Using Visual Aids
Visual aids can be powerful tools
for effective communication. You are encouraged to use them whenever they might
enhance a speech. Why use visuals? They have five important benefits:
- They increase understanding
Most of what people learn is ingested
through their eyes - not their ears. Visual aids help to convey messages
They save time
Information that is presented
visually is received and processes faster than a verbal message.
- They enhance retention
- They promote attentiveness
People think faster than you speak...
visuals help keep them focused on your message.
- They help control nervousness
Displaying visual aids gives you
purposeful physical activity that lets your body process nervous energy
without distracting the audience
Types of Visual Aids
Visuals range from simple handheld
objects to expensive multi-media extravaganzas. Your choice for a particular
speech should depend on several factors including:
- The information you want to convey,
- The size of the audience,
- The physical environment of the room,
- The equipment available to you,
- The time available to prepare visual aids,
- The amount of money you can afford.
The types of visual aids most commonly used include:
There are pros and cons
associated with using each of the above visual aids.
- Physical objects, props and models
- White boards,
- Charts and posters,
- Flip charts
- Overhead transparencies
- Computer presentations, e.g. Powerpoint.
Tips for Using Visuals Effectively
Adapted from Toastmasters International Communication
and Leadership Program manual.
- Make sure they are visible to the
* A good rule of thumb is one-half
inch for each ten feet between the visual and the farthest audience member
* Print neatly
* Display them high enough so that
all can see
* Avoid standing in front of them.
- Keep them simple
* Use a single visual to illustrate a
* Make diagrams and wording simple
* With overheads, no more than seven
lines and seven words/line.