by Colleen Kettenhofen

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series
of small things brought together.”
Vincent van Gogh

The purpose of audio-visual aids is to enhance your message. One way of enhancing your presentation skills is learning the appropriate use of visual aids. Do not use them unnecessarily as they will serve more as a barrier between you and your audience. For example, when speakers use slides too frequently, it distracts the audience away from the presenter, the message, and dilutes their very purpose. As a general rule, no more than 1 slide per minute. For example, in a 30 minute presentation, use an absolute maximum of 30 slides. Even that can be excessive. Yet when used effectively, PowerPoint slides are a wonderful tool to help explain difficult concepts. Research illustrates it’s easier to remember pictures and symbols better than words.

As a rule, add some sort of “spice” every 6 to 8 minutes to add variety to your presentation. This serves to keep the audience awake, interested, and focused on your message. Examples of “spice” using visual aids would include slides, showing a portion of a video, writing on a flip chart, or some type of sound segment. Most importantly, you want your visual aids to be relevant, efficient and related to your purpose.

For further details on visual aids and public speaking skills, see other FREE presentation skills articles on this site at such as:

  • 4 Fabulous Tips for Flip Charts…Guaranteed!
  • 3 Rules for PowerPoint Slides
  • Knowing Your Audience
  • How to Effectively Use Handouts: 2 Time Tested Techniques
  • Visual Aids: What Works Best and Why
  • 12 Tips to Practice When Speaking in Public
  • Rehearsing with visual aids…Why it’s Imperative!
  • 4 tips for flip charts and why they’re effective
  • 10 Simple Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills
  • 9 Rules for Effective Visual Aids

November 10, 2005

You are free to reprint or repost this article for use in your newsletters, association publications, or intranet provided Colleen Kettenhofen’s contact information (name, website, and email) is included with the article. Colleen Kettenhofen is a Phoenix, Arizona motivational speaker, trainer, & co-author of “The Masters of Success ,” featured on NBC’s Today Show, along with Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield. For free articles, video clips, and e-newsletter, visit Colleen’s area of expertise are leadership, managing people, life balance, difficult people, presentation skills. Colleen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions and seminars.


She can be reached at contact information listed below:

Colleen Kettenhofen

(971) 212-0479


Please let us know how you plan to use this article or send an electronic tear sheet.