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Use aids to enhance the presentation

Well-selected aids can dramatically enhance a presentation. However, too often we rely on a word-based PowerPoint presentation. While well-produced slides can reinforce and illustrate your message, a lengthy PowerPoint can be a distraction or even add confusion. If your slides merely repeat your spoken words, you lose impact.

Images will appeal to the more visual audience members.

Designing presentation slides

Your visual aids should meet the following criteria:

  • Big – They should be legible for everyone and should be “back row certified.” The font should be no smaller than 22 points.
  • Clear – Your audience should “get it” the first time they see it. Use only keywords and one idea per slide.
  • Simple – They should serve to simplify the concepts they illustrate. Never put more than six points on a slide. Avoid clutter.
  • Consistent – They should reinforce continuity by using the same visual style. Black on white in sentence case is the easiest to read. However, colour can add to your presentation. Use complementary and consistent colours and styles.
  • Visual – A well-chosen image will have more impact than lots of words. Use charts and graphs to present data.

Other aids


Some audience members will want more technical information which is not appropriate to present to all. Have handouts ready to distribute for complex explanations, specifications and so on.


Touching and feeling is a great way to increase the interactivity of the presentation. If a prop is relevant and adds value to the presentation, it is recommended.


Prototypes are good when you are developing a new product or process. If there is time, it’s great to engage people by asking them to test and give feedback.

Using visual aids

  • Make a connection between your words and the aid
  • Speak to the audience, not the aid
  • Bring in props or prototypes if appropriate – they can lead to greater interaction, and people love the hands-on feel
  • Provide a handout if relevant – give it out after the presentation as not to distract
  • If using video, keep it short – no more than 2 minutes and make sure you have audio connected
  • Have hard copies of your presentation to give out after you have finished and/or as a backup plan in the case of technology failure.

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