Public Speaking: The Different Kinds of Visual Aids

When giving a speech it can be quite a nerve-wracking experience. Often times people will try to gain their audience’s attention by using visual aids in their speeches. This helps keep the audience interested while at the same time helping them understand the subject matter easier. There are many different types of visual aids and in this article I would like to describe to you 10 of the most prominent types of visual aids and how they can be used.

Objects ~ Bringing the object of your speech to class can be an excellent way to clarify your ideas and give them dramatic impact. If your specific purpose is “to inform my audience how to choose the right ski equipment” why not bring the equipment to class to show your listeners.

Models ~ If the item you want to discuss is too large, too small, or unavailable, you may be able to work with the model. One student, a forensic science major, use a model of the human skull to show how forensic scientists use a bone fragments to reconstruct crime injuries. Another used a scaled down model of the hang glider to illustrate Different techniques of hang gliding.

Photographs ~ In the absence of an object or model, you may be able to use photographs. They will not work effectively, however, unless they are large enough for the audience to view without straining their eyes. Normal-size photos are too small to be seen clearly without being passed around-which only diverts the audience from what you’re saying. The same is true of photo graphs-in books

Drawings ~ Diagrams, sketches, and other kinds of drawings are inexpensive to make and keep. They can be designed to illustrate your points exactly. This more than compensates for what they lack in the realism.

Graphs ~ Audiences often have trouble grasping a complex series of numbers. You can ease the difficulty by using graphs to show statistical trends and patterns.

Transparencies ~ Photographs, drawings, and graphs can all be converted into transparencies. Transparencies are inexpensive, easy to create, and produce strong visual images.

Charts ~ Charts are useful for summarizing large blocks of information. One student in a speech titled “The United States: a nation of immigrants,” used a chart to show the leading regions of the world for U.S. immigrants.

Video ~ If you’re talking about the impact caused by low speed automobile accident what could be more effective than showing slow motion video of crash tests, or suppose you are explaining the different kinds of roller coasters found in amusement parks your best visual aid would be a video showing those coasters in action.

Multimedia Presentations ~ Multimedia presentations allow you to integrate a variety of visual aids-including charts, maps, photographs, and video-in the same talk.

The Speaker ~ Sometimes you can even use your own body as a visual aid, by illustrating how a conductor directs an orchestra, revealing the secrets behind magic tricks, or by showing how to perform sign language, and so forth.

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