Speech Visual Aids - How To Choose Them So They Enhance Your Speech

When making any type of speech, you should consider whether you are going to use any speech visual aids.

Speech visual aids are normally items that are used to make the speech easier to follow and the points made easier to grasp and remember.

It is worth noting that too many visual aids can distract from the speech so choose carefully!

Examples of visual aids are:

1) Sounds (yes, not really visual, but still can be used!)

These could be recording of speech extracts, animal noises, conversations, sound effects etc. that liven up the speech.

Always make sure that you have checked the equipment on which you will be playing the sound(s) and check the volume. If you are playing the recording in a large room, you will need to experiment with the volume so that everyone in your audience can hear.

If you have several recordings, develop a system so that you know where to start playing each recording. Nothing is worst than your audience waiting for you to cue up the track!

For certain recordings, you may have to obtain permission from the copyright owner in order to use the recording.

2) Flipcharts

These can be used to write down key points during the speech or they can be pre-prepared and used during the speech.

Use several different coloured pens to highlight key points and ensure that the flipchart is turned over in time to the points raised in your speech.

If you are writing the charts as you go, use neat writing and try to spell everything correctly. Also avoid turning your back on your audience for too long as they may not be able to hear you as well.

3) OHP (Overhead Projector)

These are the 'old' type of projectors that use a clear slide to present the information. Using a special pen, you can write on the slide and project the image onto a white board/screen.

Again, make sure you check that the equipment works. It pays to keep a spare bulb and a spare fuse just in case either of them fail.

When you write on the slides, it's best to use three or four key points per slide. Don't include too much text as it will be difficult to read.

4) Laptop And Projector

These are becoming more popular and more reliable. Using a program such as Microsoft PowerPoint, you can design a presentation on the laptop that can then be displayed on the projector.

The projector works like a cinema projector and can be projected onto a wall or white screen.

As a precaution, it is best to print off the slides onto paper in case of total equipment failure (it does happen!).

An extra bulb and fuse should be kept as fuses and bulbs often fail.

If you intend to use a laptop and projector, you should set up early and become very familiar with the software as delays/errors will make your speech look bad.

5) Props

These are everyday objects that can be used to as visual aids to enhance your speech.

To ensure that the audience can see the objects, you should use big objects or be prepared to pass them around your audience.

Don't use anything valuable as you may not get it back!

6) Sketches/Role Play

These are small presentations that simulate a point or part of your speech.

They are used more in training sessions, but can be put to good use in your speech.

You must rehearse everything you do and become word perfect.

A badly performed role play will undermine your speech.

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