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Visual Aids to the Rescue!

Updated: May 20, 2021

"Something is happening. We are becoming a visually mediated society. For many, understanding of the world is being accomplished, not through words, but by reading images." - Paul Martin Lester

Visual aids are an effective way of supporting and supplementing any speech or presentation. They can increase the audience's understanding of your topic, explain points, make an impact and create enthusiasm.

There are many purposes for using visual aids, for instance, you may want to summarize information, reduce the amount of spoken words, clarify and show examples. You can also use visual aids to create more of an impact, emphasize what you're saying to make a point memorable. Most speakers use them to make something easier for the audience to understand.

Here is a list of common visual aids, and quick tips for using them effectively:

1 PowerPoint slides

Your slides should present main points as short sentences and bullet points and should never be read verbatim by the speaker or presenter.

2 Diagrams, graphs and charts

They should always coincide with what is being said in the speech. Always stand to the side of a diagram, graph or chart while facing the audience.

3 Handouts

Handouts are paper copies of your presentation that you give to the audience. They should be passed out to an audience before or after a presentation to avoid wasting time and causing a distraction.

4 Physical objects and props

They should not be too large or too small, nor too few or too many. They should always be relevant to the presentation or speech and should always be checked prior to taking the stage to make sure they are working properly.

Operating a visual aid while giving a speech can be challenging. Hence, before your presentation, ensure that you practice with your visual aids so you know how to operate the equipment. If something goes wrong you'll have a better chance of solving the problem.

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