking to the Top: Executive's Guide to Career-Making Presentations. Prentice Hall.
National Seminars Group, Padgett-Thompson & Rockhurst Conferences. (n.d.). "No Need to Fear Public Speaking-Presentation Dos and Don'ts for Chicken-Hearted Speakers". Accessed 03 November 2006 from: http://www.nationalseminarstraning.com
Saylor, T. (2005). How to Create an Effective PowerPoint Presentation. Accessed: 03 November 2006 from http://people.csp.edu/saylor/effective_powerpoint.htm
US Department of Labor. (n.d.). "Presenting Effective Presentations with Visual Aids". Accessed O3 November 2006 from http://www.osha.gov