How to Make a Visual Aid

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If you're giving a presentation to a group, it can be very worthwhile to make a visual aid. Visual aids help listeners stay engaged in your topic, and they can also be very helpful to viewers with a more visual learning style, who may be able to process and retain more information from your talk if they can also see it. There are many different types of visual aids that you can create, but a poster display is a relatively convenient type.

Things You'll Need

  • Poster or craft board
  • Craft knife
  • Glue
  • Photos, charts and other images related to your project
  • Ruler, pencil and markers
  • Colored paper (optional)

Determine the major themes of your presentation. These are important to incorporate in a visual aid, because this is what you want viewers to walk away remembering. Jot down several concise statements or general themes that you would like the group to remember.

Choose images. In order for a visual aid to be interesting, it should include images as well as text. Images could include photos demonstrating the things you're discussing, graphs illustrating your points or simple illustrations. Make sure the images are large and simple enough to be seen at the distance your audience will be.

Draw one or two vertical lines on the back of your board, separating it into two or three panels. Score each line with a craft knife (don't cut through) and fold the board along these lines. It should now be able to stand alone on a table.

Experiment with arranging your text and images on the panels of your visual aid. Try to place the images under the most relevant text. Carefully print the text directly on the board with a pencil, or print out large-font computer text.

Check the visual impact of your display. You don't want to pack in so much visual information that it's distracting, but if your visual aid looks a little lackluster, consider adding some color, such as a larger backing sheet under the images or a simple border.

Glue the images and text strips in place, and use markers to go over any pencil marks you want to keep. Make everything bold enough to be seen from a distance.

Tips & Warnings

  • Of course, a computer presentation is another great type of visual aid if you will have access to a computer projector, but the poster-type, low-tech visual aid is appropriate in more situations.
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