Maximize impact with visual aids

August 1, 1997

Pharmaceutical Representative

When using visual aids in presentations, it's important to remember to pace yourself.

When using visual aids in presentations, it's important to remember to pace yourself.

Don't speed through the visuals. People remember almost twice as much of what they see and hear as what they only hear. Photos, graphs, drawings, charts and bullet points projected on screen can help your presentation come to life and hold your audience's attention.

When a visual appears on screen, your audience feels physically compelled to look at it. Give them time! You may have seen these graphs and bullet points a hundred times but they're new to your audience. Help them along by reading the words, explaining the pie chart on the drawing and answering the questions that arise.

Pacing visual information is as important as pacing any other part of your presentation. To get your timing right, look first at the visual in silence. Then, reference the part of your visual you want your listeners to look at. Next, face the audience and look at one person. Then begin speaking to that person. Look back at the visual as often as you need to, but don't talk to the pie chart!

The benefit of this technique is that it forces you to pause. Pausing gives you time to look at the audience and check their reactions. Pausing gives you time to think. Pausing regulates your breathing and your rate of delivery. And purposeful pauses communicate confidence and authority.

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