1. Prepare Visual Aids in Advance
This ensures that you have the time to craft quality visual aids that truly improve and add to the message of the speech. Also, having your visual aid done in advance allows for its use in practicing your speech. Often times mistakes are made during the speech because the speaker did not practice with their visual aid. This takes away from your credibility and thus the effectiveness of the visual aid.
2. Keep visual aids simple
In order to keep things clear and understandable, it is best to include in your visual aid only what is necessary to get the message across. It is meant to be a visual aid, not a visual distraction or cause of confusion.
3. Make sure Visual Aids are large enough
Keep in mind where you will be presenting so that you make sure the text is big enough to read!
4. Use fonts that are easy to read
Hopefully this one goes without saying: if it is hard to read, it does neither you nor the audience any good. It is best to aim for clarity.
5. Avoid passing Visual Aids among the audience
This is simply a main cause of distraction and will give rise to your audience reading instead of listening. If you must pass out a pamphlet or information of some sort it is best to wait until the end of your speech.
6. Display Visual Aids only while discussing them
This prevents your audience from focusing on the visual aid even though you've moved on in your speech.
7. Talk to your audience NOT your visual aid
It is already to glance at it periodically, this encourages your audience to look at it as well as they will follow your gaze as well as give you a chance to refresh your memory. Though it is important to keep the audience as your focus. This gives them more cause to keep paying attention to your explanation of the visual aid and also allows for you to gauge how the aid is coming across.
8. PRACTICE with your Visual Aid
It cannot be stressed enough. As the use of powerpoint is now the norm we see many committing the common mistakes these tips will help you avoid. If you've gone through all the motions you'll be better prepared to handle a technical error and will also have a better chance at a smooth transition to and from your visual aid.
Prepared by GVSU Speech Lab Consultants
Information adapted from Stephen Lucas' The Art of Public Speaking, Tenth Edition.