Consider a eulogy delivered in front of a large picture of the deceased. Maybe the attendees even have a program in their hand with stories and pictures celebrating that person’s life. Or, on a lighter note, how many weddings or graduation parties have you attended where the lights go down, and suddenly a video or PowerPoint presentation shows highlights from the life experiences of the honorees? These visual depictions are usually the hit of the celebration.
In persuasive speaking, visual aids lend an equally dynamic element to a speaker’s argument. Charts and graphs can bring key statistics or facts to life, such as in a speech about famine in third world countries. Photos can help the audience truly see the extent of a problem. If a speaker plans to ask the audience to sign a petition or donate money, handouts or other paperwork can give the audience an immediate way to respond.
In all types of speeches, visual aids give words and ideas dimension. Could those words and ideas come to life without a visual aid? Yes. However, there are times that a visual aid adds that extra touch to magnify a speaker’s thoughts. As a speaker, you will come to identify those occasions when -excuse the cliché -a picture is worth a thousand words.