Even if you are a confident, seasoned speaker, you still
need to connect with your audience with terrific content and
visual aids. Knock Ďem dead with your words and the visual
aids you use in order to truly have audiences on the edge
of their seats!
How can you get a crowd of hungry or tired conference attendees interested
in your presentation? How can you stand apart and be remembered out of a series
Be daring and different. Seek untraditional methods to relate your information.
Investigate all your options and all resources. Never rule anything out.
Supplement Your Presentation with the Internet's Help
The Internet has a wealth of information that presenters
can use Ė many of it is free.
Charts, graphs and other statistics can be found easily by using various Internet
search engines (Yahoo.com and Lycos.com are two good ones) for sites related
to your topic.
Many Web sites exist that offer speakers a variety of visual aids to download
or print. Sometimes itís as easy as printing a list of hot tips; other times
you may want to use more high-tech animation or purchase equipment.
Web sites offer "Shareware" Ė allowing you to sample
a presentation graphic, sound bite, or other software. If
you like what you downloaded, after a certain time frame,
these Shareware developers expect to be compensated for their
product. Itís an unspoken rule.
Remember that some people are more auditory learners than visual. With this
in mind, look for interesting audio files on Web sites that you can incorporate
into slide shows. The more senses you can connect to with audience members,
the better your chances to captivate more people. The future of information
technology is directly connected to the Internet, and itís the best way for
presenters to have a global library of facts, figures, and graphics a mouse
click away. Many CD-ROM packages for sale offer presenters similar options to
what is found on the Internet.
Tad Simons, editor of Presentations magazine, cautions, however, "Presenters
who take information off of the Internet should be aware that copyright laws
apply to articles, pictures, audio files, and graphics on the Web as well. Just
because itís on the Web doesnít mean itís free for the taking Ė you need to
get permission from the copyright holder in order to reuse it, or else you could
be inviting a potential lawsuit."
Itís terrific to use exciting visual aids and unconventional graphics during
a presentation. The danger is to make sure you donít look like youíre just doing
a data dump or trying to use tricks to cover up a lack of relevant or informative
Options That Are Out There
Presenters have to carefully consider their audience, its needs, and the
overall objective of the speech before deciding which visual aids to use. If
you are presenting to a high-tech crowd, for example, using only a flip chart
simply wonít cut it.
Keep an open mind on these options:
Presentations magazine editor Simons says, "Itís all too easy to go overboard
on the nifty graphic options that come with PowerPoint. The key to using presentation
software in a sophisticated way is to boil down key concepts into an arresting
visual image Ė one that communicates what you are trying to say without creating
a lot of excess visual noise."
Itís important to remember that visual aids should not replace your content.
They are not supposed to be your notes or relate every idea that you are talking
about. Instead the visual aid is best used when it relates key points or concepts
to remember. Short statements or sentences that help audience members remember
and act upon your message are especially valuable to use.
Ultimately, the best thing to do is use a combination of the low-tech and high-tech
visual aid options Ė allowing you to connect better with audience members and
keep their attention riveted to you.
About Marjorie Brody
Reprinted from The Presenters University (www.presentersuniversity.com).
Article copyright 2000 Marjorie Brody, MA, CSP, CMC. Reputation
is everything and Marjorie Brody stakes her reputation on
enhancing yours. Marjorie is an internationally recognized
expert and motivational speaker on career enhancement and
corporate etiquette. Her message ignites the passion and purpose
of audience members to unleash their potential and polish
their skills, motivating them to move from ordinary to extraordinary.
She is author of 15 books, including Speaking is an Audience-Centered
Sport, Complete Business Etiquette Handbook and the four-booklet
series 21st Century Pocket Guides to Proper Business Protocol.
Marjorie can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or visit her Web site at www.marjoriebrody.com
1. John Kenneth Galbraith
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