Using Visuals to Connect to an Audience

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson is going to go over the fundamental ways you can use visuals to connect to an audience. We'll go over different types of visuals, when to use them, and what they help you accomplish.

A Picture for Understanding

Ever tried to explain something to a friend or family member who just wasn't getting it? Perhaps they needed a picture or diagram to explain it did it make sense to them.

Visuals can help anyone explain a topic as well as connect with an audience. In this lesson, we go over the fundamentals of how this is the case.

Why Use a Visual?

Some things are either best left unsaid or cannot be described well enough with words. Visuals help people connect the dots between ideas in a more powerful and intuitive way than words alone. After all, we are visual creatures, so we can appreciate ideas and concepts faster with the help of images.

Moreover, visuals help an audience connect to a topic on an emotional level as opposed to a purely logical one.

Among other things, visuals can help you:

  1. Build trust with an audience
  2. Get the message across
  3. Prove a factual point
  4. Entertain
  5. Move an audience to action

Which Visuals Should I Use?

While it would be pretty easy to assume that visuals should be pictures, they're by no means the only kind of visual aid you can use during a presentation. Photos are helpful, but you can also charts graphs, or videos, which often have the benefit of audio to go along with the moving imagery.

A visual doesn't have to be something that's shown on a screen or a poster board. You can be the visual. You can show something or demonstrate something that provides a visual aid to entertain or connect with the audience in a more meaningful manner.

For example, a TED talk with Markus Fischer was accompanied by some great visuals. He first talked about his team building a robot that could fly the way a bird does. He showed images of real birds, diagrams of the robot's mechanics, but to top it off he brought the actual robot and let it fly over the audience, which gained great applause.

To recap, visuals can be photos, videos, graphs/chart, and demonstrations.

When Should I Use the Visual?

So, when should you use the visual?

Don't place visuals randomly. Make sure they are used for maximum effect .

A good rule of thumb is to use the visual as you're explaining a topic that the visual helps illustrate. However, this isn't a must. In some instance, you might want to use the visual after you've made a point, as a way to summarize or reinforce what you've just said.

In other instance, you could consider using the visual before you even introduce a topic, as a way to capture the audience's attention.

Regardless of which method you choose, ensure there are transitional elements in your speech or labels that help an audience understand why the visual is there and what it has to do with your message.

A visual like this, placed at the beginning of a presentation, might be a good way to capture the attention of the audience.
Nuclear Explosion

Personal Stories

One of the best possible ways to connect to an audience is through storytelling. People love great stories, non-fiction or fiction.

Usually, the best stories you can tell are the ones you have lived through yourself. Because you have an emotional connection to the story, it will be more authentic than if you repeat someone else's story.

As a result, personal stories can help form a stronger and deeper connection to an audience, and personal visuals can enhance that goal.

Let's say you went through a terrible tragedy, like a war, but came out on top. You can begin your presentation by showing an image, probably pretty graphic, of the war that you went through.

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