Key Elements of Visual Aids


 SIMPLICITY - Keep it simple. Your goal is to show what you cannot say. Remember that you have to be able to manage the visual aid and the speech. Do not be overcome by trying to run a multi-media presentation. This is a speech, not a lecture.


 SIZE - Visual aids must be large enough for your whole audience to see them at the same time. Handouts do not work as the audience’s focus shifts from you to what you have given them. They also create buzz and distraction as they are handed around.


 ATTRACTIVENESS - Visual aids must be visually interesting and recognizable in order to accomplish their effect. Poorly executed visual aids serve only to diminish your credibility as a speaker. All visual aids need to be “set up.” Do not expect that we will know what we’re looking at or what the context is. If their purpose could be interpreted in several ways, tell us why you are showing it to us. Video clips, photos, charts and graphs all need to be introduced and explained. Context is important.


 APPROPRIATENESS - Remember your audience and your purpose. Even very attractive and professional visual aids that do not relate well to your topic are unsuccessful for your purpose. Remember also, the class’ makeup and likely level of sensitivity. Cultural, gender, and ethnic sensitivity are important traits for successful speakers to develop and practice.


 RELIABILITY - Almost all visual aids require some degree of practice and compatibility. If you are using classroom electronic equipment for your visual aid, make sure that your media is compatible and that you know how to work the equipment AHEAD OF YOUR SPEECH DAY. Make sure that your media will run on our computer.


Videos, DVDs, and Power Point slides, all need to be cued and set up before you speak. Your Visual Aid must be ready when you need it, or its effect and your credibility as a speaker will suffer.


TYPES - Visual aids can be: 1. Charts, 2. Graphs, 3. Representations, 4. Objects, 5. Models, and 6. People.