Audiovisual aids can support your message in a presentation. However, their use varies across disciplines. For example, while it’s unusual for a philosophy presentation to have visual support, in many science and design disciplines it is essential to use technology and/or visual support, such as digital or physical models.
Most assignments will allow you to use PowerPoint or other presentation software, such as Prezi or Google Slides. If you do use these, keep in mind their advantages and pitfalls.
If you use visual aids, make sure you’re using each one for a clear purpose and make reference to them in your presentation. For example, you may use them to:
Make sure the visuals are clear, legible and relevant to your point.
If you use PowerPoint or other presentation software, there are some standard tips to follow.
Paper handouts are useful for information that people may need to look at later, such as your contact details or a summary of the key points. You can also use them for dense information which won’t fit on slides, such as the list of references, extended data, tables or figures.
Try to give handouts at the end or limit the amount of information it contains, as this will take some attention away from what you’re saying.
If you’re using equipment for the first time, go to the location of your presentation beforehand and practise. For example, make sure you know how to operate the projector screens, visualiser and lights. Also find out if the projector will already be on, or if you’ll need to switch it on and wait for it to warm up.
The University’s ICT Helpdesk provides both telephone support and online help videos for using the audiovisual equipment on campus.
This material was developed by the Learning Hub (Academic Language and Learning), which offers workshops, face-to-face consultations and resources to support your learning. Find out more about how they can help you develop your communication, research and study skills.
See the handout on Oral presentations (pdf, 3.2MB).