.css-1qrtm5m{display:block;margin-bottom:8px;text-transform:uppercase;font-size:14px;line-height:1.5714285714285714;-webkit-letter-spacing:-0.35px;-moz-letter-spacing:-0.35px;-ms-letter-spacing:-0.35px;letter-spacing:-0.35px;font-weight:300;color:#606F7B;}@media (min-width:600px){.css-1qrtm5m{font-size:16px;line-height:1.625;-webkit-letter-spacing:-0.5px;-moz-letter-spacing:-0.5px;-ms-letter-spacing:-0.5px;letter-spacing:-0.5px;}} Best Practices 5 essential preparation steps for a successful presentation

by Tom Rielly • June 15, 2020

explain the materials used to support your presentation

Keeping your presentation visuals minimalistic, simple, and clear is just one important step to remember when designing a hit presentation. Leaving nothing to chance, great presenters prove quite methodical as they prepare. Here’s a checklist for everything you need to keep in mind before your next presentation:

1. Choose the right software for your needs

visualpres blogpost 2 softwares

The easiest way to select the right presentation software for you is to simply find the one that is native to your device. For example, if you have a Mac, use Apple Keynote, if you work on Windows, use PowerPoint. Google Slides is recommended if you’re working with someone, as it makes collaboration very easy. Another software option is Prezi: a specialty tool called Prezi that creates a presentation using motion, zoom, and panning across one giant visual space.

2. Organize your files

As you develop your script and visuals, you will need to start assembling all the assets for your slides. Create a unique folder on your computer to hold these items. Keep the folder organized by media type (presentation drafts, photos, videos, scripts) and back them up frequently to the Cloud or external disk. Label each file with a specific descriptive name, e.g. “Susan Johnson singing magpie 2020”, as opposed to “IMG_4043.jpg”, which can make it confusing to find your assets. The more organized you are up front, the easier preparing for your presentation will be.

3. Prepare your presentation materials

Make sure your presentation materials (script, graphics, actual slides) are saved in at least two safe spots (for example, your computer and an external USB drive) and are backed-up frequently. If you are using an online presentation software, such as Google Slides, be sure to also download a copy of your presentation in case the internet connection is unreliable. Having all the individual assets on hand in addition to your presentation slides can be helpful if you experience tech issues before presenting, or if you need to make any last minute changes. Make sure to label your final presentation with the title and your name so it’s easy to find.

4. Practice, practice, practice!

Remember, practice makes perfect. People often run out of time making their presentations and have no time to practice. Most TED speakers practice at least ten times. Neuroscientist Jill-Bolte Taylor gave one of the most successful Talks in TED history with nearly 27 million views. How did she do it? She practiced her Talk over 40 times! By rehearsing multiple times you will naturally memorize your Talk, which means you won’t need note cards when you give your final presentation.

5. Do a final test run

Before presenting, make sure the equipment you need is working properly. It’s generally good practice to rehearse standing on the exact stage with the exact lighting using the exact computer that you will be using in your final presentation.

Here’s a quick checklist of what to look for when testing your equipment:

  • If you're not using your own computer, the one provided might be slower and have trouble playing media. If you have videos or other media, make sure they play correctly
  • Test the projector to make sure it’s HD
  • Make sure images are clear
  • Test the sound of any clips you use, as this is what goes wrong most frequently
  • If you’re using a mic, test the volume

Don’t let technical issues or other blunders overshadow your presentation. By following these guidelines, and with a little preparation, you can engineer out the problems BEFORE they happen.

Ready to learn more about how to make your presentation even better? Get TED Masterclass and develop your ideas into TED-style talks

© 2023 TED Conferences, LLC. All rights reserved. Please note that the TED Talks Usage policy does not apply to this content and is not subject to our creative commons license.

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  • Preparing Supporting Materials

Preparing the Main Points for a Presentation

DEFINITION: Main points are the major divisions of the body of a presentation. Each main point introduces one idea, or makes one claim, that helps to advance the central idea (thesis) of the presentation.

LIMIT the number of main topics in the body of the presentation. Develop between two to five main points. Audiences often have trouble following a presentation that tries to cover too many major topics.

PHRASE main points in parallel language if possible. The similarity in wording that parallel phrasing introduces will help your audiences identify the major topics of the presentation.

STATE main points as concisely as possible. Use simple, declarative sentences to introduce each point you wish to make in the presentation.

BALANCE the development given to each main point. Each topic should receive roughly the same amount of time. If some points are developed at great length while others are just briefly noted, the presentation gives the impression that some main points are unimportant.

CONNECT each main point to the thesis of your presentation. The best way to avoid wandering off on a tangent is to ask yourself why this particular point is pertinent to the central idea of the presentation you are giving. Avoid the temptation to explore amusing facts and ideas which, while interesting in an of themselves, have very little to do with the central goal of your presentation.

USE clear transitional statements to indicate movement to a new point. Transitions alert the audience that you are finished with one point and are moving on. Without them, you risk leaving your audience behind as you advance to a new topic.

Guidelines for Using Supporting Materials in a Presentation

Definition: The term supporting materials refers to the information a person provides to develop and/or justify a idea that is offered for a listener’s consideration. Supporting materials serve a variety of functions in oral presentations: to clarify the speaker’s point, to emphasize the point, to make the point more interesting, and to furnish a basis that enables others to believe the speaker’s point. Without supporting materials, an oral presentation is little more than a string of assertions (claims without backing).

General Guidelines for Supporting Materials

  • Pertinence: Each piece of support should be clearly relevant to the point it is used to support.
  • Variety: The presentation should not rely excessively on one type of support (such as examples) but should instead use a number of different forms of support.
  • Amount: The presentation should include a sufficient amount of support (enough to make the ideas presented both clear and compelling to the audience).
  • Detail: Each piece of support needs to be developed to the point that audience members can both understand the item of support and can see how the item backs up the point it is used to support.
  • Appropriateness: Each piece of supporting material should meet the demands that the audience and the occasion place on the kind of material that is likely to be received favorably. A “scholarly” audience, for example, will probably place higher demands on the speaker’s sources of information than a “general” audience would. A “graphic” description of a particular topic, while entirely fitting in some occasions, might be out of place in another.

Specific Guidelines for Supporting Materials

Supporting materials are usually offered in recurring forms. Depending upon the form of support provided, you should ask yourself some questions to determine if you are making the best possible use of that kind of material:

For Examples/Narratives:

  • Is the example/narrative representative?
  • Is the example/narrative sufficiently vivid?
  • Is the example/narrative personalized?
  • If necessary, was the source cited in the speech?

For Statistics:

  • Is the source of the statistic reliable?
  • Has the source of the statistics been cited in the speech?
  • Has the statistic been used correctly?
  • Have you rounded-off complicated statistics?
  • Have you interpreted the statistic (explained it in another way)?
  • Have you done something to emphasize the statistic?
  • Have you used statistics sparingly?

For Testimony:

  • Is the source qualified to make the statement you’re quoting?
  • Is the quotation accurate?
  • Have you attributed the testimony prior to the quote?
  • Is the quotation brief?
  • Have you clearly signaled where the testimony begins and ends?
  • Are the source’s conclusions reasonably free from bias?

For Comparison/Contrast:

  • Is comparison justified?
  • Is the comparison meaningful?
  • Have you avoided overdoing the comparison?
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Presentation Geeks

10 Presentation Aids To Enhance Your Presentation

Table of contents.

You’re putting together a presentation and you’ve considered using presentation aids but don’t know where to begin?

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran presenter or new to the industry and looking on how to become a better presenter , we’ve got you covered with tips and tricks and everything you need to know about presentation aids.

We’ve put together this comprehensive list of 10 presentation aids you should incorporate in your next presentation, seminar, public speaking event or any other audience engagement to ensure your key messages are retained and you remain at the forefront of people’s minds.

Whether it’s visual aids, creative design or new ideas you wouldn’t necessarily think of to use in your line of work, we’ve broken down the bias to help give you a fresh mind on some presentation aids you should use.

What Are Presentation Aids?

explain the materials used to support your presentation

A presentation aid is a complementary tool you can and should use in order to have your presentation stand out and enhance it.

They are sensory aids to help elevate your speech, performance or powerpoint presentation.

Where words fail, presentation aids come in to support.

A presentation aid can be used alone or in combination with other presentation aids. More often than not, it is encouraged to combine a couple of presentation aids to target the different senses – hearing, vision, smell, & taste.

The more senses you target, the more likely your presentation will be remembered.

For example, audio and video clips might be sprinkled throughout your presentation slide deck. Although these are all different presentation aids, using them in a combined way will enhance the overall presentation and increase audience engagement.

Presentation aids work because they tap into the presentation psychology ; the underpinning of our minds and how we perceive and remember great presentations. Whether someone is an auditory or visual learner, using additional presentation aids that target these senses will help take your presentation from average to phenomenal.

Why Do Presenters Use Presentation Aids?

explain the materials used to support your presentation

Every presenter has their reasoning for selecting the presentation aids they use.

With the advancement of technology, presenters have been using more and more visual aids in their presentations in order to enhance the overall audience experience and create a great visual presentation .

Whether your presentation is in-person or instead a virtual presentation , the objective is always the same. Get your key messaging across with minimal miscommunication. Getting your key message across to your audience members can be done with the help of effective presentation aids.

explain the materials used to support your presentation

Both informal and formal presentations incorporate some degree of presentation aids.

Presentation aids provide many benefits to a presenter. A presenter may use a combination of both visual aids and auditory aids to increase audience engagement and to help deliver their message.

Let’s break it down as to why a presenter would use visual aids and why a presenter would use auditory aids.

At a high level, it first depends on the audience. You should always begin crafting your presentation by understanding who your audience is and what you want them to take away from your presentation. This will help define the aids you select.

If your audience has a shorter attention span such as young adults or children, consider using more visual aids like videos or imagery. You may do this by adding videos into your PowerPoint presentation or adding images.

Perhaps you want your audience to remember things or act on something after the presentation has already concluded. A brochure or presentation handout might be a great aid to use as it leaves a physical, tangible item with the audience.

Trying to get funding or convert audience members into sales? A demonstration or live performance of the product can help people envision themselves using the product.

Presentation aids are used to help deliver your message and influence people. Understand your audience and the message you want them to take away and you’re halfway done deciding which complementary presentation tool you should use.

10 Types Of Presentation Aids

explain the materials used to support your presentation

Before we begin going through the list of presentation aids you should use, we want to first preface with a word of caution.

Don’t overdo it.

As tempting as it may be to incorporate all 10 presentation types of presentation aids into your allotted time, don’t. You may be doing yourself a disservice.

Too many presentation aids may begin to distract your audience rather than support your messaging.

If you give your audience a handout, have them glance at an image with some written text all on one slide all the while you’re speaking over everything, there is too much going on. Your audience won’t know where to place their attention.

Also, some presentation aids don’t work in the environment in which the presentation is being held.

For example, if your presentation is virtual with absolutely no in-person audience members, a demonstration or live performance might not make practical sense.

Use these tools sparingly.

With that being said, let’s dive into the top 10 types of presentation aids we believe you should incorporate into your next presentation based on presentation feedback we’ve received over the years as presentation designers.

1 – PowerPoint Slides, Google Slides & Prezi Slides

explain the materials used to support your presentation

One of the very first presentation aids we’ve all been taught to use and have more than likely used at least once in a school or work environment is a presentation slide deck.

Almost all presentations nowadays have a slide deck accompanying the presentation since it has been engrained in our minds as an essential for every presentation.

Whether it’s a motivational speech, client pitch presentation , RFP presentation , virtual presentation or an investment pitch presentation , they typically always use a slide deck.

Slide decks are great because they’re often easily customizable and there are plenty of well designed templates you can find online.

explain the materials used to support your presentation

Slide decks such as PowerPoint Slides, Google Slides and Prezi Slides also allow a presenter to incorporate additional presentation aids such as videos, images or graphs seamlessly. Rather than having to jump back and forth between tabs, monitors or computers, a presentation slide deck consolidates all the information into one place.

When presenting to a large audience, a slide deck also allows audience members who are seated at the back of the venue to still take away the key points you’re trying to highlight. When highlighting key points, they will often be mentioned in the slide deck which is often displayed using a large projector and screen or video monitor.

Lastly, a presentation slide deck is a great tool to use as a reference.

The key details should be illustrated in the slide deck. Once the presentation is over, the slide deck can be a stand alone takeaway the audience or client can reference at a later date once the presentation has long past.

2 – Visual Aids, Audio And Video Clips

explain the materials used to support your presentation

At a minimum, you should have at least one of the following presentation aids – imagery, audio or video.

Imagery can be more than just a photo. Imagery encompasses your slide deck, the color theory you use such as brand colors, how you embellish quotes and more.

explain the materials used to support your presentation

For example, rather than sticking a text block on your slide deck with a quote, try enhancing the quote with the some visual appeal. You may consider adding a photo of the person who said the quote, stylizing the font with script writing so it seems more humanized and lastly using colors to highlight key words you want to bring to the audience’s attention.

Audio is another great tool to use, especially if you plan on incorporating motion graphics in your presentation. It also adds a layer of depth.

Since the audience will likely be hearing you speak for a majority of the presentation, having a pre-recorded narration over motion graphics will help create a “unique moment” in your presentation – almost like a bookmark. This will help your audience segment your presentation and retain information better.

Finally, videos have continued to grow in popularity as it is a combination of both visual aids and auditory aids.

Your video can be a live action video with real actors or it can be a stop motion animation. Whatever video style you decide, a video clip will help get your message across and enhance audience memory.

By combining all three aids, you’re targeting a combination of both visual and auditory senses. This combination will help your presentation stick out as human learning occurs visually and through auditory.

3 – Sizzle Reels

Although similar to videos, sizzle reels add a bit of flair traditional videos often lack.

Sentiment wise, videos can be positive, neutral or even negative while a sizzle reel’s sentiment is usually always positive.

Sizzle reels are very promotional in the sense that they are created with an intended purpose to have the audience act or feel in a certain way.

Unlike a video which may be used to support an argument or provide raw, unfiltered visual dialogue, a sizzle reel is typically created with a specific purpose for persuasion or selling.

Oftentimes, a sizzle reel is used to demonstrate or highlight a specific idea, product or sample of work usually presented with positive connotation. The presenter is trying to get the audience to be on the same page as them.

Like a video, a sizzle reel can be live action or animated – it is the intention of the video which makes it a sizzle reel or not.

4 – Motion Graphics

Keep your audience’s eyes stimulated by incorporating motion graphics into your presentation.

Motion graphics use the illusion of motion or rotation to make something which is typically stationary to appear as though it’s moving.

Motion graphics are great when they are used effectively. Too much motion graphics or improperly used motion graphics takes away your presentation’s credibility as it may begin to appear too animated and comical.

Depending on your presentation niche, motion graphics can really help enhance your presentation.

If your presentation primarily deals with lots of text, consider using motion graphics to help liven things up.

PresGeek Portfolio - Flowmill Explainer Video from Presentation Geeks on Vimeo .

You may be thinking to yourself, “Well, why not just use video?”. To that we say video isn’t for every industry. Although video may seem like the best option, it can often hurt your presentation more than it benefits it.

Consider a historical speech, one with a powerful message. Would you rather just watch a video of the person speaking, or perhaps a carefully curated kinetic typography motion graphic?

In this instance, although a video is still acceptable, you would be better off with motion graphics.

Motion graphics aren’t to be confused with animation. The difference between motion graphics and animation is motion graphics convert a typically stationary object into a moving one. Motion graphics don’t follow a typical storytelling narrative.

Animation on the other hand takes the audience on an emotional journey through storytelling which is an additional presentation aid we will discuss.

5 – 3D Modeling & Animation

If motion graphics aren’t enough, try using 3D Modeling and animation to bring your ideas to life and help tell a story!

3D Modeling and animation help bring hard to conceptualize ideas into a more tangible reality.

For example, if you’re presenting a prototype of a car, home or the latest piece of tech, spending money into developing a fully functional or full-scale product may not be feasible – especially if you’re merely pitching the idea to get funding in the first place.

explain the materials used to support your presentation

3D modeling allows your audience to see how the product will look and perform if it were real.

Animation helps connect your messaging to your audience through the art of storytelling. Animation allows you to tell stories far beyond the scope of what is in our reality and can really help emphasize your brand’s essence.

For example, Red Bull did a great job with their advertising using the art of animation. Red Bull’s slogan of “Red Bull gives you wings” is personified through animation as their animated characters are given wings after drinking their product. They’re also put in high-intensity situations. Although often comical, animation helped bring the brand essence to life.

This could still be done with live-action actors and CGI, but the cost is far more than animation.

Animation is a cost-effective storytelling tool to bring even the most extremes of situations into a digestible reality.

6 – Maps

Our world has shifted to become a global village.

It is almost impossible to go about your day without hearing a piece of international news.

Whether it’s news, politics, culture or business, we are connected to different nations around the world. As you progress in your life, you’ll soon encounter yourself presenting to people around the world whether virtually or in-person.

If you are presenting to people around the world whether it be for politics, culture or business, adding a map is another great presentation aid to help visualize the interconnectedness between each other.

A map can be used to highlight geographical hotspots, geographical trends and more.

Here are some examples we’ve put together of when you would use a map.

explain the materials used to support your presentation

Planning to expand your business? Why not include a map pinpointing all your existing locations relative to your new expansion.

Planning to show how diseases spread throughout the world and relative hotspots of infections? Consider adding a map with varying degrees of color to highlight infection densities.

Maps don’t need to be international either depicting every country – they can be used for small businesses showcasing a localized region.

Lastly, maps help put things into perspective. Tying back to presentation psychology, people are more likely to express emotions or feel connected to something the closer they are to it, physically. By using a map, you can put your message into perspective for your audience.

7 – Infographic Charts & Graphs

explain the materials used to support your presentation

Rather than simply putting a few numbers up on a slide deck and calling it a day, try inputting these numbers in a chart or graph.

You have to consider your audience and not everyone learns or absorbs information by simply reading. They need to visualize comparisons and differences. Charts and graphs are one great way to do this.

Let’s take a look at the example above. It could’ve been easy enough to show there was a 280% increase in energy saving, but we were missing a big chunk of the story which was expenses were declining. You also don’t see the scale of energy savings relative to expenses with just words.

Instead, opting to put numbers into a visual format, the audience members can easily understand the advantages and compare it to the change over time.

Remember – try and avoid very complex graphs. When you start to input complex graphs into a presentation, you’ll begin to lose the audience as they will be too busy focusing on understanding the graph.

If possible, leave the audience with resources they can look back to after the presentation such as a brochure or handout where they can take as much time as they need to digest more robust graphs.

8 – Infographic Diagrams

Unlike charts and graphs which primarily focus on data and numbers, a diagram focuses on the appearance, structure, flow or workings of something.

A diagram is a great presentation aid to use as it helps break complex ideas into step-by-step sections the audience can follow along with.

Not only does it provide clear steps, but it can help speak to key points of a product or timeline.

explain the materials used to support your presentation

For example, this diagram goes over the structure of an EV charger.

Rather than just showing an image of the charger with bullet points off to the side, a diagram provides clear connection lines from the point being made and where it’s located on the final product.

explain the materials used to support your presentation

Diagrams also help illustrate flow. Whether it be the customer journey, your product development or your company’s growth, diagrams are great ways to show consistent progression in a logical, step-by-step pattern.

9 – Brochures & Presentation Handouts

One way to really connect with your audience and almost guarantee they’ll leave the presentation remembering something is with a brochure or handout.

A brochure or handout is a physical printout which could be a combination of images, written text and diagrams.

Oftentimes, brochures and handouts are used to elaborate on information already being presented but in further detail. Depending on the scope of your presentation, you may want to opt to have a brochure or presentation handout.

If the nature of your presentation requires thorough research, data and insight such as business or healthcare, a handout can allow your audience to review the information at their own pace at a later time.

A brochure or handout also allows audience members to jot down information.

This is important if you’re trying to encourage audience participation.

By enabling the audience to jot down their own notes and have time near the end of your presentation for them to collaborate and speak to points throughout your presentation, you’ll be engaging in a discourse with your audience.

10 – Demonstration or Live Performance

explain the materials used to support your presentation

The last presentation aid we recommend is also one of the hardest to pull off – a demonstration or live performance.

A demonstration or live performance is when you’re presenting the truth and validity of something. For example, you might do a demonstration of how your product performs. Or, instead of playing music, you could have a live performance.

One of the most well-known presenters to do demonstrations or live performances is Steve Jobs. At the unveiling of any new Apple product, Steve Jobs was there on stage with the product in-hand ready to demonstrate its state of the art capabilities.

Demonstration or live performances are one of the best presentation aids to use as they often go hand in hand with public relations. Whether the performance goes well or bad, you can almost be sure there will be press coverage of it afterwards.

A great example of a demonstration which went south was Tesla’s Cybertruck and their armored windows . What was supposed to be strong, armored glass came to a shattering end when a Tesla employee threw a steel ball at not just one window, but both the front and rear window leaving both of them shattered. The hope was for the steel ball to ricochet off the window to demonstrate their durability, but instead they failed.

Although this might seem like a failure, the coverage it got after the presentation was a complete publicity success.

Advantages & Disadvantages Of Using Presentation Aids

As with everything in life, there are always two sides of the coin – positives and negatives.

The same goes for using presentation aids.

Rather than experimenting yourself and learning the hard way of advantages and disadvantages, we’ve put together this short yet informative section to help guide your decision making.

Presentation aids are great complementary tools you should use in every presentation. They allow you to connect with audience members in new and unique ways.

One of the advantages of using presentation aids is to appeal to different audiences.

Everyone has a different attention span. Everyone also learns and absorbs information differently. By disseminating your key message using new and unique methods, you’re able to appeal to a larger audience.

Secondly, presentation aids allow the lifespan of your presentation to be extended.

Imagine your presentation was only you speaking. The moment you’re done talking, the presentation is over and it begins to fade from people’s memory. With the help of presentation aids, you avoid this outcome and extend how long your presentation is remembered for.

For example, if you used a slide deck to accompany your presentation, the slide deck can be made available to audience members after the presentation to reference.

Lastly, presentation aids help reduce the attention that’s put on you and allow you to take breaks while presenting.

If you’re a beginner, it can be intimidating to be the center of attention. With the added use of presentation aids, you can break up your presentation to allow the aids to do the work. If you have a video, once you begin to play it, the audience’s attention will be redirected to the video. This will allow you time to pause, recollect your thoughts, take a drink of water if needed and continue on with the presentation afterwards.


Presentation aids are not the miracle solution.

If you don’t have a solid foundation on which your presentation is built upon, it doesn’t matter how many or which presentation aids you decide to use. You need to ensure your presentation is properly structured from the beginning.

Presenters can also get carried away with using too many presentation aids.

When you don’t take the time to reflect on the presentation aids you are using and just begin spitballing every presentation aid into your presentation just because you know of these tools, doesn’t mean you should. They begin to become a distraction and takeaway from the messaging you’re trying to get across.

Conclusion – Should You Use Presentation Aids?

The short and sweet answer is yes. You should absolutely use presentation aids.

Unless your plan is to only be a storyteller letting the audience create an image in their mind, then you should consider using at least one of the presentation aid types mentioned above.

Not only will presentation aids help your audience learn and retain the information better, it may actually help you!

Presentation aids require you to contribute more work to the final product. It requires you to carefully think of the story you’re trying to convey to your audience and which best method to do so. By taking this extra bit of time to sit down and reflect on your presentation and actually produce well-crafted aids, you’ll be setting yourself up as a thought-leader on the topic.

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Author:  Ryan

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What Are Effective Presentation Skills (and How to Improve Them)

Presentation skills are essential for your personal and professional life. Learn about effective presentations and how to boost your presenting techniques.

[Featured Image]: The marketing manager, wearing a yellow top, is making a PowerPoint presentation.

At least seven out of 10 Americans agree that presentation skills are essential for a successful career [ 1 ]. Although it might be tempting to think that these are skills reserved for people interested in public speaking roles, they're critical in a diverse range of jobs. For example, you might need to brief your supervisor on research results.

Presentation skills are also essential in other scenarios, including working with a team and explaining your thought process, walking clients through project ideas and timelines, and highlighting your strengths and achievements to your manager during performance reviews.

Whatever the scenario, you have very little time to capture your audience’s attention and get your point across when presenting information—about three seconds, according to research [ 2 ]. Effective presentation skills help you get your point across and connect with the people you’re communicating with, which is why nearly every employer requires them.

Understanding what presentation skills are is only half the battle. Honing your presenting techniques is essential for mastering presentations of all kinds and in all settings.

What are presentation skills?

Presentation skills are the abilities and qualities necessary for creating and delivering a compelling presentation that effectively communicates information and ideas. They encompass what you say, how you structure it, and the materials you include to support what you say, such as slides, videos, or images.

You'll make presentations at various times in your life. Examples include:

Making speeches at a wedding, conference, or another event

Making a toast at a dinner or event

Explaining projects to a team 

Delivering results and findings to management teams

Teaching people specific methods or information

Proposing a vote at community group meetings

Pitching a new idea or business to potential partners or investors

Why are presentation skills important? 

Delivering effective presentations is critical in your professional and personal life. You’ll need to hone your presentation skills in various areas, such as when giving a speech, convincing your partner to make a substantial purchase, and talking to friends and family about an important situation.

No matter if you’re using them in a personal or professional setting, these are the skills that make it easier and more effective to convey your ideas, convince or persuade others, and experience success. A few of the benefits that often accompany improving your presentation skills include:

Enriched written and verbal communication skills

Enhanced confidence and self-image

Boosted critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities

Better motivational techniques

Increased leadership skills

Expanded time management, negotiation, and creativity

The better your presenting techniques, the more engaging your presentations will be. You could also have greater opportunities to make positive impacts in business and other areas of your life.

Effective presentation skills

Imagine yourself in the audience at a TED Talk or sitting with your coworkers at a big meeting held by your employer. What would you be looking for in how they deliver their message? What would make you feel engaged?

These are a few questions to ask yourself as you review this list of some of the most effective presentation skills.

Verbal communication

How you use language and deliver messages play essential roles in how your audience will receive your presentation. Speak clearly and confidently, projecting your voice enough to ensure everyone can hear. Think before you speak, pausing when necessary and tailoring the way you talk to resonate with your particular audience.

Body language

Body language combines various critical elements, including posture, gestures, eye contact, expressions, and position in front of the audience. Body language is one of the elements that can instantly transform a presentation that would otherwise be dull into one that's dynamic and interesting.

Voice projection

The ability to project your voice improves your presentation by allowing your audience to hear what you're saying. It also increases your confidence to help settle any lingering nerves while also making your message more engaging. To project your voice, stand comfortably with your shoulders back. Take deep breaths to power your speaking voice and ensure you enunciate every syllable you speak.

How you present yourself plays a role in your body language and ability to project your voice. It also sets the tone for the presentation. Avoid slouching or looking overly tense. Instead, remain open, upright, and adaptable while taking the formality of the occasion into account.


Incorporating storytelling into a presentation is an effective strategy used by many powerful public speakers. It has the power to bring your subject to life and pique the audience’s curiosity. Don’t be afraid to tell a personal story, slowly building up suspense or adding a dramatic moment. And, of course, be sure to end with a positive takeaway to drive your point home.

Active listening

Active listening is a valuable skill all on its own. When you understand and thoughtfully respond to what you hear—whether it's in a conversation or during a presentation—you’ll likely deepen your personal relationships and actively engage audiences during a presentation. As part of your presentation skill set, it helps catch and maintain the audience’s attention, helping them remain focused while minimizing passive response, ensuring the message is delivered correctly, and encouraging a call to action.

Stage presence

During a presentation, projecting confidence can help keep your audience engaged. Stage presence can help you connect with your audience and encourage them to want to watch you. To improve your presence, try amping up your normal demeanor by infusing it with a bit of enthusiasm. Project confidence and keep your information interesting.

Watch your audience as you’re presenting. If you’re holding their attention, it likely means you’re connecting well with them.


Monitoring your own emotions and reactions will allow you to react well in various situations. It helps you remain personable throughout your presentation and handle feedback well. Self-awareness can help soothe nervousness during presentations, allowing you to perform more effectively.

Writing skills

Writing is a form of presentation. Sharp writing skills can help you master your presentation’s outline to ensure you stay on message and remain clear about your objectives from the beginning until the end. It’s also helpful to have strong writing abilities for creating compelling slides and other visual aids.

Understanding an audience

When you understand your audience's needs and interests, you can design your presentation around them. In turn, you'll deliver maximum value to them and enhance your ability to make your message easy to understand.

Learn more about presentation skills from industry experts at SAP:

How to improve presentation skills

There’s an art to public speaking. Just like any other type of art, this is one that requires practice. Improving your presentation skills will help reduce miscommunications, enhance your time management capabilities, and boost your leadership skills. Here are some ways you can improve these skills:

Work on self-confidence.

When you’re confident, you naturally speak more clearly and with more authority. Taking the time to prepare your presentation with a strong opening and compelling visual aids can help you feel more confident. Other ways to improve your self-confidence include practicing positive self-talk, surrounding yourself with positive people, and avoiding comparing yourself (or your presentation) to others.

Develop strategies for overcoming fear.

Many people are nervous or fearful before giving a presentation. A bad memory of a past performance or insufficient self-confidence can contribute to fear and anxiety. Having a few go-to strategies like deep breathing, practicing your presentation, and grounding can help you transform that fear into extra energy to put into your stage presence.

Learn grounding techniques.

Grounding is any type of technique that helps you steer your focus away from distressing thoughts and keeps you connected with your present self. To ground yourself, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and imagine you’re a large, mature tree with roots extending deep into the earth—like the tree, you can become unshakable.

Learn how to use presentation tools.

Visual aids and other technical support can transform an otherwise good presentation into a wow-worthy one. A few popular presentation tools include:

Canva: Provides easy-to-design templates you can customize

Powtoon: Animation software that makes video creation fast and easy

PowerPoint: Microsoft's iconic program popular for dynamic marketing and sales presentations

Practice breathing techniques.

Breathing techniques can help quell anxiety, making it easier to shake off pre-presentation jitters and nerves. It also helps relax your muscles and get more oxygen to your brain.  For some pre-presentation calmness, you can take deep breaths, slowly inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.

While presenting, breathe in through your mouth with the back of your tongue relaxed so your audience doesn't hear a gasping sound. Speak on your exhalation, maintaining a smooth voice.

Gain experience.

The more you practice, the better you’ll become. The more you doanything, the more comfortable you’ll feel engaging in that activity. Presentations are no different. Repeatedly practicing your own presentation also offers the opportunity to get feedback from other people and tweak your style and content as needed.

Tips to help you ace your presentation

Your presentation isn’t about you; it’s about the material you’re presenting. Sometimes, reminding yourself of this ahead of taking center stage can help take you out of your head, allowing you to connect effectively with your audience. The following are some of the many actions you can take on the day of your presentation.

Arrive early.

Since you may have a bit of presentation-related anxiety, it’s important to avoid adding travel stress. Give yourself an abundance of time to arrive at your destination, and take into account heavy traffic and other unforeseen events. By arriving early, you also give yourself time to meet with any on-site technicians, test your equipment, and connect with people ahead of the presentation.

Become familiar with the layout of the room.

Arriving early also gives you time to assess the room and figure out where you want to stand. Experiment with the acoustics to determine how loudly you need to project your voice, and test your equipment to make sure everything connects and appears properly with the available setup. This is an excellent opportunity to work out any last-minute concerns and move around to familiarize yourself with the setting for improved stage presence.

Listen to presenters ahead of you.

When you watch others present, you'll get a feel for the room's acoustics and lighting. You can also listen for any data that’s relevant to your presentation and revisit it during your presentation—this can make the presentation more interactive and engaging.

Use note cards.

Writing yourself a script could provide you with more comfort. To prevent sounding too robotic or disengaged, only include talking points in your note cards in case you get off track. Using note cards can help keep your presentation organized while sounding more authentic to your audience.

Learn to deliver clear and confident presentations with Dynamic Public Speaking from the University of Washington. Build confidence, develop new delivery techniques, and practice strategies for crafting compelling presentations for different purposes, occasions, and audiences.

Article sources

Forbes. “ New Survey: 70% Say Presentation Skills are Critical for Career Success , https://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2014/09/25/new-survey-70-percent-say-presentation-skills-critical-for-career-success/?sh=619f3ff78890.” Accessed December 7, 2022.

Beautiful.ai. “ 15 Presentation and Public Speaking Stats You Need to Know , https://www.beautiful.ai/blog/15-presentation-and-public-speaking-stats-you-need-to-know. Accessed December 7, 2022.

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Chapter 4: Developing and Supporting Your Ideas

Types of Supporting Materials

The types of supporting materials that you will use for your presentation depend partly on the topic you’ve chosen and the audience that you will address. We have already discussed how important it is to try to reach as many listeners in your audience as you possibly can.  Choosing several types of supports is one way to ensure that your speech is well rounded and will appeal to many different listeners.  Let’s use the topic of buying a hybrid vehicle as an example. Some members of your audience will want to hear facts and statistics as they listen to your presentation. They may be mostly interested in hearing about rebates and gas mileage. Or perhaps they’ll want more information on how the vehicle actually functions or how the components within a hybrid, such as engine and motor, differ from a standard vehicle. But some audience members will also want to hear personal examples and anecdotes, as they find the human connection in the presentation more interesting and relatable. They want to know what personal reasons car buyers have for switching to hybrid vehicles. Do some individuals switch to hybrids due to environmental and ecological concerns? By providing both of these types of supporting material within one presentation, the speaker is able to reach more listeners within the group. Here are some of the basic types of supports that you may want to include in a speech.

An  example  is an item of information that is typical of a class or group and acts to represent the larger group. You use examples as a means to explain yourself every day. When you tell a friend that you are overwhelmed and then mention a particularly time-consuming assignment that must be completed in two days, you’ve given your friend an example -one specific item from a list of many items that are causing you stress at that moment. You will often find that providing an example is equally helpful in a presentation.

If you tell your audience that you researched and found thousands of individuals who reported near-death experiences, I can assure you that your audience has no desire to hear all of these reports. But if you choose one or two incidents from this research to use as examples, it will provide them with specifics that help them better understand the phenomenon from an individual point of view. Examples, then, are used by the speaker to clarify information and to provide a narrower focus from the research.

Hypothetical Examples

A speaker might also choose to use a hypothetical example during a presentation.  A  hypothetical example  allows the speaker to use an example that describes an imaginary item, event, or incident, rather than an actual one.  Hypothetical examples could be used to describe a situation in which most listeners would never find themselves. For example, if you asked your audience to imagine that they have survived a plane crash and find themselves the sole survivor on a deserted island, your audience can picture this situation even though they probably have never found themselves in this predicament. Hypothetical examples can also be used to expand your audience’s imagination. You could choose to open a presentation with a humorous example of the possible responses a human might have when first encountering a being from another planet. No one that I know of has actually found themselves in this particular situation; your example is simply a “what if ” scenario designed to make your point and to arouse interest. As you can see, examples, both actual and hypothetical, are effective in making your ideas and points clear to your audience. By giving your audience a detailed example, you help them to hone in on the smaller, more specific event or situation. This can be helpful in focusing your audience and keeping their interest.

Fundamentals of Public Speaking Copyright © by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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23 Presentation Aids

Learning Objectives

Upon completing this chapter, you should be able to

  • explain how visual aids can improve the quality and impact of a presentation,
  • distinguish unique benefits of different types of visual aids, and
  • develop visual aids that are consistent with standard presentation quality criteria


Presentations can be enhanced by the effective use of visual aids. These include handouts, overhead transparencies, drawings on the whiteboard, PowerPoint slides, and many other types of props. Once you have chosen a topic, consider how you are going to show your audience what you are talking about. Visuals can provide a reference, illustration, or image to help the audience to understand and remember your point.

Visual aids accomplish several goals:

  • Make your speech more interesting
  • Enhance your credibility as a speaker
  • Guide transitions, helping the audience stay on track
  • Communicate complex information in a short time
  • Reinforce your message
  • Encourage retention

Emphasis, Support, and Clarity

The purpose for each visual aid should be clear and speak for itself. If you can’t quickly link the purpose of a visual aid to the verbal message, consider whether it should be used. Visual aids can be distracting or confusing if they are not clearly connected to what you are saying.

Perhaps you want to highlight a trend between two related issues, such as socioeconomic status and educational attainment. You might show a line graph that compares the two, showing that as socioeconomic status rises, educational attainment also rises. People learn in different ways. Some of us learn best using visual stimuli; others learn by taking notes or by using tactile objects. So, by using visuals to support your presentation and, if possible, tactile aids or demos, you can help a significant proportion of the audience learn about your topic.

Clarity is key in the use of visual aids. Limit the number of words on your slides. No more than 10 words per slide, with a font large enough to be read at the back of the room or auditorium, is a good rule of thumb.

Methods and Materials

Slide decks.

The most common visual aid used in presentations, slide decks may be developed using software such as PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, or Google Slides. These tools allow you to show text, images, and charts and even to play audio or video files. They are an excellent enhancement to your presentation, but they do require a contingency plan. Computers sometimes fail to work as planned, so make sure you have a whiteboard or handout as a backup in case of any technical issues. You can minimize the risk by testing out equipment ahead of time.

Also, remember that these are an aid to your central, verbal message. Resist the urge to read directly from them with your back to the audience, or to pack slides full of text in lieu of speaking all of the information you want to get across.

Flip Charts, Whiteboards, and Large Prints

Flip charts and whiteboards are a good choice when you don’t have access to a computer and projector. Alternatively, you can print some visual aids like charts and graphs in large sizes and show them during your presentation. If you plan to get a lot of audience input and want to write or draw things out, then a whiteboard is an ideal choice. But make sure your writing is large enough to be seen at the back of the room and that it is easy to read.

If it will be helpful for your audience to refer to the information you’re sharing at a later date, they’ll appreciate it if you leave them with a handout. But never give handouts to the audience at the beginning of your speech. They will be distracted by reading and tune you out. If you decide to use one, let the audience know at the beginning of the speech that you’ll provide it at the end. This will relieve them from having to capture all your content by taking notes, and keep their attention focused on you while you speak.

Demonstrations and Tactile Aids

If your presentation is about how to do something, for example, how to cook a particular dish or how to use a tool, you will want to show the audience a demonstration. Sometimes it is helpful to pass around a tactile aid, for example, a model. These can be very helpful if you want your audience to learn by doing. Make sure to pass items around during pauses in your presentation so that you don’t lose the audience’s attention. If audience members need to move around to use a tactile aid, make sure the location has enough space to make this possible.

Using Visual Aids

Designing Slide Decks

Using PowerPoint or a similar program, You’ll be able to import, or cut and paste, words from text files, images, or video clips to represent your ideas. You can even incorporate web links.

At first, you might be overwhelmed by the possibilities, and you might be tempted to use all the bells, whistles, and sounds, not to mention the flying, and animated graphics. If used wisely, a simple transition can be effective, But if used indiscriminately, it can annoy the audience to the point where they cringe in anticipation of the sound effect at the start of each slide.

Stick to one main idea per slide. The presentation is for the audience’s benefit, not yours. Pictures and images can be understood more quickly and easily than text, so you can use this to your advantage as you present.

If you develop a slide deck for your presentation, test these out in the location beforehand, not just on your own computer screen, as different computers and software versions can make your slides look different than you expected. Allow time for revision based on what you learn.

Your visual aids should meet the following criteria:

  • Big – legible for everyone, even the back row
  • Clear – the audience should “get it” the first time they see it
  • Simple – simplify concepts rather than complicating them
  • Consistent – use the same visual style throughout

Another consideration that you’ll need to make when designing your slide decks is font. As previously mentioned, think about the people at the back of the room when choosing the size of your text, to make sure it can be read by everyone.

A common mistake that presenters make is to use decorative fonts, or to incorporate many different fonts in their slides. This not only creates a mixed message for the audience but also makes your message difficult to read. Choose legible, common fonts that do not have thin elements that may be difficult to see.

When considering your choice of colours to use, legibility must be your priority. Contrast can help the audience read your key terms more easily. Make sure the background colour and the images you plan to use complement each other. Repeat colours, from your graphics to your text, to help unify each slide. To reduce visual noise, try not to use more than two or three colours.

According to the standard colour wheel, colours are grouped into primary, secondary, and tertiary categories. Primary colours are the colours from which other colours are made through various combinations: blue, red, and yellow. Secondary colours—green, orange, and purple—combine two primary colours, while tertiary colours are made from combinations of primary and secondary colours.

explain the materials used to support your presentation

Figure 3.3.1 The Colour Wheel by Laura Underwood

Colours have relationships depending on their location on the wheel. Colours that are opposite each other are called complementary, and they contrast, creating a dynamic effect. Analogous colours are located next to each other and promote continuity and sense of unity.

Blue-green colour blindness, and red-green colour blindness are fairly common, so avoid using these colour combinations if it is important for the audience to differentiate between them. If you are using a pie chart, for example, avoid putting a blue segment

next to a green one. Use labelling so that even if someone is colour blind, they will be able to tell the relative sizes of the pie segments and what they signify.

Colour is also a matter of culture. Some colours may be perceived as formal or informal, or masculine or feminine. Certain colours have understood meanings; for example, red is usually associated with danger, while green signals “go.” Make sure the colours you use align with your message. If you are discussing climate change or the natural world, for example, you’d be more likely to use blues and greens rather than metallic colours to avoid confusing the audience.

Helpful Hints

Visual aids can be a powerful tool when used effectively but can run the risk of dominating your presentation. Consider your audience and how the portrayal of images, text, graphic, animated sequences, or sound files will contribute or detract from your presentation. Here are some hints to keep in mind as you prepare yours.

  • Keep it simple
  • One idea per slide
  • Avoid clutter
  • Use large, bold fonts that can be read from at least 20 feet away
  • Use contrasting colours for a dynamic effect
  • Use analogous colours to unify ideas
  • Do not use clip art
  • Proofread each slide with care
  • Test in the presentation room beforehand
  • If you are using a computer for your visual aids, have a backup plan

Using visual aids takes time and practice. The more you practise before your speech, the more comfortable you will be with your visual aids and the role they serve. Know your material well enough that you refer to your visual aids, not rely on them.

Check Your Understanding

Attribution statement (presentation aids).

This chapter is a remix containing content from a variety of sources published under a variety of open licenses, including the following:

Chapter Content

  • Original content contributed by the Olds College OER Development Team, of Olds College to Professional Communications Open Curriculum under a CC-BY 4.0 license
  • Content adapted from Nonverbal Delivery in Communication for Business Success, created by Anonymous, for previously shared at http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/communication-for-business-success-canadian-edition/s15-non-verbal-delivery.html under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license
  • Content created by Jenn Q. Goddu, for Providing Feedback to Speakers from The Public Speaking Project, previously shared at http://publicspeakingproject.org/listening.html under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license

Check Your Understandings

  • Original assessment items contributed by the Olds College OER Development Team, of Olds College to Professional Communications Open Curriculum under a CC-BY 4.0 license
  • Assessment items adapted from  Boundless, for Boundless Communications, Choosing Appropriate Words Chapter Quiz, previously shared at https://www.boundless.com/quizzes/using-language-effectively-quiz-81357/ under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license
  • Assessment items adapted from  Boundless, for Boundless Communications, Defining an Informative Speech Chapter Quiz, previously shared at https://www.boundless.com/communications/textbooks/boundless-communications-textbook/informative-speaking-13/introduction-to-informative-speaking-69/defining-an-informative-speech-270-76/ under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license
  • Assessment items adapted from  Boundless, for Boundless Communications, Presentation Quiz, previously shared at https://www.boundless.com/quizzes/week-4-boundless-presentation-quiz-77222/ under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license

Professional Communications Copyright © by Olds College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Ace your presentation with these 6 different presentation aids

explain the materials used to support your presentation

You’re preparing for a presentation, and you know you need to do more than stand in front of your audience and talk — you need something for them to look at.

Visual aids not only make your presentation more engaging, but they also make the information more memorable.

One study from the University of California found that a mere three hours after your presentation, only 70% of people are able to recall the information that was presented verbally. However, that number gets a boost when you incorporate visual aids. 85% of people are able to recall information that was presented visually.

But, here’s the thing: You don’t want to paste a few stock images onto some PowerPoint slides just for the sake of having visual aids. You want them to serve a purpose, to educate your audience and complement your content.

Stumped for ideas? We’ve pulled together some clever suggestions for presentation aids below.

Presenter in front of mid-sized audience

1. Perform a demonstration

When thinking of presentation aids, slides are often the first thing to jump into people’s minds. And, without a doubt, they definitely have their time and place. However, don’t hesitate to think outside the box (or, in this case, the slide) and use real objects or even people to get a point across.

For example, maybe rather than talking about how your product works, you can do a simple demonstration. Or, perhaps you can ask for some volunteers from the audience to help you teach a lesson about how to make proper business introductions.

There are plenty of options, so get creative and remember that your visual aids don’t need to only live on slides — you can create some real action too.

2. Use charts and graphs

Imagine that I were standing in front of you, rattling off a bunch of statistics right in a row. How likely are you to remember those digits one minute later? Not very likely.

This is why charts and graphs can be such a helpful addition to your presentation. They allow you to display a lot of information in a far more comprehensible (not to mention memorable) way. Using Poll Everywhere , you can even create these types of visual aids right on the spot by polling your audience and then immediately pulling those results into an animated graph or chart. That not only simplifies your information, but actually involves your audience in the process as well.

Poll: What comes to mind when you think of doubt?

Read more: How to choose the best format for your presentation

3. Share a handout

Your presentation shares tons of valuable information that you know could be a huge help to your attendees, yet you’re frustrated to see that none of them are writing anything down.

This is where sharing a handout can be helpful. You can create something that has all of those important nuggets of information in one place so that they can take it with them and refer back to it.

Or, you can take things a step further and encourage more diligent note-taking by creating some sort of worksheet or template that they can fill in as you move through your presentation.

4. Create a diagram

Let’s say that your presentation needs to thoroughly explain a somewhat-complex process , such as the details and different steps of your recruitment and hiring process. That can be a lot for your audience to take in and attempt to visualize on their own.

Fortunately, you can make it far more digestible by distilling the process down into a simple diagram that they can reference — something straightforward with bubbles and arrows. Processes are sequential, so they lend themselves well to a visual representation that quite literally maps out the flow of things. And, having that to display not only makes the process easier to understand, but also far easier for you to explain.

Small group with laptops

Read more: Make your own quiz in minutes with Poll Everywhere Competitions

5. Highlight an interesting quote, statistic, or point

Naturally, there are certain things that you want to emphasize throughout your presentation — whether it’s an impactful statistic or a pull quote.

Don’t back yourself into a corner by becoming convinced that your presentation aids need to be completely visual. Rest assured, some text is allowed.

Call attention to that shocking statistic by putting it on its own slide in large font. Or, if there’s a certain quote, word, or theme you want your attendees to keep in mind as you move through your presentation, write it on the whiteboard up front.

Tactics like these do exactly what your visual aids are supposed to do: Highlight the most important pieces of your presentation.

6. Show a brief video

Remember those school days when the teacher would announce that you were going to watch a movie and everyone was suddenly overcome with excitement?

Chances are, your presentation attendees feel some of that same giddiness when you show them a video as part of your presentation.

Doing so changes up the flow of your presentation, and helps recapture audience attention. Plus, a video gives you the flexibility to be more creative with how you present information — since you aren’t only limited to what you can use and do directly in the front of that conference room.

Presentation aids like the ones above can help make your information that much more memorable and your presentation far more engaging.

But, while these visuals are important, always remember that eye contact still matters. These aids aren’t for you to stare at — they’re for your audience. So, despite what visuals you implement in your presentation, always remember to make eye contact and interact with your attendees. Trust me, that will be the most helpful tactic of all.

Related articles

explain the materials used to support your presentation

  • Google Slides Presentation Design
  • Pitch Deck Design
  • Powerpoint Redesign
  • Other Design Services

Presenting techniques

  • Design Tips
  • Guide & How to's
  • Presenting techniques

Presenting is a craft that requires a thoughtful approach. There’s a lot of stuff to include in the good presentation. From quality visuals to a compelling speech, everything matters. Doing a presentation on your own may be quite a challenge especially if it’s your first time experience with the presentations. What can really help though, are the effective presentation techniques. In essence, they are the blueprint for your presentation, that helps you to hit all the right spots. Let’s look into some of those techniques.

Presentation Methods

Before you start thinking of a technique, let’s first understand the presentation methods and how they relate to the audience and the content of your presentation. Among the different presentation methods, the main ones are formal and formal. Their difference is mainly in the style of your delivery and the data presentation methods. The formal presentation is best suited for the business meetings or college level, scientific presentations. The informal methods of presentation can best be used during the smaller meetings with your team to discuss business subjects or, for example, at a Ted-like speech event.

Method 1: Keeping Everything Simple

This is a rather basic technique. Just strip your presentation of all the unnecessary information, leaving only the core statements that you want to address. Simplicity not only helps your audience to understand your points better but even more, this data presentation method lowers the risk of making a mistake, forgetting — and saves you and your audience quite a lot of time! There are different definitions of simplicity — sometimes just a few words are enough, while in other cases several bullet points on the slide may be sufficient. Choose what suits your topic best.

Method 2: Good Start 

This method of presentation is all about attention-grabbing. Starting your presentation with a powerful statement, unusual fact or an interesting question will make the audience engage in your presentation instantly. Another great way to start is a joke, though humor can be quite a landmine, especially when you’re presenting in front of strangers, and you are not sure whether your joke would be fun or actually offensive.  So, try to think of something neutral, yet funny.

Method 3: Use  Visuals in your Presentation

Visuals are a must for any presentation and are able not only to support your speech but also to tell and contribute to the stuff you’re telling about. The pictures, graphs, infographics, and even short videos especially when done by presentation design services are what truly make the presentation, and help you to connect with your audience. A carefully selected visual connects both with your speech and the slide content, making your presentation methods work in complete harmony. What is more, visuals can serve as a great way to help you recall your speech in case you suddenly forgot some of it during the presentation.

Method 4:   Rehearse

Don’t rush to tell your presentation just once you’ve made it. Instead, try to first rehearse your presentation in front of a mirror. This presentation technique allows you to spot the mistakes and downfalls in your speech and visual part and improve powerpoint presentation . What is more, it can also make you more confident, as with each time you rehearse you’ll memorize your stuff better and better. Bonus points for starting rehearsing from the random spots in your presentation — using this presentation technique will allow you to become completely familiar with your information.

Method 5:   10/20/30 Presentation Rule

While it may not be applied to all of the presentations, the ones that you are usually dealing with can really benefit from it. 10 20 30 rule is about the time and size of your presentation: 

  • Your presentation should have no more than 10 slides
  • The time needed for the presentation should be no more than 20 minutes
  • The font you are using for presentation text (if there is any on slides) is no less than 30 point

Method 6:  Storytelling

Telling a story is a powerful presentation technique for keeping the audience interested. In general, people get bored from being fed just straight-up facts and numbers for a long time. However, an interesting story, connected to the subject of your presentation gives that personal touch to it, engaging the audience into what you are talking about. What is more, a good story in the context of the presentation will actually resonate with the audience, causing more approval to you as an expert.

  • Tell a personal  story .
  • Create suspense.
  • Bring characters to life.
  • Build up to S.T.A.R moment.

Method 7:   Presentate with your Voice

Speech is the most common method of presentation . When you are presenting, it’s important not only WHAT you say, but also HOW do you say it. Creating a proper voice for presentations is actually one of the things you need rehearsal for. Your goal is to sound confident and interested in the subject you are telling about. What is more, it is important to not make unnecessary pauses and avoid the “ummm”, “oh” and other similar stuff that slows down your presentation and may put off the audience.

Method 8:   Know your Audience

Make sure that the data presentation methods you are using make your data  relevant to your audience. The research of your audience is needed to craft a relatable story, as well as to understand what approach in presenting you may want to take. After you’ve done the research, you can just tell the audience what it wants and expects to hear. Such an approach would result in the satisfied and interested audience enjoying your presentation. And in this case your presentation would surely and up being a huge success!

Method 9:   Back up plan

Even though you may plan everything in advance, something can always go wrong. The strange ability of the hardware to malfunction right in the middle of your presentation is probably one of the most known presentation-related memes. So, plan at least some of the bad scenarios. For example, have a printed set of slides with you during your presentation. Check everything right before you’ll start presenting. A good idea also is to have your script written out so that in case you have completely forgotten some of its parts, you can easily and quickly look into it and goon with the presentation.

Method 10:   Relax

This one is not only a presentation technique , but a great life technique as well. Actually, the most common reason for the mistakes during presentations are the nerves and fear a lot of people feel while presenting. It’s absolutely normal to be a little worried about the presentation, but you have to instill confidence in your knowledge and expertise with the subject among the audience, and it’s hard to do if you feel fear. Try to reason with yourself — you have rehearsed, prepared great visuals, learned about the audience and even have a plan B in case the situation gets worse. There’s nothing to worry about — you have all the right presentation techniques !

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  • 50 tips on how to improve PowerPoint presentations in 2022-2023 [Updated]
  • Keynote VS PowerPoint
  • Types of presentations
  • Present financial information visually in PowerPoint to drive results

Private: How to become a public speaker

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Private: How to become a public speaker

How to make a presentation interactive

How to make a presentation interactive

8 rules of effective presentation

8 rules of effective presentation

Using visual aids during a presentation or training session

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Using visual aids during a presentation or training session

June 21, 2018 - gini beqiri.

Visual aids can enhance your presentations - they can increase the audience's understanding of your topic, explain points, make an impact and create enthusiasm. It has become more important to make information visual:

"Something is happening. We are becoming a visually mediated society. For many, understanding of the world is being accomplished, not through words, but by reading images" - ( Lester, 2006 )

In this article, we discuss how to use visual aids for presentations or training sessions.

What are visual aids?

Visual aids are items of a visual manner, such as graphs, photographs, video clips etc used in addition to spoken information. Visual aids are chosen depending on their purpose, for example, you may want to:

  • Summarise information.
  • Reduce the amount of spoken words, for example, you may show a graph of your results rather than reading them out.
  • Clarify and show examples.
  • Create more of an impact, for example, if your presentation is on the health risks of smoking, you may show images of the effects of smoking on the body rather than describing this. You must consider what type of impact you want to make beforehand - do you want the audience to be sad, happy, angry etc?
  • Emphasise what you're saying.
  • Make a point memorable.
  • Enhance your credibility .
  • Engage the audience and maintain their interest.
  • Make something easier for the audience to understand.

Using a flipboard during a presentation

Preparation and use of visual aids

Once you have decided that you want to use a visual aid, you must ensure that the audience is able to quickly understand the image - it must be clear. They can be used throughout your speech but try to only use visual aids for essential points as it can be tiring for the audience to skip from one visual to another.


  • Think about how can a visual aid can support your message. What do you want the audience to do?
  • Ensure that your visual aid follows what you're saying or this will confuse the audience.
  • Avoid cluttering the image as it may look messy and unclear.
  • Visual aids must be clear, concise and of a high quality.
  • Keep the style consistent, such as, the same font, colours, positions etc
  • Use graphs and charts to present data.
  • The audience should not be trying to read and listen at the same time - use visual aids to highlight your points.
  • One message per visual aid, for example, on a slide there should only be one key point.
  • Use visual aids in moderation - they are additions meant to emphasise and support main points.
  • Ensure that your presentation still works without your visual aids in case of technical problems.
  • Practice using the visual aids in advance and ask friends and colleagues for feedback. Ask them whether they can clearly see the visual aid and how they interpret it.

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During the presentation

  • Ensure that the visual aids can be seen by everyone in the audience.
  • Face the audience most of the time rather than the image.
  • Avoid reading from the visual aid.
  • As soon as you show the visual aid the audience's attention will be drawn to it so you must immediately explain it. You will be ignored if you talk about something else.
  • Make it clear to the audience why you are using it.
  • When you no longer need the visual aid ensure that the audience can't see it.

Tailor to your audience

Choose your visual aids tactically so you appeal to your audience. This means finding images your audience can relate to, images they will find familiar and images they will like. Also think about what style of visual aid is suitable for the audience; is it quite a serious presentation? Can you be humorous? Is it more formal or informal?

Example of using visual aids

When watching this video, notice how the presenters:

  • Talk to the audience while writing
  • Turn their body to the audience while writing
  • Don't spend too long writing in one session

Types of visual aids

There are a variety of different types of visual aids, you must decide which will suit your presentation and your audience.

Microsoft PowerPoint is widely used for presentations because it's easy to create attractive and professional presentations and it's simple to modify and reorganise content compared to other visual aids. You can insert a range of visual items into the slides which will improve the audience's focus. Also, the audience can generally see slideshows better than other visual aids and you don't have to face away from them. However, your presentation can look unprofessional if this software is used poorly.

  • Have a clear and simple background.
  • Avoid using too many different types of fonts or font sizes.
  • Only use animations for a purpose, such as, to reveal the stages of a process, otherwise this can be distracting and look amateurish.
  • Use a large font size - a minimum of 24pt.
  • Use bullet points to summarise key points.
  • Consider providing handouts of diagrams because the audience will find the diagrams easier to read.
  • Avoid putting too much text on a slide.
  • Avoid using red or green text as it's difficult to read.
  • There should only be one key point for each slide.
  • Always have a back-up plan in case there is a technical issue and you cannot show the visuals on the day, for example, bring handouts or a poster.


Whiteboards are great for providing further explanations, such as, showing the order of a process, creating diagrams or explaining complex words or phrases. They're often used to display headings and write down audience suggestions. Whiteboards are also ideal for displaying important information for the entire duration of the presentation, such as, key definitions, because the audience can just glance at the whiteboard for a reminder.

  • Ensure that enough time has passed for the audience to take notes before rubbing something off of the whiteboard.
  • Write concisely to avoid facing away from the audience for too long.
  • Handwriting must be large and legible.
  • Practice beforehand as you may feel nervous about writing in front of an audience at the time.

Handouts are papers that contain key information from your presentation or they may provide further information. They prevent you from overwhelming the audience as there will be less information on the slides and therefore less information they need to write down.

You must consider when you want to give the audience the handouts:

  • If given at the beginning and middle of your presentation the audience may be reading rather than listening to you or they might not pay attention to what you're saying as they already have the information.
  • If given at the end of your presentation the audience may be trying to take lots of notes which may reduce the amount of information they are actually understanding.

To manage this, provide the audience with partially completed handouts so they will have to listen to what you're saying to be able to fill in the gaps. Providing the audience with graphs and charts beforehand is also beneficial because the audience will find them easier to read than, for example, from a slide.

  • Tips on creating handouts for your presentation

Giving a handout during a sales presentation

Video clips

Using videos are a great wait to engage the audience and increase their interest. Use video to bring motion, images and audio into your presentation.

  • Ensure that any videos used are relevant to the presentation's content.
  • Only show as much of the video as necessary.
  • Never show a really long clip.
  • Videos can be difficult to fit into the structure of a presentation so ensure that you tell that audience why you're showing them a clip and tell them what to look for.
  • Inform the audience how long the video will last.

Flip charts offer a low cost and low tech solution to record and convey information as you speak. They're more beneficial for smaller audiences and they are favoured for brainstorming sessions as you can gather ideas easily. Flip charts are also widely used for summarising information and, like with a whiteboard, you can use them to show permanent background information.

  • Before your presentation, place the flip chart in a location that you can easily access.
  • Prepare any sheets you can in advance, even if you can only write down the headings.
  • Flip charts can be moved so you can avoid facing away from the audience - stand next to it and continue to face the audience.
  • Have only one main idea per sheet.
  • Write legibly, largely and in block capitals so it's more visible.
  • Check with the audience that they can read the text - do not use a flipchart if there is a large audience.
  • Only write in black and blue ink. Red ink is good for circling or underlining.
  • Using a pencil write notes to yourself beforehand so you remember what to include - the audience will not see this writing. Also drawing lines in pencil beforehand can keep your handwriting straight.
  • Flip back through the sheets to consolidate points.
  • Practice writing on the flip chart advance as you may feel nervous at the time of presenting.

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Poster boards can be created using a variety of visual devices, such as graphs and images. They're generally quite portable and you can make them as elaborate as you want. However, they can be expensive to produce if the poster is quite complex.

  • One poster per message or theme
  • Use block capitals
  • Avoid using posters when presenting to large audiences as they will not be able to see the content

Product, objects or artefacts

Objects can be useful tools for making an impact or even for making a dull topic more interesting. Sometimes they'll be needed for technical and practical reasons, such as, showing a model or conducting an experiment.

  • If you are presenting to a small audience consider passing the object around but provide enough time so they won't have to divide their attention between the object and what you're saying.
  • If the audience is large ensure that you move the object around so everyone sees it.
  • The audience will be more distracted from what you're saying when they're looking at the object so keep it hidden until the right time and provide the background information before revealing it.
  • Explain why you're using the object.
  • If you are conducting an experiment or demonstration, move slowly with exaggerated movements so the audience can follow. Also explain precisely what's going on.

Two examples of live product demos:

Key points for using visual aids

Try to find out what the presentation room is like beforehand, such as, the layout of the room, the equipment etc, so you can see if your visual aids are appropriate and whether they will work there but always have a contingency plan regardless. Also remember that the audience should be able to understand an image almost immediately.

Before your presentation, ensure that you practice with your visual aids so you know how to operate the equipment. If something goes wrong you'll have a better chance of solving the problem.

Research suggests that using colour increases people's motivation to read and their enthusiasm for a presentation. Software like PowerPoint is great for producing colour visuals.

Using the colour wheel can help when choosing your presentation's colours:

  • Colours opposite each other in the wheel are complementary and they create contrast. Using complementary colours makes your text more readable.
  • Colours next to each other are analogous and they are harmonious. Using analogous colours makes your presentation more unified.

Adobe color wheel for your presentation

The Adobe colour wheel , which helps you pick complementary colours for your presentation design.

Avoid using too many colours in your presentation as this can look cluttered and unprofessional and keep your colour themes continuous, for example, if you highlight all the key words on one slide in blue, continue to do this throughout the presentation. Also be careful with colour associations, for example, in many cultures red is linked to danger. Try to represent your words and topics with colours that make sense and are appropriate.

Many people are blue-green or red-green colour-blind so avoid putting these colours next to each other’s in, for example, a graph. If you cannot avoid placing these colours next to each other then use text to clearly label items.

Research suggests that information displayed visually is well remembered: "retention of information three days after a meeting or other event is six times greater when information is presented by visual and oral means than when the information is presented by the spoken word alone." ( U.S. Department of Labor OSHA Office of Training and Education, 1996 )

There is also significant evidence suggesting that most learning occurs visually - some researchers suggest that 83% of human learning happens visually. The psychologist Bruner conducted multiple studies which suggest that people remember 80% of what they see and do, 20% of what they read and only 10% of what they hear.

Visual aids are worth including in your presentations because they can help you explain information more coherently which makes presenting easier for you and learning easier for the audience. They also help add variety to your presentation thus making it more interesting for the audience. If the audience understand what you're saying and they are more engaged, they're more likely to be persuaded by you.

Module 5: Choosing and Researching a Topic

Supporting materials, learning objectives.

Explain the different types of supporting materials to use in a speech and when to use them.

Have you ever heard the term Exhibit A ?

Here are some examples: In a movie review we read, “ Nothing to Lose  is Exhibit A  in what’s right and what’s wrong with current Hollywood comedy.” [1]  A news article quotes a senator as saying, “The massive data breach at Equifax Inc. is ‘ Exhibit A ‘ on the need for strong U.S. regulation, including higher fines against companies that mishandle consumers’ personal information.” [2]  An article about football claims that “Green Bay is  Exhibit A  in an NFL trend that emphasizes mesmerizing passing games above all else.” [3]

Drawing of a lawyer talking to a jury

It can sometimes be helpful to think about public speaking as an argument before a jury.

The term Exhibit A  comes from courtroom trials. Wikipedia tells us that “an exhibit, in a criminal prosecution or a civil trial, is physical or documentary evidence brought before the jury. The artifact or document itself is presented for the jury’s inspection. [. . .] The exhibits in any one law case are often labelled Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C, etc. to distinguish between them.” [1] In a trial, lawyers use exhibits, or evidence, to try to make their case to the jury. Evidence is extremely important in a jury trial: jurors are instructed that they should “base their conclusions [only] on the evidence as presented in the trial.” [2]

In this (imperfect) comparison, your audience is the jury and you’re the lawyer making your case. No matter how eloquently and passionately you speak, you can’t make a convincing case without evidence (presented in court as exhibits).

Types of Support

In a speech, you’ll be providing evidence to support your main points with supporting materials.  The best speeches are composed of a variety of relevant, insightful, and interesting supporting materials. A good rule of thumb is that each main point in your speech should include at least three types of supporting material: examples, data, and testimony. This section will review three categories of supporting materials and when to use them.

Including a variety of examples throughout your speech will add depth and specificity to your main points. Examples provide concrete illustrations to what might otherwise be an abstract or vague ideas. They are also more memorable and personalized for your audience. Cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner maintained that learners are 22% more likely to retain information when it is presented as a story rather than facts alone. [3] Because examples typically involve elements of storytelling and narrative, they engage different parts of the audience’s brains and senses to create an emotional engagement with the story and the speaker.

Examples can take different forms, and you will determine what types will best enhance your speech.

  • Strong action verbs will stand out and catch the eye of hiring managers. For instance, instead of writing that you “led” a project, try verbs like “coordinated, spearheaded, or supervised” the project. Instead of writing that you were “responsible for daily totals,” try verbs like “finalized, headed, or produced” daily totals.
  • Long Examples include narratives and stories that add imagery and vividness to a speech. A long example might be integrated throughout a main point or throughout an entire speech. For instance, you might begin your speech on the long-term impact of concussions on cognitive, physical, and emotional functioning with the story of when you got a concussion playing basketball in high school. As you move through your speech, you will return often with specific details or moments from your own concussion and recovery. Long examples not only add structure to a main point or entire speech, but they do so with the emotion and drama of real-life, personalized illustrations.
  • Hypothetical Examples are imaginary but realistic examples that allow speakers to paint a picture of a plausible scenario that the audience can put themselves into. They might begin with the phrase “imagine that” or “what if.” If you wanted your audience to understand how health crises can lead to homelessness, you might use the following hypothetical example to put your audience in the shoes of the person in this situation:

You’re in your early 30s and have a decent job and apartment. You’re a college graduate and are almost done paying your college loans, but have no savings. Out of the blue, you get a devastating diagnosis: cancer. The symptoms and treatments are awful, but you are grateful for your employee-based health insurance. Except that, in the first year of treatment, you start getting bills for thousands of dollars. As it turns out, your out-of-pocket co-pays, deductibles, and premiums add up fast. You’ve maxed out your credit cards and your family has helped as much as they can. Within a few years, you’re $52,000 in debt. Not only are you dealing with a health crisis, but you’re about to lose your apartment and your car.

Hypothetical examples are effective when combined with other evidence to show that they are typical of a particular situation. The hypothetical example above should be tied to statistics about causes of homelessness and the impact of healthcare-related debt on housing instability.

In her powerful TEDTalk about a reporting system for sexual assault, Jessica Ladd effectively uses an extended hypothetical example of young college students and an assailant to both clarify and personalize her speech. Ladd consistently shows how the hypothetical situation is realistic and plausible.

To Watch: Jessica Ladd, The Reporting System That Sexual Assault Survivors Want

Jessica Ladd is the founder of Callisto, a platform for survivors of sexual assault to electronically document and report what happened to them. Please note that this video contains a discussion of sexual assault.

You can view the transcript for “The reporting system that sexual assault survivors want | Jessica Ladd” here (opens in new window) .

What to watch:

Since the topic of sexual assault is so painful and upsetting, Ladd carefully controls her affect (the outward appearance of her emotions) throughout the speech. She only smiles briefly at the beginning, when describing “Hannah’s” excitement about going to college. After that, Ladd conveys the concern and seriousness appropriate for her subject through her facial expression, body language, and tone of voice. She doesn’t try to add to the intensity of the story by using grand gestures or vocal volume, instead letting the audience feel the emotions created by the facts of the story.

Short, long, and hypothetical examples work well in conjunction with research and statistics (see next section) to provide personalization and depth to each main point. Short and hypothetical examples can also be highly effective “hooks” to begin your speech in a personalized and engaging way.

Data—that is, facts and statistics—provide credibility and clarity in a speech, giving concrete, specific numbers or results about the extent or impact of a particular situation. Compare the effect of the following two statements:

  • A lot of children in America are hungry.
  • A 2018 report from Food Research & Action Center states that more than 18% of American households—that’s nearly one in five!—have food hardship where they haven’t had enough money to buy food.

Example A is vague and easily forgettable. Example B adds credibility and specificity to the extent of childhood hunger. Combining that statistic “more than 18%” with “nearly one in five” re-emphasizes the extent of the problem and makes it more relatable to an audience.

In addition to numerical statistics, findings from research can add depth and meaning to your speech. The speaker in this five-minute speech on “The Benefits of Doodling” includes a brief description of a study to support her first main point about the impact of doodling on memory retention:

To Watch: The Benefits of Doodling

You can view the transcript for “Doodling” here (opens in new window) .

What to watch for:

This speaker does a nice job of incorporating data into the presentation. One of the main pieces of supporting material comes from a 2009 study claiming that doodlers in the study remembered 29% more information. This data is made memorable by two things. First, the speaker frames the data in terms of a story, rather than just dropping it in out of context. This way, the listener remembers the point of the story, even if the number is forgotten. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the speaker translates the number (29%) into a piece of information that is directly relevant to the listener: the difference between getting an A and a C on a quiz.

Jackie Andrade is a professor at Plymouth University in England and in 2009 did a study to test the correlation between memory retention and doodling. She had participants in another study stay behind and had them listen to a really, really mundane voicemail of a guest list to a party. She told both groups not to pay any mind to what they were listening to, but half the participants got shapes . . . to shade in while they listened. After listening to the voicemail, they asked all the participants, ‘who’s planning on attending the party?’ Unsurprisingly, the doodlers retained 29% more information. For you or [me], that’s the difference between an A and a C on a 50-point quiz.”

While statistics and research findings add credibility, specificity, and depth to a speech, they need to be integrated thoughtfully. First, too many statistics and numbers can be overwhelming and boring to audiences, so use them only as needed, and be sure to translate complex or overly-technical ideas into clear language. Likewise, rounding large or complex numbers and using relatable comparisons can help (e.g., the speaker in the doodling video compared the memory retention from doodling to the grade on a test). For instance, rather than stating, “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is 1.6 million square kilometers”—a number that most audiences can’t easily understand—try something like, “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of the state of Texas or three times the size of France.” Likewise, showing statistics with visual aids, including simple charts or graphs or objects might help your audience understand and retain the information (Jessica Ladd in the TED Talk in the previous section uses charts effectively to make statistics understandable). Statistics and research typically are included as initial supporting evidence for each main point. A particularly shocking or surprising statistic might be used as a hook in the introduction.

The final type of supporting material is testimony. A testimony is an endorsement or point of view from a person who is credible and connected to your topic. Most speeches will include  expert testimony from someone who is authoritative on the topic to add weight to your points. Peer testimony comes from a non-expert who has direct experience on your topics and is relatable to your audience. A speech about the treatment of type 1 diabetes might include expert testimony from medical professionals and other experts in the field of diabetes treatment. The experience of a family member who has type 1 diabetes but is not a medical expert is an example of a peer testimonial, where an ordinary person has firsthand experiences or points of view on the topic. Your roommate’s experience and opinions would provide a more personalized view about diabetes treatment.  Personal testimony  is when you use your own firsthand experience as support for a particular viewpoint. Like peer testimony, personal testimony is not very generalizable; it speaks to a particular case, but does not represent the experience of others.

Expert testimonials will add credibility and weight to your main points. Peer or personal testimonials add specificity and personalization. In your speech, the testimonial might be presented as a short quote if the source’s wording is especially meaningful or powerful. However, in most cases, you will paraphrase the testimony in your own words to keep the tone and style consistent with your speech. In either case, make it clear that the information came from someone else, and indicate verbally if you are quoting them.

Great speeches benefit from a balance and variety of supporting material. Too many numerical statistics can be overwhelming to an audience, but simply supporting a speech with an example is not adequate. Aim to weave a variety of types of supporting evidence throughout your speech to create an interesting and tightly researched presentation.

  • Wikipedia contributors. "Exhibit (legal)." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 27 May. 2019. Web. 8 Oct. 2020. ↵
  • American Bar Association. “How Courts Work.” https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_related_education_network/how_courts_work/juryinstruct/ ↵
  • Atkinson, R.C. and Shiffrin, R.M. (1968). “Human Memory: A Proposed System and its Control Processes.” In Spence, K.W. and Spence, J.T. The psychology of learning and motivation, (Volume 2). New York: Academic Press. pp. 89–195. ↵
  • Courtroom Trial with Judge. Authored by : Wannapik. Located at : https://www.wannapik.com/vectors/31064 . License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Doodling. Authored by : BelmontSpeechLab. Located at : https://youtu.be/91YaCI21aa4 . License : Other . License Terms : Standard YouTube License
  • The reporting system that sexual assault survivors want | Jessica Ladd. Provided by : TED. Located at : https://youtu.be/orumugzJpt0 . License : Other . License Terms : Standard YouTube License
  • Supporting Materials. Authored by : Susan Bagley-Koyle with Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution

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63 Why Supporting Materials are Needed

Learning Objectives

After studying this chapter, the student will be able to:

  • Explain why supporting materials are necessary.
  • List the various types of verbal supporting materials.
  • Discuss supporting material strengths in explaining and proving ideas and arguments.
  • Incorporate supporting materials seamlessly into the speech.
  • Use supporting materials ethically through correct citation.
  • Explain how perception and attention affect the speech-giving process.

Why Supporting Materials are Needed

As mentioned in previous chapters, preparing to give a presentation is not a totally linear process. It would be nice if the process was like following a recipe, but it loops back and forth as you move toward crafting something that will effectively present your ideas and research. Even as you practice, you will make small changes to your basic outline, since the way something looks on paper and the way it sounds are sometimes different. For example, long sentences may look intelligent on paper, but they are hard to say in one breath and hard for the audience to understand. You will also find it necessary to use more repetition or restatement in oral delivery.

Therefore, although this is the seventh chapter in the book, it deals with some concepts that we have already been thinking about in Chapters 2-6. Specifically, this chapter is about supporting materials: what they are, what they do, and how to use them effectively. But you have already been thinking about how to support your ideas when you were researching and crafting a central idea and main points. Supporting material also relates directly to Chapter 9, presentation aids. Whereas presentation aids are visual or auditory supporting materials, this chapter will deal with verbal supporting materials.

Using your supporting materials effectively is essential because we crave detail and specifics. Let’s say you are discussing going out to eat with a friend. You suggest a certain restaurant, and your friend makes a comment about the restaurant you have not heard before or don’t accept at face value, so you ask in some way for explanation, clarification, or proof. If she says, “Their servers are really rude,” you might ask, “What did they do?” If she says, “Their food is delicious,” you might ask what dish is good. Likewise, if she says, “The place is nasty,” you will want to know what their health rating is or why she makes this statement. We want to know specifics and are not satisfied with vagueness.

Supporting material can be thought of as the specifics that make your ideas, arguments, assertions, points, or concepts real and concrete. Sometimes supporting materials are referred to as the “meat” on the bones of the outline, but we also like to think of them as pegs you create in the audience’s mind to hang the ideas on. Another even more useful idea is to think of them as pillars or supports for a bridge (Figure 7.1). Without these supports, the bridge would just be a piece of concrete that would not hold up once cars start to cross it. Similarly, the points and arguments you are making in your speech may not hold up without the material to “support” what you are saying.

Of course, as we will see in this chapter, all supporting materials are not considered equal. Some are better at some functions or for some speeches than others. In general, there are two basic ways to think about the role of supporting materials. Either they

  • clarify, explain, or provide specifics (and therefore understanding) for the audience, or
  • prove and back up arguments and therefore persuade the audience. Of course, some can do both.

You might ask, how much supporting material is enough? The time you are allowed or required to speak will largely determine that. Since the supporting materials are found in the subpoints of your outline (A, B) and sub-subpoints (1, 2, etc.), you can see clearly on the outline how much you have and can omit one if time constraints demand that. However, in our experience as public speaking instructors, we find that students often struggle with having enough supporting materials. We often comment on a student’s speech that we wanted the student to answer more of the “what, where, who, how, why, when,” questions and add more description, proof, or evidence because their ideas were vague.

Students often struggle with the difference between “main idea” and “supporting idea.” For example, in this list, you will quickly recognize a commonality.

Butter Pecan

Of course, they are popular flavors of ice cream. The main idea is “Popular Flavors of Ice Cream” and the individual flavors are supporting materials to clarify the main idea; they “hold” it up for understanding and clarification. If the list were:

Honey Jalapeno Pickle
Banana Split
Wildberry Lavender

you would recognize two or three as ice cream flavors (not as popular) but #2 and #5 do not seem to fit the list (Covington, 2013). But you still recognize them as types of something and infer from the list that they have to do with ice cream flavors. “Ice cream flavors” is the general subject and the flavors are the particulars.

Those examples were easy. Let’s look at this one. One of the words in this list is the general, and the rest are the particulars.

Emotion is general category, and the list here shows specific emotions. Here is another:

  • Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer.
  • Pets who live in states with high rates of spaying/neutering live longer.
  • Your pet’s health is positively affected by being spayed or neutered.
  • Spaying lessens the increased urge to roam.
  • Male pets who are neutered eliminate their chances of getting testicular and prostate cancer.

Which one is the main point (the general idea), and which are the supporting points that include evidence to prove the main point? You should see that the third bullet point (“Your pet’s health is positively affected . . .”) would be a main point or argument in a persuasive speech on spaying or neutering your pet. The basic outline for the speech might look something like this:

  • Spaying or neutering your pet is good for public health.
  • Spaying or neutering your pet is good for your pet’s health.
  • Spaying or neutering your pet is good for your family’s life and budget.

Of course, each of the four supporting points in this example (“helps uterine cancer in female pets, “etc.) cannot just be made up. The speaker would need to refer to or cite reliable statistics or testimony from veterinarians, researchers, public health organizations, and humane societies. For that reason, here is the more specific support, which you would use in a speech to be ethical and credible. Notice that the italicized sections in this example Main Point use statistics and specific details to support the claims being made and provides sources.

  • Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats, as found in the online article “Top Ten Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet,” written in 2015 and posted on the website for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
  • According to Natalie DiBlasio, writing for USA Today on May 7 of 2013, in Mississippi, the lowest-ranking state for pet longevity, 44% of the dogs are not neutered or spayed.
  • She goes on to say that other issues affecting pet longevity have to do with climate, heartworm, and income of owners.
  • The Human Society of America’s website features the August 2014 article, “Why You Should Spay/Neuter Your Pet,” which states that spaying lessens their urge to roam, exposure to fights with other animals, getting struck by cars, and other mishaps.
  • Also according to the same article, male pets who are neutered eliminate their chances of getting testicular and prostate cancer.

With all the sources available to you through reliable Internet and published sources, finding information is not difficult. Recognizing supporting information from the general idea you are trying to support or prove is more difficult, as is providing adequate citation.

Along with clarifying and proving, supporting materials, especially narrative ones, also make your speech much more interesting and attention-getting. Later in the chapter we will look at the various “factors of attention” that are related to supporting material. Ultimately, you will be perceived as a more credible speaker if you provide clarifying, probative (proof-giving and logical), and interesting supporting material.

having the quality or function of proving or demonstrating something; affording proof or evidence

Exploring Communication in the Real World Copyright © 2020 by Chris Miller is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Regardless of whether your presentation is going to be delivered formally, such as at work or informally, for a club or perhaps a Best Man's speech. You should always aim to give a clear, well-structured delivery.  That is, you should know exactly what you want to say and the order in which you want to say it. 

Having thought about and planned a good structure will also help to alleviate any nervousness you may be feeling in the build up to your talk.

Clarity of ideas and good organisation should help result in a lively, logical and compelling message, delivered in a confident and professional way

Organising the presentation material may include:

  • Blue Sky Thinking (the ideas).
  • Selecting the main points.
  • Deciding whether to illustrate.
  • Introduction and conclusion.

Blue Sky Thinking (The Ideas)

Keeping your objectives in mind ( see our page: Preparing Your Presentation ), write down all the points you wish to make, irrespective of order.

For an introduction to Blue Sky Thinking, see our section on Brainstorming - part of our guide to problem solving.

Select Your Main Points

The talk/presentation should be divided into three sections:

  • Introduction (beginning)
  • Main Content (middle)
  • Conclusion (end)

A useful structure would be the following:

Tell the audience in the introduction what your subject is and how you have organised the presentation (by stating the key elements).

Then tell them the details of the key elements and/or messages (by expanding and qualifying the key points in more detail and providing supporting evidence).

Then tell the audience what you have just told them (by summarising the key points, concluding with the main subject again).

Work on the main content first.

From your notes decide on the most important things that need to be said. If you have too much material, be selective.

As a guide:

3 key points are sufficient for a 10-15 minute presentation.

6 key points are sufficient for a 30 minute presentation.

8 key points are sufficient for a 45 minute presentation.

Arrange the key points in logical order and expand them with supporting material - discussion, argument, analysis and appeal.  If you are hoping to persuade people then it is advisable to address potential objections within the presentation so that you present a reasoned, well-balanced view.

Decide Whether to Illustrate

Most talks benefit from personal anecdotes, real-life situations or hypothetical examples to bring them to life. 

If the presentation is short and informal it is probably not necessary to use any visual aids.  Use visual illustrations if anything requires expanding, clarifying or simplifying.  Illustrations of any type should be relevant and fully explained.  Bear in mind that a talk will last longer if visual aids are used.

PowerPoint or other presentation software is often used to support a presentation, although care needs to be taken to ensure that this technology aids the presentation and does not detract from the main essence of your talk. Do not use visual aids or PowerPoint just for the sake of it or to show off your technological prowess, there is nothing more distracting than whizzy and pointless PowerPoint animations in a presentation.

See our page: Visual Aids for more information.

Introduction and Conclusion

The introduction should give a preview of what you are going to say and should gain the attention of the listeners with a statement of purpose.  Make it clear whether you wish to accept questions as they arise during the presentation, thereby breaking your flow and risk being side-tracked, or will invite questions at the end.

The conclusion should repeat the main points but this time try to use different words and summarise the main point and argument.   End decisively, so that no-one is in any doubt that your presentation is finished. This is also the time to ask the audience whether they have any questions.

Continue to: Writing Your Presentation Working with Visual Aids

See also: Deciding the Presentation Method | Managing the Presentation Event Coping with Presentation Nerves | Dealing with Questions


Visual Aids In Presentations: The Complete Guide

explain the materials used to support your presentation

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Published Date : August 21, 2020

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A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. Using visual aids in presentations helps you pass a lot of information in a relatively shorter time. With the right visual aids, you can create the desired impact that you want your presentation to make on your audience. Learning how to use visual aids effectively will boost the quality of your presentations. We discuss some of the top visual aids in our recent YouTube video :

Visual Aid Definition

What are visual aids? Well, simply put, visual aids are things that your listening can look at while you give your speech or presentation. Visual aid mainly appeals to the audience’s vision more than any other sensory organ.

Why use visuals for presentations?

retention of information using visual aids

There is no such thing as a perfect speech . However, there are ways to make a presentation that is closer to perfection. What are they? Simple: Visual aids. Visual aids can bring life back into a tedious speech , and they take less time to come up with than long notes. In this article, we discuss how you can use visual aids effectively and conquer an audience. Before that, we discuss how visuals can help you achieve a better presentation.

They help you structure your work

Using the right types of visual aids can help you create a perfect picture of what you want your audience to see in your presentations. Instead of struggling to condense a lot of information into a long text, you can present your information in one straightforward image or video and save yourself the stress.

It is easier to engage the audience.

An excellent visual setup can help you elicit audience interest and sometimes their input in the presentation. When the audience is engaged, they tend to be more interested in the presenter’s work. Also, an interactive audience can boost your morale and give you some encouragement.

You save time on your presentation.

When presenting, time is of the essence. So, you can effectively reduce your presentation time if you have useful visual aids, and use them properly. Would you prefer to go on and on for minutes about a topic when you can cut your speech down by inserting a few images or videos?

What are visual aids?

A visual aid is any material that gives shape and form to words or thoughts. Types of visual aids include physical samples, models, handouts, pictures, videos, infographics, etc. Visual aids have come a long way to now include digital tools such as overhead projectors, PowerPoint presentations, and interactive boards.

types of visual aids

Different Types Of Creative Visual Aid Ideas To Awe Your Audience

Have you ever been tasked with making a speech or a presentation but don’t know how to make it truly remarkable? Well, visual aid is your answer.

Giving a presentation or speech is hard. You have to strike a balance between persuading or informing your audience while also maintaining their attention. The fear of your audience slipping away is very real. And a visual aid can help.

We sent out a survey to the Orai community to vote for their preferred visual aid. Here are the top ten creative visual aid ideas that you could use in your next presentation:

Videos emerged as the clear winner in all our surveys. We ran these surveys on all our social handles and reached out to successful speakers. 27.14% of all respondents prefer visual aids because they are easy to understand, can be paused during a presentation, and can trigger all sorts of emotions. That being said, it is also very tough to create good videos. However, there are more and more tools available to help you create amazing videos without professional help.

Hans Rosling’s TED talk, titled ‘the best stats you have ever seen,’ is one of the best speeches we have seen.  He uses video pretty much for the speech ’s entirety while not diverting the audience’s attention away from him. He does all this while also bringing out some optimism for the future of the world. We highly recommend this TED talk to learn how to use videos effectively as a visual aid and inject some positivity into your lives during these trying times.

2. Demonstrations

Demonstrations, also known as demos, are undoubtedly among the most effective visual aids available to you for communication. You can use demonstrations in two ways. One as a hook to captivate your audience. Prof. Walter Lewin was famous for using demonstrations as a hook during lectures. In his most famous lecture, he puts his life in danger by releasing a heavy pendulum to show that a pendulum’s period remains constant despite the mass. 

Demonstrations also can be used to show how some things are done or how some things work. We use demonstrations to showcase how Orai works and how you can use them to improve your speaking skills.

18.57% voted for demonstrations because they are unique, interactive, up close, and have a personal touch.

3. Roleplays

Jokes aside, why do you think comedy shows are memorable? You guessed it right. Roleplays! Role – play is any speaking activity when you either put yourself into somebody else’s shoes or when you stay in your shoes but put yourself into an imaginary situation! 

Nothing is more boring than a comedian delivering lines straight out of a joke book.  Legendary comedians like George Carlin, Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, and Bill Burr use roleplays effectively and makes a mundane joke genuinely memorable. 

Jokes aside, you can use roleplays in business presentations as well as speeches. Use real-life stories or examples in your role plays to make them authentic. 

15.71% of the survey respondents voted for Roleplays because it is very close to real life and does not take the audience’s attention away from the speaker.

With 12.86% of the votes, Props is number 4 on the list. A prop is any concrete object used in the delivery of a speech or presentation. Props add another dimension to our speech and help the listeners visualize abstract concepts like vision, milestones, targets, and expectations. It ties verbal to visual. That being said, introducing a prop into your speech or presentation should not seem forced. Use them sparingly to highlight the most critical points or stories in your address.

People voted for props because they feel that 3D visualization is much more useful than 2D visualizations. Props will make your presentations stand out because very few people use them today.

When we sent out the survey to the Orai community and some highly successful speakers, we were sure that slides/presentations come out on top. However, we were surprised by the results. With 12.86% votes, slides are number five on our list.

Presentations are effortless to create and, therefore, the most commonly used visual aid in business communications. Today, there are dozens of software programs available to help you make beautiful presentations. Microsoft PowerPoint is the pioneer in the space and continues to hold a significant market share.

Whatever is your preferred software, you need to keep your audience at the center while making presentations.

People described the ease of creation and the ability to incorporate other visual aids when asked why they chose presentations as their top visual aid.

The inclusion of Audio to this list can appear controversial. But it got a significant vote share in our survey and cannot be ignored. Audio can add a new dimension to your presentations where the audience is hearing your voice and other sound cues that can trigger various emotional responses. Especially when coupled with other visual aids, audio can be a powerful tool for making impactful presentations.

Audio aid is number six on our list, with 4.29% of the votes.

7. Handouts

What is a handout.

A handout is a structured view of your presentation or speech that you can distribute amongst the audience.

What are the benefits of a handout?

Like how this blog gives more information than our YouTube video on the different visual aids, handouts can be used to furnish more information than your discourse itself. They give your audience something to take away after your presentation, making you and your presentation more memorable. 

Are you going to be speaking about something overly technical? Then handouts are your friends. Handouts are also an opportunity to facilitate follow-ups if you specify your contact details. 

Vote share:

Handouts are tied with whiteboards and got 2.86% of the votes in our survey.

8. Physical & Online Whiteboards

What is a whiteboard.

Traditionally, whiteboards are white, shiny, and smooth boards on which texts and diagrams are made using non-permanent markers. It is widely used in professional presentations, brainstorming sessions, and group discussions. Post-COVID, more and more companies are moving to online whiteboards. Online whiteboards are software that provides a space where individuals across the globe can collaborate online. Many companies have already moved beyond the whiteboard and started using online whiteboards for their meetings and discussions.

What are the benefits of a whiteboard?

A whiteboard helps listeners better visualize thoughts, concepts, and ideas. It is also a better alternative to the blackboard for a smaller audience as it is tidier and easier to use. Online whiteboards can be used instead of traditional whiteboards without being limited by space constraints. Online whiteboards will transform virtual meetings into a collaborative experience.

With 2.86% of the votes, whiteboards stand at number 8 on our list.

9. Blackboard

What is a blackboard.

Blackboard (aka chalkboard) is a surface on which texts or diagrams are made using chalk, made out of calcium sulfate or calcium carbonate. Blackboards are typically used in classrooms for large groups of students. 

What are the benefits of blackboards?

Blackboard is one of the foremost and most popular teaching aid. Blackboard is useful for teaching as it helps instructors move from easy to complex topics in an organized manner. Diagrams, symbols, charts, and drawings can be introduced between a discourse to bring life to rather dull topics. Blackboards are highly interactive, where both the teacher and students can participate during a speech . 

With 1.43% of the vote share, blackboard stands at the bottom along with flipcharts.

10. Flipchart

What is a flipchart.

Flipcharts consist of a pad of large sheets of paper bound together. It is typically fixed to the upper edge of a whiteboard or canvas. Flipcharts are easy to create and inexpensive fit for small groups of people.

What are the benefits of presenting using a flipchart?

Nowadays, everybody seems to be only interested in making presentations that are powered by computer-generated slide decks. However, the flip chart has its charm. Since most presentations consist of less than ten people, flip charts can be a refreshing change to the standard slide deck. Moreover, flipchart does not require electricity. No electricity and no software means less of those last-minute hick-ups. 

Flipchart got 1.43% of the vote and shared the bottom position with its counterpart, which we will discuss in the next section.

Master the art of speech , practice with Orai

How to make an informative speech with visual aids in presentations

If you have a presentation coming up soon, you can follow the instructions below to learn how you can take advantage of visual aids: 

Determine your overall objective

The aim of your presentations depends on you, what information is being presented, and your audience. The motivational speaker and the classroom teacher may approach the same types of visual aids differently due to differences in overall objectives. For instance, if you aim to inspire and remind your audience of salient points, a poster template should serve well, infographics work well when you are trying to show relationships between complex information. A chart will be quite effective if you seek to explain a given set of data.

Choose appropriate visual aids in presentations

After identifying the overall aim of your presentation, you have to match it with the right visual aids example. Will a graph, picture, or video suffice?  

If you are using the PowerPoint Presenter, ensure you focus mainly on the media that best conveys your message. Make sure that the notes you add a bold and brief. Try to keep your sentence in one line of text.

retention of information by medium

Prepare thoroughly 

You will spend some time preparing your visual aids before the day of your presentation. It is good to allow yourself enough time to prepare so you can perfect your work accordingly. Take note of when, where, and how you are going to use your visual aids. If you discover some inconsistencies, you can compensate for them by adjusting your choice or use of visual aids in presentations.

After you have a final draft of your visual aids, run a series of sessions with them. Let your friends or colleagues be your audience and ask for their honest feedback. Make appropriate adjustments where necessary.

During presentation

First, you need to be comfortable and confident. A neat and appropriate dressing should boost your confidence . Follow the tips below during presentations.

  • Keep your face on your audience. It may help to look a little above their heads while presenting.
  • Only point to or take the visual aid when needed. When you do, explain what you mean immediately.
  • Do not read texts on your visual aids verbatim.
  • Once a visual aid has served its purpose, you should keep it away from your audience’s view.

If you need more help with boosting your confidence , we have written a detailed piece on how to conquer your fear of speaking in front of people.

What is the importance of using visuals in giving a presentation?

Visual aids in presentations are invaluable to both you and the audience you hope to enlighten. They make the job way easier for you, and the audience leaves feeling like they learned something. Apart from their time-saving abilities, here are some reasons why you need to incorporate visual aids in your presentations:

  • Visual aids can help your audience retain the information long-term. 
  • The human brain processes images faster than text, so visuals make us understand things faster
  • Using visual aids makes your presentations more enjoyable, interactive, and memorable
  • Visual aids help your audience connect and relate with you better
  • Presentations with visual aids are less likely to be misunderstood or misrepresented. They are usually easier to understand and leave little room for confusion
  • Visual aids are great for people with learning disabilities
  • Visual aids act as key cards and pointers for the presenter and help you keep track of what you’re saying

how well people retain information on presentation

What are the ideas for speech topics using visual aids?

  • Use a picture or image that closely represents the topic. A one-hundred-dollar note can suggest topics revolving around money and finances
  • Use a chart showing trends or statistics that your audience finds appealing. You can use popular sayings or quotes to generate topics your audience can relate to.
  • Newspaper headlines on related issues can be good starters for opinion-based topics.

The visual aid definition is very clear on how much impact using visual aids in public speaking has on an audience. With a great selection of visual aids, you can transform your presentations into a pleasant experience that you and your audience will always look forward to.

Become a confident speaker. Practice with Orai and get feedback on your tone,  tempo, conciseness , and confidence .

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5 powerpoint skills leaders need for engaging presentations in 2024.

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To effectively engage remote and on-site teams and stakeholders, you need to be more intentional ... [+] about the delivery and style of your PowerPoint presentations

Death by PowerPoint. It's the all-too familiar boredom we experience at the quarterly review meeting, the monthly stakeholder catch-up, or the all-hands meeting. Why is nearly every organization proverbial for this meeting calamity? Death by PowerPoint has become the butt of jokes across social media; employees are criticizing protracted meetings, and endless rows of text on nearly every page of the slide deck while the speaker rants interminably. It makes their brains switch off and either fall asleep, or do something...let's say, a little more productive.

Do you really want to be that kind of leader in 2024? The one whose meetings and presentations everyone dreads? The one that takes an elaborate length of time to talk through an entire presentation, only to be asked a load of questions at the end when you went to extreme lengths to answer these questions in the slides already? In essence, do you want to be a leader who fails to connect and engage with your audience, whoever they might be?

Let's take a look at five skills you need to master so you can craft and deliver slide decks that capture the attention, engage those who are present in your meetings, and gain their buy-in:

Visual Storytelling

They say a picture paints a thousand words. Are your slides showing a story? It is indeed possible to say more through photos and other visuals such as easy-to-read graphs, than through chunky paragraphs that take up one slide. It's refreshing on the eye, and helps your audience to follow the narrative with you. It also adds to the emotion and overall buy-in. For example, imagine how different it would be to say that this year, your department achieved a 35% increase in sales revenue, as opposed to using a graph to visually depict the difference in sales revenue when compared to last year.

How Samsung’s Galaxy S24 Ultra Will Change Smartphones Forever

Sec issues sudden warning as bitcoin etf race primes crypto for a 17 trillion earthquake boosting the price of ethereum xrp and solana, appeals court skeptical of trump s immunity claims in jan 6 criminal case.

Additionally, many key concepts that would take three or four paragraphs to write on one slide or more, can actually be conceptualized and reimagined via a bright and colorful infographic, using design items to make it pop without being too distracting.

You can even experiment with using animations and dynamic Excel charts to present data and complex information in a way that is easily digestible for various levels of stakeholders unfamiliar with your area of expertise.

PowerPoint offers the capability to incorporate multiple design and media elements, which you can ... [+] use to target an audience with varied interests, learning styles, and levels of expertise

Incorporate Multimedia

Don't restrict yourself to one form of delivering information with your PowerPoint. People are wired to digest information differently. According to educational site VARK , the originators of the VARK learning style model, most people fall into one of four learning style categories: visual, aural, read/write, and kinesthetic (hence the acronym VARK). To effectively gain the engagement of your entire meeting group, try to use different media elements to accomplish this objective, and be creative with your presentation. Incorporate short embedded video clips, photos, and even sound effects for some humor.

Understand Basic Design Principles

Slide deck creation platforms such as PowerPoint offer a range of features to spruce up your presentation, but it's essential to not overdo them and yield to the temptation to use a little bit of everything, or you risk distracting your audience with your content layout. At the same time, don't be too sparse. If you don't consider yourself to be much of a creative person or aren't too confident with your design skills, you can create your presentations to be sleek and attractive and make yours stand out from others by using features such as PowerPoint's Designer tool, which you can locate under the "Design" tab.

Keep It Short And Sweet

Less is more. Keep your slides to no more than a few words or short lines of text at a time, per slide, and expand on the details while delivering the presentation. Try to shorten the overall number of slides you intend to use for the whole meeting. This leads to the final point:

Master Public Speaking

Practice to master the art of public speaking. Get into the habit of using your slides as a bullet point to jolt your memory of what to say next, instead of falling into the trap of depending on the slides and reading them out verbatim.

Stop reading your slides in verbatim and add something of interest to your presentation that does ... [+] not appear on the screen

Your delivery style matters, just as much as the content of your presentation. PowerPoint is a tool that gives you the advantage to increase engagement within your meetings, and present and highlight concepts, stats, and other data in a meaningful way, but only when you follow the steps above to deliver it well.

Rachel Wells

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