Improving engagement, comprehension, and memory of your presentation can be accomplished by using sensory enhancements, or visual aids.
Sensory enhancements allow the audience members to break up the presentation into memorable chunks that are more easily understood than if the presentation had not included visual aids.
1a. Improving Listener Engagement through Sensory Enhancements
Listeners will be more engaged if you understand your audience and tailor your sensory enhancements to them.
EXAMPLEIf you are presenting to a group that may have a shorter attention span, such as teenagers or young adults, you will want to use sensory enhancements with pictures and colors rather than additional text.
Visual aids help audience members follow the structure and flow of your presentation. They will also help audience members pay attention, as it is easier to engage with visuals rather than simply with words.
Use engaging anecdotes, quotes, and examples as a part of your visual aid. Stories and quotes help to break up your presentation, and will also help audience members to maintain their engagement in your presentation. Outlining these stories in your visual aids will help the audience remember and apply these stories.
1b. Improving Listener Comprehension through Repetition and Sensory Enhancements
Listener comprehension can be greatly improved through repetition, as it allows the audience to mentally rehearse and process information a second time, both visually and audibly.
This is most effective when a sensory enhancement is used as a method of repeating an idea.
EXAMPLEIf a speaker uses a story to explain a concept and has a visual aid related to the story, the audience member will process both the visual aid and the story, and will be more likely to understand the concepts the speaker is presenting.
1c. Improving Listener Memory through Sensory Enhancements
Sensory enhancements are also a powerful way of enhancing the memory of your audience. This is accomplished through the repetition of the information presented to the audience member.
If a speaker discusses the idea and then uses a visual aid to help the audience understand that idea, the audience member will think about and process this idea twice rather than just once. This will result in the audience member being more likely to remember the idea.
Similarly, a visual aid will act as a cue for the audience to remember a story or concept that the speaker is explaining. The visual cue will more easily remind the audience of the concept than a simple explanation in words.
Source: Boundless. "Improve Listener Engagement, Comprehension, and Memory." Boundless Communications Boundless, 17 Mar. 2017. Retrieved 1 Jun. 2017 from https://www.boundless.com/communications/textbooks/boundless-communications-textbook/preparing-and-using-visual-aids-16/the-value-of-sensory-enhancements-81/improve-listener-engagement-comprehension-and-memory-309-10674/