How Visual Aids Undermine Displays - 3 Ways in which You Might Be Boring Your Audience to Tears
- By: Clementine Robertson
How do you know you have a presentation? I posed this question to a sales team I was operating with recently. One gentleman said, "If I win the business, I understand I've got a presentation." To that wonderful response I replied, "That's how you recognize you've got a smart presentation. How do you recognize, before you even arrive at the prospect's website, that you have a presentation?" Another gentleman offered, "Well if I have some PowerPoint slides that I will speak from, then I have a presentation."
The idea that visual aids equal a presentation could be a very common misconception. Visual aids are aids. They're not even necessary, usually. A presentation is the data, stories, statistics, quotes, and opinions that the presenter shares. Visual aids, if used, enhance the presenter's message, not the other way around. Anytime visual aids become the presentation and therefore the presenter becomes the help, you may probably be boring your audience to tears. Below are 3 specific examples of how this happens.
Words, Words, Words
The visual aids are nothing however the presenter's notes, which the presenter proceeds to scan from the screen to the audience. Imagine you are sitting in an audience watching for a presentation to begin. The presentation is scheduled for one hour. The presenter walks to the front of the area, clicks their clicker, and a large blue screen fills with a yellow, bulleted, run-on sentence that flies in from the left. For me, this is when dread sets in. Glaze is beginning to create over my eyes. Fog is rolling in on my brain. The battle to remain alert and appear interested has begun and it intensifies with every bullet that appears.
When visual aids say as much or additional than the presenter does, one of them is not necessary. Reading from wordy slides isn't only boring, however also insulting to an intelligent audience. Many presentations I've got suffered through would be additional economical, less stressful, and better received as memos, special reports, or CDs that the audience might scan individually on their own time. Unless the audience is taking notes, as during a coaching situation, wordy visual aids undermine a presentation. The purpose of a visual aid is to create the presentation more attention-grabbing not boring.
If your audience is thinking, "This can be the 762nd time I've seen that piece of clipart.", your visual aids are undermining your presentation. Similarly, if your audience acknowledges your visual aid background joined of the popular software templates, your visual aids are undermining your presentation. Graphics are the solution to the wordy visual aid problem discussed previously. But, freshness currently becomes the issue. Ideally, all visual aids would encompass simple, powerful, fascinating graphics. In point of fact, time and money may be constraints.
Let the character of the presentation dictate how far you will visit secure contemporary wanting graphics. For prime profile or high chance shows, more time, money, and effort ought to be placed on making visual aid graphics. My recommendation would be to have a graphic artist assist if talent isn't on the market internally. Examples of high profile, high opportunity shows embody the unveiling of a new product or service and sales presentations.
Just Like Everybody Else
If your visual aids fall into either of the previous two classes, Wordy or Tired Graphics, gift while not them unless the audience wants to take notes. As a result of most presenters use wordy or tired visual aids, audiences are conditioned to get bored at the first sight of a bullet. A bulleted list is sort of a timepiece on a chain that sways in front of the eyes chanting, "Sleep...sleep...sleep" I've got discovered that being contrarian and forgoing visual aids can actually make a presentation a huge success.
I used to be presenting to one hundred twenty salespeople at an annual conference. I used to be the sole non-industry, soft-topic presenter on the multi-day program. I arrived early and attended the presentation before mine. There have been two presenters standing on an elevated stage behind podiums with a large screen centered between them. The area was darkened as the PowerPoint slides clicked by. I surveyed the salespeople. Nobody was jumping out of their seat with excitement.
My host asked if I had any visual aids. I had PowerPoint slides but claimed that I had none which I would work from my handout. I asked them to turn all of the lights up and requested a wireless microphone. Simply turning the lights on had an enormous impact on the audience. I moved around freely and remarked the handout periodically so the salespeople would feel anchored and take notes. When the conference was finished, I was the best rated presenter. They invited me to come back immediately for the following year.
Visual aids are powerful. They will be the icing on your cake or the rain on your parade. To make sure visual aids don't seem to be undermining your presentation, use words sparingly and find fresh graphics. Even have the courage to present without, if your visual aids are not truly aiding you.
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Jeff Patterson has been writing articles online for nearly 2 years now. Not only does this author specialize in Presentation, you can also check out his latest website about
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