58 The Purpose of Visual Aids
Believe it or not, you have been familiar with visual aids in public speaking for a long time. Remember Show and Tell back in grade school? There are a number of reasons that Show and Tell was not just “Tell. ” With Show and Tell, you had a “thing ” to talk about. This allowed you to capture your audience’s attention with both sight and sound. You had something to do with your hands, and the object you talked about gave you and the audience something to focus on during the presentation. The audience also had a visual reference to remember after the speech ended. So even though you may not have thought about Show and Tell since your grade school days, you have already learned about visual aids. A visual aid is anything the audience can see that helps the speaker get his or her message across to the audience.
Visual aids serve in several different capacities throughout a presentation. In this section, Leigh Kelly addresses visual aids and the following functions they perform:
- Emphasize ideas through both sight and sound
- Enhance your credibility
- Capture and hold audience attention
- Help your audience remember your speech
- Help control stage fright