Login

Visual Aids in Public Speaking: Importance, Purpose, and Audience Considerations

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Types of Visual Aids Used in Public Speaking

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Visual Aids
  • 1:09 Why Use Them
  • 2:42 How to Use Them
  • 5:18 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Giving a speech can be nerve-wracking, and it might seem easy to just skip the visual aids. In this lesson, we'll discuss why that's a bad idea, why visual aids are important, and what elements make a great visual aid.

Visual Aids

Let's try a quick experiment. Read the following. The occipital lobe of your brain is at the back of the brain and aids in the interpretation of visual stimuli. What you see travels through your brain via the optic nerve to the primary visual cortex in the posterior section of the brain and then is interpreted, so you know what you are looking at.

Okay. Can you remember what you just read? How well did you understand it? If you're like most people, you probably remember and can understand only a small part. But it would be a lot easier to understand if you were shown what the words were talking about, like where the occipital lobe is and how visual information travels from the eyes to the primary visual cortex.

A visual aid is something that supplements words with a picture, chart, or illustration. Looking at an image of the brain and the optic nerve as you read about it is a good example of a visual aid. It is a supplement to the words you're reading.

Let's look at why you should use visual aids when you give a speech and the best ways to use them.

Why Use Them

Imagine that you are going to present information to one of your classes. You're nervous and have lots of things to say to them. You have spent so much time working on your speech that you wonder if it's worth it to make visual aids to go with it. Why bother with visuals?

There are many good reasons to use visual aids. First, and most importantly, visual aids help your audience understand and remember information that you talk about. Remember when I had you read the plain text about the topic? It wasn't a very effective way for you to learn that information.

Most people learn through visuals, perhaps even more so than through listening. So, a good visual aid can really help your audience understand you and remember what you said later. In fact, one study showed that 3 days after a presentation, people who only heard a speaker remembered about 10% of the information, while people who heard and saw visual information remembered about 65% of the information. That's a lot more!

Another good reason to use visual aids is that they increase audience interest. It can be pretty boring to sit and listen to someone talk on and on about something, but having visual aids will help capture and keep people interested in what you're saying.

Finally, visual aids can serve as notes or reminders for the speaker. When you're giving a speech, it can be very nerve-wracking. Having visual aids helps you remember what you want to say and keeps you from going off on tangents.

How to Use Them

You're giving a speech to your class, and you know that visual aids are important. But you still aren't sure what to do. How exactly do you use visual aids?

The best visual aids have six things in common. You can remember these by remembering the first letter of each word of the sentence 'Sweet Sarah always answers persuasively.'

The first 's' is for 'simplicity.' You should keep things as simple as possible. If you want to use an image, use one that is not too crazy or complicated. If you're making a chart, make it clear and simple. If you have too much going on, people will get confused or distracted. Remember, less is more!

The next 's,' from the beginning of 'Sarah,' stands for 'size.' You want to make sure that whatever visual aid you're using, it is large enough to be seen by the whole audience. If you have a teeny tiny piece of paper, someone at the back of the room might not be able to see what's on it. If possible, go to the room where you'll be presenting ahead of time and stand at the back to make sure that your visual aid is the right size.

The 'a' in the word 'always' stands for 'attractive.' You want to make your visual aids look nice. If you are making a chart, try to use color to make it look better than just plain old black and white. If you are using a photograph, remember to make sure it is clear and not blurry.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support