The power of your slides or audiovisual aids can be a potent enhancement to your public or professional speaking presentation. However, like all power, when this is in the wrong hands, things can turn ugly!
Your speaking is the main event. Any AV additions that you use must not detract from you or your presentation. Always ask yourself if every slide, sound clip, video etc. is supporting the delivery of the fundamental message that you wish to leave with your audience. You should not have to compete with your slides for the attention of your audience. Here are the most important rules for using AV with your presentations:
1. Keep it simple: don’t have too much technology as it simply become overbearing. Too many bells and whistles come across like a restaurant covering up low-quality food with heavy sauce. Let your message shine and don’t cloud it out with too much glitz.
2. Keep the numbers down: powerful speakers use less slides and enhancements. Each audiovisual use must emphasise the key points of your message. If you’re clicking to a new slide on every sentence, your presentation will look less like a professional presentation and more like Fred and Martha’s “trip to France” slide show circa 1977.
3. Make it fun: use AV to do what you as a speaker cannot – audio clips of other speakers or music, video clips, or imagery like a clear graph that truly is ‘worth a thousand words.’
4. Know how to use it: if you’re uncomfortable with any technology, keep it out of your presentation. The general rule is that you are a complete package simply as a speaker. If adding a power point presentation throws you off your game and reduces your confidence, keep it out!
5. The “Snooze, yawn” Rule: Never cut and paste your text into your visual presentation. Well, go ahead and put your text up there if you’re trying to get your audience to ignore what you’re saying and fall asleep. Otherwise, see Rule 3 and use “visual” aids for pictures and images.
There are many great programs, apps and technologies available to us that can help to make your message more easily and clearly received by your audience and will make your presentation more exciting and more memorable. Use this power wisely, Grasshopper.