Preparing and Using Visual Aids 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 224 During the speech, keep the screen above the participants' heads. Be sure it's in full view of the participants. Make sure you're not blocking anyone's view when presenting. Darken the room appropriately by blocking out sunshine and dimming nearby lights. Turn off the screen between slides if you plan to talk for more than a couple minutes. Keep in mind that no audience member should be farther from the screen than six times the width of the image. Talk to the audience, not to the screen. Use a pointer to emphasize points, but don't use it as a crutch or wave it wildly. Photographs Photographs can be visually stunning and can provide exquisite details and descriptions. As a bo- nus, they're also relatively inexpensive to produce. Make sure that the pictures you use are of high quality. Consider cropping (removing) extraneous details that would distract from your point. Your photo-finisher can do this easily. Mount your pictures on sturdy boards to make them easier to display. Be sure the photographs are large enough to be seen clearly from all parts of the auditorium. Display the photographs on an easel for maximum impact. Slides As with photographs, use only high-quality slides. If you're a skilled photographer, take the slides yourself. If you have any doubts, buy the slides you need or have someone skilled prepare the slides for you. It's worth the time and trouble: Amateurish slides look tacky and can harm your presentation. Remember that slides require a darkened room. Be sure that you can adequately darken the room before you give your speech. Slide experts maintain that the room must be completely dark to achieve the maximum effect. Obviously, this makes it difficult--if not impossible--for people to take notes. It also moves the focus from the speaker to the slides, which is not your desired aim. I rec- ommend that you merely dim the lights, which will work fine for your purposes. Before the speech, run through your slide show to make sure the projector works and that the slides are in the proper order. Tape down the projector cord so no one trips over it. And be classy: Use a screen instead of the wall. Videotapes Videotapes provide dramatic, effective visual images and are very easy to use, which is why they're popular with audiences and speakers alike. As with films, though, stick with prepared videotapes unless you're skilled with a video camera. Be sure to check the videotape before you use it to make sure that it's in good shape. Also be sure that the TV screen can be seen easily by all members of the audience--even those in the back rows. Read over these additional guidelines for using videotapes: 1. 2. 3. 4. Before the presentation, be sure the videotape is rewound and at the starting point. Check to make sure that the playback machine and the monitor are playing properly. Check this before the session so that you may replace the machine if it is not working properly. Check the audio level and contrast. The lights should be dimmed but not off.