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9: Presentation Aids in Speaking

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    Learning Objectives

    After reading this chapter, the student will be able to:

    • List and explain reasons why presentation aids are important in public speaking and how they function;
    • Describe the various computer-based and non-computer-based types of presentation aids available to the students;
    • Explain the correct use of various types of presentation aids;
    • Design professional-looking slides using presentation software.

    • 9.1: What are Presentation Aids?
      Presentation aids are the resources beyond the speech itself that a speaker uses to enhance the message conveyed to the audience. The type of presentation aids that speakers most typically make use of are visual aids: pictures, diagrams, charts and graphs, maps, and the like. Audible aids include musical excerpts, audio speech excerpts, and sound effects. A speaker may also use fragrance samples or food samples as olfactory (sense of smell) or gustatory (sense of taste) aids.
    • 9.2: Functions of Presentation Aids
      While it is true that impressive presentation aids will not rescue a poor speech, it is also important to recognize that a good speech can often be made even better by the strategic use of presentation aids. Presentation aids can fulfill several functions: they can serve to improve your audience’s understanding of the information you are conveying, enhance audience memory and retention of the message, add variety and interest to your speech, and enhance your credibility as a speaker.
    • 9.3: Types of Presentation Aids
      Let’s look at the most common types of visual aids: charts, graphs, representations, objects/models, and people.
    • 9.4: Using Presentation Slides
      In some industries and businesses, there is an assumption that speakers will use presentation slides. They allow visualization of concepts, they are easily portable, they can be embedded with videos and audio, words can dance around the screen—why wouldn’t a speaker use them? You will probably also be expected to have slide presentations in future assignments in college. Knowing how to use them, beyond the basic technology, is vital to being a proficient presenter.
    • 9.5: Low-Tech Presentation Aids
      One reason for using digital media is that they can’t be prone to physical damage in the form of smudges, scratches, dents, and rips. Unlike posters and objects, presentation software can be kept professional looking if you have to carry them through a rainstorm or blizzard. However, there are times when it makes sense to use “low-tech” media for presentations. Here are some directions for those times.

    9: Presentation Aids in Speaking is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Kris Barton & Barbara G. Tucker.

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