Conclusion, Review Questions, and Activities


This chapter addresses both the role and value of using visual aids, including slideware, objects, audio and video clips, and demonstrations. They should be used only when they help to clarify or enhance your spoken words or will help your audience remember your message.

Be sure that any visual aid you use adds to what you are saying. Slides should be brief, easy to understand, and complement your message. Objects and slides should not be revealed before you begin talking about them, lest your audience become distracted from your point. Remember that people cannot read your slides or handouts at the same time as they are listening to you.

When designing slides make sure they are clear and visible to the entire audience. Contrasting colors with consideration for common color blindness should be used. Screen- friendly fonts of sufficient size to be read from the back of the room are extremely important. Avoid clutter on your slides and leverage the power of white space, aiming always for simplicity and impact.

Practice your presentation with your visual aids, remembering to allow time for your audience to read any new text you present. Be prepared to continue in a professional manner should your visuals falter or fail. The ease with which you implement your visuals and move past any problems demonstrates your professionalism and bolsters your credibility.

Effective selection, design, and implementation of visual aids will increase your audience’s attention and help to vanquish “death by PowerPoint.” It will make you and your message clearer and more memorable, which will help you to achieve your primary goal: an audience that understands and connects with your message.

Review Questions

  1. Other than slides, list three types of visual aids that can be used in a presentation and give an example of each.
  2. What are the ways that visual aids can benefit a presentation? Harm a presentation?
  3. Describe the benefits of white space in design.
  4. Explain the different purposes and content of handouts as compared to slide shows.
  5. List and explain two considerations when using color in your slides.
  6. Discuss the pros and cons of having a large amount of text on a slide.


    1. Using the data below, design 3 different types of charts/graphs to effectively display data from this table. Which is most effective and why?
      City Median Home Cost Median Household Income Unemployment Rate
      Richmond, Virginia $218,900 $38,266 6.90%
      Asheville, North Carolina $201,300 $39,408 8.50%
      Durango, Colorado $302,400 $53,882 7.00%
    2. Design 6 different slides that express the following “The USDA study indicated that in 2010, 17.2 million households in America had difficulty providing enough food due to a lack of resources.” (From
      Which slide most clearly gets your point across and why?
    3. Identify as many problems as you can in the slide on the right. Then re-design the slide to more effectively communicate the message.
Slide for Question 3

“Slide for Question 3” by Public Speaking Project. CC-BY-NC-ND.