Week 4 Discussion – Using Presentation

Learning Objectives Covered

  • LO 04.01 – Define and discuss six types of presentation aids and their purposes

Career Relevancy

Using visual aids to enhance a presentation is a good choice but knowing how to do so effectively can take some practice. As you sharpen your public speaking skills for your career, you will need to know how to incorporate visuals and other presentation aids in ways that enhance your presentation instead of taking away from it.



As discussed earlier in this course, having compelling words to speak sometimes is not enough to be a truly effective speaker. Body language can send a message different from the words you are speaking, and so can failing to incorporate presentation aids appropriately. First, we should define what presentation aids are. A presentation aid is any type of device that helps you further drive home the point of your speech. Presentation aids can include PowerPoint slides, images, video clips, charts, graphs, sound bites, objects used as examples, and live demonstrations.

The purpose of your speech often determines which aids are used and how. For example, it is much more effective to show a graph that illustrates a decline in sales than to simply state that a company has lost profits for its last four consecutive fiscal years. Similarly, if speaking to persuade others positively about climate change, a visual that compares images of a shoreline in present day to what it looked like 10, 15, or even 25 years prior will leave your audience with a better grasp of the impact such a phenomenon can have (in this case, it also goes a long way in proving your credibility). If making a case about the dangers of not wearing protective gear while riding a motorcycle, a speaker might choose to share photos of the outcome other riders have been met with who were not wearing protective gear.

Using presentation aids effectively is a balancing act. As with any good infomercial or advertisement, any props used should serve a specific purpose and emphasize the points you are making to your listeners. It can be easy to miss the mark though, especially when trying to account for technical hurdles, limited resources, or other unforeseen circumstances. If sharing photos, be sure they are displayed in color and their resolution is high enough to show the detail you need. If using videos, cue them up before you begin speaking so that they are loaded and ready. Be sure to verify that all of the presentation aids you use are authentic; nothing hurts a presentation more than referencing outdated information or doctored imagery. It is also a good idea to preview the space you will be using before a speaking engagement comes up so that you can get a better sense of the tools at your disposal. If you want to incorporate a pamphlet or handout, verify the number of audience members you are expecting so that you can have enough materials prepared to share.

Be sure to avoid having your presentation aids overtake your presentation. Whether slides, a video clip, or a poster board, the presentation aid is not the presentation itself. First and foremost, you are the presentation, and the aids should merely assist you in making your points. Do not incorporate so many aids that listeners could lose focus on you. Do not allow aids to disrupt your message. Lastly, choose aids that are appropriate for the occasion. While it may sound excellent to wow a crowd with a visually appealing video, if you do not have a means for projecting the video to the room, you might consider leaving it out. Do not bring small objects to hold if you are presenting to a large group. You will risk losing the attention of your listeners if only some of them are able to get the full effect of your presentation aids.

Selecting presentation aids can be challenging, but this challenge should not deter you from using aids. As you consider what props might help you get your point across, keep in mind that practicing with your presentation aids can only help improve your speech and make you more comfortable when it comes time to execute.


Identify three presentation aid types and discuss one advantage and one disadvantage to using each. Be sure to account for details such as audience size or speaking occasion as you explain your reasoning.

For your citation, you might use articles that show examples of presentation aid types. You can also find articles from experts that suggest advantages and disadvantages to using different types of presentation aids.

Your initial and reply posts should work to develop a group understanding of this topic. Challenge each other. Build on each other. Always be respectful but discuss this and figure it out together.

Reply Requirements

Per the Due Dates and Participation Requirements for this course, you must submit 1 main post of 150+ words, 1 IWG citation, and reference, as well as 2 follow-up posts of 50+ words. Responses can be addressed to both your initial thread and other threads but must be your own words (no copy and paste), each reply unique (no repeating something you already said), and substantial in nature. Remember that part of the discussion grade is submitting on time (20%) and using proper grammar, spelling, etc. (20% per post).