Monthly Archives: December 2007

Visual Aids

Most presentations are lead by slides not the presenter.

The main problem lies in the confusion between “notes” and “visual aids”. Slides are visual aids. They should not serve as notes. Therefore, a presenter need at least two sets of documents for a presentation:

  1. Visual aids (in the form of slides and/or videos and/or images)
  2. Notes (as a road map to know what to say and in what order)

I often get challenged on the “notes” part. Some presenters, veteran included, think that having a set of notes make one look weak.

The reply comes from veteran pilots. No matter how many million kilometers flown, a pilot will always have a checklist. Would you fly on a plane knowing that a pilot doesn’t have a checklist? Likewise any PR person should not send the CEO to any presentation without a set of notes.

Furthermore, a set of notes prevents the presenter from getting lost in a flash of brilliance which, though potentially interesting, has nothing to do with the message.

Notice the pilot checklist on the cockpit

Notice the pilot checklist on the cockpit