Skip to content

Ask a Speaker: How should I use visual aids and powerpoint when doing public speaking?

May 26, 2013

speaker panel

The “ask a speaker series” consists of a series of posts, each one designed to answer a common problem people face when speaking in public. We ask our top speaking experts, with almost a century of public speaking experience between them, how it’s done.

Visual aids can be a powerful demonstrative tool, but they can also really get in the way. Our top speakers gave us their view on how to use images and objects for demonstrative effect.

George Jerjian (Marketing Professional, Past President 2001-2):

Sparingly. Why? because it can be a distraction to your message and can send the audience to sleep. Many speakers use Powerpoint to help them remember their script. The downside is that your audience can read it too, so why are you repeating it? Obviously there are situations where visual aids and Powerpoint are essential, but it requires knowledge and then practice so that the delivery is smooth and seamless. I would strongly recommend training for how to present Powerpoint and then use it sparingly. One picture is worth a thousand words is a good ratio.

Vaughan Evans (Strategy Consultant, Member since 1990):

Visual aids – for dramatic effect.  Powerpoint – don’t! – that’s for presentations, not speeches.

David West (Retired Benefits Consultant, Toastmaster for over ten years):

Some of the best speeches use no visual aids so think carefully do I need them? If you are talking about figures then a visual display (pie chrt / graph etc.) is essential. but keep it simple. Also use pictures if you can instead of words – the words are coming from you speaking and the picture on the screen is to reinforce the image not just repeat it in writing., e.g., if you are talking about pollution a photo of seabirds dying in an oil slick could underline your point.  Equally you can use cartoons for humour. Sometimes you can’t get away from bullet points but keep them short and to the point,  if people can read your speech on a screen why bother to lisSome of the best speeches use no visual aids so think carefully do I need them? If you are talking about figures then a visual display (pie chrt / graph etc.) is essential. but keep it simple. Also use pictures if you can instead of words – the words are coming from you speaking and the picture on the screen is to reinforce the image not just repeat it in writing., e.g., if you are talking about pollution a photo of seabirds dying in an oil slick ten to you? Finally remember don’t stand between the projector and the screen!

Jakub Pawlowski (National Speech Competition Runner Up, London Division Governor of Toastmasters International):

I’ve seen very few presentations which benefited from Powerpoint slides. And I’ve seen a lot which were made worse and more boring because of it. As a general rule: remember that as the presenter you’re the most important part of your presentation, not the slides! Don’t put there something which you are going to say anyway. Powerpoint is a visual aid so use it for images, not bullet points.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Have you got a question to ask our panel. Feel free to post any questions in the comments below, or contact us at Londoncorinthians@gmail.com with your public speaking related questions.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: