Visual Aids

Visual aids are used to enhance your speech.  However, sometimes a speaker needs to spend much time determining what types of visual aids they can use.  Most people think that visual aids are just pictures, however, it is important to remember that not all visual aids are pictures, some times you will use words as a visual aid.  So remember, there are many different types of visual aids that you can use in a speech.

Let’s take a closer look at visual aids.  I want you to think back to elementary school, remember show and tell.  The object of show and tell is to bring something in to class and explain it to your classmates.

Why did you have to bring the object in?  Why couldn’t you just explain it?
Why did you have to explain your object?  Why couldn’t you just show it?

Answering these simple questions will help you understand the role visual aids are supposed to play in your speeches.

When choosing visual aids, there are a couple of things you need to consider: clarity, interest, and retention.  Visual aids should only be chosen if they will increase clarity, add interest, or aid in retention.

clarity: will the visual aid help the audience understand more
interest: is the visual aid appealing, one that will bring the audience into your speech
retention: will the visual aid help the audience remember your speech after your speech has concluded

Once you understand the role of visual aids, you need to practice with your visual aids and recognize that there are certain things a speaker needs to do when using visual aids to ensure they are not a distraction.

If you are using PowerPoint- Great tips!

General Tips for using Visual Aids

1. Do not use the chalkboard as a visual aid.

2. Prepare your visual aids in advance.

3. Write large enough, legible, and in a color that is visible to the audience.

4. Use color to bring the visual aid to life.

5. Display visual aids so the audience can see them.

6. Display the visual aid only when you are referring to it but long enough for them to understand it.

7. Talk to the audience not your visual aid.

8. Do not pass visual aids around the room. No handouts!

9. Do not bring babies or animals in as visual aids.

10. Explain all of your visual aids clearly and concisely.

11. Limit the number of visual aids.  Just enough so that you can refer to all of them.

12.   If you are using technology, have a plan B in case the equipment fails.

13.      Practice with your visual aids!

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