Reliance on Visual Aids in Presentations
When most schoolchildren are asked to give a presentation today, they probably turn immediately to creating a PowerPoint or similar slideshow. They pick a pretty background for their slides, stick an image on a few of those slides and fill the rest with endless bullet points. When the time comes to actually give that presentation, the student stands at the front of the room and reads the PowerPoint bullets. This is perfectly acceptable for a person’s first presentation, it is not how an executive should present to shareholders or a college student should be defending their senior capstone project. Unfortunately, most people have forgotten how to do a presentation that is not heavily reliant on visual aids like PowerPoint.
Visual aids should enhance the presentation, not be the presentation itself. When visual aids essentially are the presentation, they distract people from focusing on the presenter and allow for the presenter to get away with essentially reading off a slide or screen.
A transcript of a person’s speech can also count as a visual aid. When giving a speech, a person is best served to have notecards or a list of bullet points that will help them stay on track, but they should not be reading their speech word for word off a piece of paper. It is usually abundantly obvious when a person is doing this, and it is painfully boring for a person who is listening. Like every other form of communication, perfecting public speaking skills requires a person to actually practice public speaking. Most people would prefer to lose the ability rather than get up repeatedly and speak in front of a crowd.