How To Use Visual Aids During a Speech

Public speaking can bring terror into the eyes of many people.  However, the nervousness that comes to the surface while giving a speech can be overcome by using some visual aids during the speech.  Visual aids can be absolutely any piece of data given for the audience to examine.  That data could be a handout, slide show, PowerPoint presentation, or anything else used to support the presentation.  In order to use visual aids during a speech you should follow a few simple rules.

  • First and foremost are the visual aids themselves.  Whatever format is selected, the pieces of data need to be designed in a matter that does not distract the audience.  In general, the color scheme and material should look professional.  Whether a handout or a projected image is utilized, the quality of the material should not look thrown together in a hurry.  Whatever type of visual aid is used during the speech, it should support the basis of the speech and not counteract the purpose.


  • When using visual aids during a speech or presentation, they should be referred to, and not read to the audience.  The audience will tend to read the aids themselves, they do not need a word for word rehash of the data in their hand or on the screen.  If handouts are being used, be certain to have an adequate head count of your audience.  Nothing screams inefficiency like not having enough visual aids to go around the room, as really no one likes to share.


  • If a projection method is being used, be certain the equipment is functioning properly before the audience is present.  Also be certain that you have a thorough knowledge of the equipment, unless an audio/video department is being utilized.  Remember to stand alongside the screen and not block the audience's view.  Also, if video is being used, try not to talk over the video.  When using a projection method do not keep the audience in the dark too long.  If the lights have been dimmed or put out altogether, you lose sight of the audience and they lose sight of you.  Do not let the visual aids take control of the speech.

All in all, use of visual aids can and does enhance a speech.  They assist in driving points home by presenting support for your conclusions and viewpoints.  Whether the speech is to inform or persuade, presentation of facts is a crucial element.


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