La Trobe University Library La Trobe Library


La Trobe University Library La Trobe Library


La Trobe University Library La Trobe Library



Presentation aids

There are many types of visual aids you can use in your oral presentation. Below are some types of visual aids and tips on their usage.


  • If your visual aid requires technology then check the room facilities before your presentation (Do you need a laptop? Is there internet connection? Where are the computer connections? How do they work?)
  • Does the data projector work? How does it turn on and off? How does it connect to your computer or laptop?
  • Is there a whiteboard? Will you need whiteboard markers and erasers?
  • Remember to still speak to your audience and not the screen or visual aid you are using. If possible get a team member or someone to help with the technology so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Preparing effective PowerPoint slides takes time. Here are a few things to think about when preparing your slides:

  • Keep text to a minimum on each slide (often one key idea per slide).
  • Use bullet points.
  • Use headings and sub-headings.
  • Ensure formatting is consistent between slides (especially important if different students are contributing slides to the presentation).
  • Select images and graphics carefully. Too many images may overwhelm the audience.
  • Keep your design simple.
  • Be careful with the use of colour. The slides need to be clear and easy to follow.
  • Check font size is readable.
  • Always proofread slides for spelling and grammar.
  • Ask your friends for feedback.


  • Don’t spend all your time on producing PowerPoint graphics. If your talk is poor, no amount of fancy graphics will save it!
  • Keep text to a minimum on each slide or the audience will read and not listen.
  • Slow down for visual material – images, diagrams, graphs, video clips, etc. – they take time to absorb.

Further resources

View this video (~ 9 min) with some excellent advice on how to design PowerPoint slides.

  • How to design an effective presentation
  • Prezi is an alternative to PowerPoint. Prezi is a great visual aid software that enables you to create animated presentations. You can find official Prezi tutorials of varying length by following the links below.

    Some presenters like to use small cards with notes on them in case they forget what they need to say. Here are some tips about the use of notes.

    1. Cards should be brief.

    Remember you need to be able to glance down quickly to see what you want to say. Some students write lots on their cards and end up reading to the audience. Watching someone read is not interesting.

    2. Notes should be on one side only.

    3. Each card should include an opening statement, key words, and key facts.

    Key words will help you to remember the content of the slides. Choose words that work for you!

    4. Cards should be numbered.

    If you drop them it’s easy to put them back in order and find where you were up to.

    5. Numbers should be placed in the same place of each card.

    Handouts can be a good idea but consider the following:

    1. What will you include on your handout?

    • Your PowerPoint slides?
    • Discussion questions?
    • Activities for the session?
    • Your references so people can follow up later?

    2. When will you distribute the handout? Before or after?

    3. How many copies will you need? Who will do the photocopying?

    Many teaching rooms have whiteboards and they can be useful in presentations. Things to think about if using a whiteboard:

    • You will have to turn your back on the audience and break your eye contact.
    • Do not talk while your back is turned. Finish writing, then turn back to the audience.
    • Writing on the board can be time-consuming.
    • Bring the right pens and make sure they work.
    • Writing will need to be large and neat.