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Visual Aids In Presentations: The Complete Guide

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A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. Using visual aids in presentations helps you pass a lot of information in a relatively shorter time. With the right visual aids, you can create the desired impact that you want your presentation to make on your audience. Learning how to use visual aids effectively will boost the quality of your presentations. We discuss some of the top visual aids in our recent YouTube video:

Top Visual Aid

Visual Aid Definition

What are visual aids? Well, simply put, visual aids are things that your listening can look at while you give your speech or presentation. Visual aid mainly appeals to the audience’s vision more than any other sensory organ.

Why use visuals for presentations?

retention of information using visual aids
Source: PropelGrowth

There is no such thing as a perfect speech. However, there are ways to make a presentation that is closer to perfection. What are they? Simple: Visual aids. Visual aids can bring life back into a tedious speech, and they take less time to come up with than long notes. In this article, we discuss how you can use visual aids effectively and conquer an audience. Before that, we discuss how visuals can help you achieve a better presentation.

They help you structure your work

Using the right types of visual aids can help you create a perfect picture of what you want your audience to see in your presentations. Instead of struggling to condense a lot of information into a long text, you can present your information in one straightforward image or video and save yourself the stress.

It is easier to engage the audience.

An excellent visual setup can help you elicit audience interest and sometimes their input in the presentation. When the audience is engaged, they tend to be more interested in the presenter’s work. Also, an interactive audience can boost your morale and give you some encouragement.

You save time on your presentation.

When presenting, time is of the essence. So, you can effectively reduce your presentation time if you have useful visual aids, and use them properly. Would you prefer to go on and on for minutes about a topic when you can cut your speech down by inserting a few images or videos?

What are visual aids?

A visual aid is any material that gives shape and form to words or thoughts. Types of visual aids include physical samples, models, handouts, pictures, videos, infographics, etc. Visual aids have come a long way to now include digital tools such as overhead projectors, PowerPoint presentations, and interactive boards.

types of visual aids
Source: eztalks

Different Types Of Creative Visual Aid Ideas To Awe Your Audience

Have you ever been tasked with making a speech or a presentation but don’t know how to make it truly remarkable? Well, visual aid is your answer.

Giving a presentation or speech is hard. You have to strike a balance between persuading or informing your audience while also maintaining their attention. The fear of your audience slipping away is very real. And a visual aid can help.

We sent out a survey to the Orai community to vote for their preferred visual aid. Here are the top ten creative visual aid ideas that you could use in your next presentation:

1. Videos

Videos emerged as the clear winner in all our surveys. We ran these surveys on all our social handles and reached out to successful speakers. 27.14% of all respondents prefer visual aids because they are easy to understand, can be paused during a presentation, and can trigger all sorts of emotions. That being said, it is also very tough to create good videos. However, there are more and more tools available to help you create amazing videos without professional help.

Hans Rosling’s TED talk, titled ‘the best stats you have ever seen,’ is one of the best speeches we have seen.  He uses video pretty much for the speech’s entirety while not diverting the audience’s attention away from him. He does all this while also bringing out some optimism for the future of the world. We highly recommend this TED talk to learn how to use videos effectively as a visual aid and inject some positivity into your lives during these trying times.

2. Demonstrations

Demonstrations, also known as demos, are undoubtedly among the most effective visual aids available to you for communication. You can use demonstrations in two ways. One as a hook to captivate your audience. Prof. Walter Lewin was famous for using demonstrations as a hook during lectures. In his most famous lecture, he puts his life in danger by releasing a heavy pendulum to show that a pendulum’s period remains constant despite the mass. 

Prof. Walter Lewin’s Lecture

Demonstrations also can be used to show how some things are done or how some things work. We use demonstrations to showcase how Orai works and how you can use them to improve your speaking skills.

18.57% voted for demonstrations because they are unique, interactive, up close, and have a personal touch.

3. Roleplays

Jokes aside, why do you think comedy shows are memorable? You guessed it right. Roleplays! Roleplay is any speaking activity when you either put yourself into somebody else’s shoes or when you stay in your shoes but put yourself into an imaginary situation! 

Nothing is more boring than a comedian delivering lines straight out of a joke book.  Legendary comedians like George Carlin, Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, and Bill Burr use roleplays effectively and makes a mundane joke genuinely memorable. 

Jokes aside, you can use roleplays in business presentations as well as speeches. Use real-life stories or examples in your role plays to make them authentic. 

15.71% of the survey respondents voted for Roleplays because it is very close to real life and does not take the audience’s attention away from the speaker.

5. Props

With 12.86% of the votes, Props is number 4 on the list. A prop is any concrete object used in the delivery of a speech or presentation. Props add another dimension to our speech and help the listeners visualize abstract concepts like vision, milestones, targets, and expectations. It ties verbal to visual. That being said, introducing a prop into your speech or presentation should not seem forced. Use them sparingly to highlight the most critical points or stories in your address.

People voted for props because they feel that 3D visualization is much more useful than 2D visualizations. Props will make your presentations stand out because very few people use them today.

4. Slides

When we sent out the survey to the Orai community and some highly successful speakers, we were sure that slides/presentations come out on top. However, we were surprised by the results. With 12.86% votes, slides are number five on our list.

Presentations are effortless to create and, therefore, the most commonly used visual aid in business communications. Today, there are dozens of software programs available to help you make beautiful presentations. Microsoft PowerPoint is the pioneer in the space and continues to hold a significant market share.

Whatever is your preferred software, you need to keep your audience at the center while making presentations.

People described the ease of creation and the ability to incorporate other visual aids when asked why they chose presentations as their top visual aid.

6. Audio

The inclusion of Audio to this list can appear controversial. But it got a significant vote share in our survey and cannot be ignored. Audio can add a new dimension to your presentations where the audience is hearing your voice and other sound cues that can trigger various emotional responses. Especially when coupled with other visual aids, audio can be a powerful tool for making impactful presentations.


Audio aid is number six on our list, with 4.29% of the votes.

7. Handouts

What is a handout?

A handout is a structured view of your presentation or speech that you can distribute amongst the audience.

What are the benefits of a handout?

Like how this blog gives more information than our YouTube video on the different visual aids, handouts can be used to furnish more information than your discourse itself. They give your audience something to take away after your presentation, making you and your presentation more memorable. 

Are you going to be speaking about something overly technical? Then handouts are your friends. Handouts are also an opportunity to facilitate follow-ups if you specify your contact details. 

Vote share:

Handouts are tied with whiteboards and got 2.86% of the votes in our survey.

8. Physical & Online Whiteboards

What is a whiteboard?

Traditionally, whiteboards are white, shiny, and smooth boards on which texts and diagrams are made using non-permanent markers. It is widely used in professional presentations, brainstorming sessions, and group discussions. Post-COVID, more and more companies are moving to online whiteboards. Online whiteboards are software that provides a space where individuals across the globe can collaborate online. Many companies have already moved beyond the whiteboard and started using online whiteboards for their meetings and discussions.

What are the benefits of a whiteboard?

A whiteboard helps listeners better visualize thoughts, concepts, and ideas. It is also a better alternative to the blackboard for a smaller audience as it is tidier and easier to use. Online whiteboards can be used instead of traditional whiteboards without being limited by space constraints. Online whiteboards will transform virtual meetings into a collaborative experience.

Vote share

With 2.86% of the votes, whiteboards stand at number 8 on our list.

9. Blackboard

What is a blackboard?

Blackboard (aka chalkboard) is a surface on which texts or diagrams are made using chalk, made out of calcium sulfate or calcium carbonate. Blackboards are typically used in classrooms for large groups of students. 

What are the benefits of blackboards?

Blackboard is one of the foremost and most popular teaching aid. Blackboard is useful for teaching as it helps instructors move from easy to complex topics in an organized manner. Diagrams, symbols, charts, and drawings can be introduced between a discourse to bring life to rather dull topics. Blackboards are highly interactive, where both the teacher and students can participate during a speech

Vote share

With 1.43% of the vote share, blackboard stands at the bottom along with flipcharts.

10. Flipchart

What is a flipchart?

Flipcharts consist of a pad of large sheets of paper bound together. It is typically fixed to the upper edge of a whiteboard or canvas. Flipcharts are easy to create and inexpensive fit for small groups of people.

What are the benefits of presenting using a flipchart?

Nowadays, everybody seems to be only interested in making presentations that are powered by computer-generated slide decks. However, the flip chart has its charm. Since most presentations consist of less than ten people, flip charts can be a refreshing change to the standard slide deck. Moreover, flipchart does not require electricity. No electricity and no software means less of those last-minute hick-ups. 

Vote share

Flipchart got 1.43% of the vote and shared the bottom position with its counterpart, which we will discuss in the next section.

Master the art of speech, practice with Orai

How to make an informative speech with visual aids in presentations

If you have a presentation coming up soon, you can follow the instructions below to learn how you can take advantage of visual aids: 

Determine your overall objective

The aim of your presentations depends on you, what information is being presented, and your audience. The motivational speaker and the classroom teacher may approach the same types of visual aids differently due to differences in overall objectives. For instance, if you aim to inspire and remind your audience of salient points, a poster template should serve well, infographics work well when you are trying to show relationships between complex information. A chart will be quite effective if you seek to explain a given set of data.

Choose appropriate visual aids in presentations

After identifying the overall aim of your presentation, you have to match it with the right visual aids example. Will a graph, picture, or video suffice?  

If you are using the PowerPoint Presenter, ensure you focus mainly on the media that best conveys your message. Make sure that the notes you add a bold and brief. Try to keep your sentence in one line of text.

retention of information by medium
Source: Business and public speaking

Prepare thoroughly 

You will spend some time preparing your visual aids before the day of your presentation. It is good to allow yourself enough time to prepare so you can perfect your work accordingly. Take note of when, where, and how you are going to use your visual aids. If you discover some inconsistencies, you can compensate for them by adjusting your choice or use of visual aids in presentations.

After you have a final draft of your visual aids, run a series of sessions with them. Let your friends or colleagues be your audience and ask for their honest feedback. Make appropriate adjustments where necessary.

During presentation

First, you need to be comfortable and confident. A neat and appropriate dressing should boost your confidence. Follow the tips below during presentations.

  • Keep your face on your audience. It may help to look a little above their heads while presenting.
  • Only point to or take the visual aid when needed. When you do, explain what you mean immediately.
  • Do not read texts on your visual aids verbatim.
  • Once a visual aid has served its purpose, you should keep it away from your audience’s view.

If you need more help with boosting your confidence, we have written a detailed piece on how to conquer your fear of speaking in front of people.

What is the importance of using visuals in giving a presentation?

Visual aids in presentations are invaluable to both you and the audience you hope to enlighten. They make the job way easier for you, and the audience leaves feeling like they learned something. Apart from their time-saving abilities, here are some reasons why you need to incorporate visual aids in your presentations:

  • Visual aids can help your audience retain the information long-term. 
  • The human brain processes images faster than text, so visuals make us understand things faster
  • Using visual aids makes your presentations more enjoyable, interactive, and memorable
  • Visual aids help your audience connect and relate with you better
  • Presentations with visual aids are less likely to be misunderstood or misrepresented. They are usually easier to understand and leave little room for confusion
  • Visual aids are great for people with learning disabilities
  • Visual aids act as key cards and pointers for the presenter and help you keep track of what you’re saying
how well people retain information on presentation
Source: Slideshare

What are the ideas for speech topics using visual aids?

  • Use a picture or image that closely represents the topic. A one-hundred-dollar note can suggest topics revolving around money and finances
  • Use a chart showing trends or statistics that your audience finds appealing. You can use popular sayings or quotes to generate topics your audience can relate to.
  • Newspaper headlines on related issues can be good starters for opinion-based topics.


The visual aid definition is very clear on how much impact using visual aids in public speaking has on an audience. With a great selection of visual aids, you can transform your presentations into a pleasant experience that you and your audience will always look forward to.

Become a confident speaker. Practice with Orai and get feedback on your tone,  tempo, conciseness, and confidence.

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