Public Speaking Secrets for ESL (2015)

Chapter 3:  Don’t Underestimate the Power of Visual Aids


The day of the presentation was fast approaching. Milosh had mixed emotions. He felt excited because he finally gets his chance to speak to his colleagues as well as his supervisors. This is his big break to show everyone how talented he is. He knows if he can performs well on this project his prospects of receiving the promotion he hungers for are greatly increased.


To ensure that the audience fully understands the points he’s making, he had decided, upon the advice of a good and trusted friend, to use some equipment to help illustrate his points.


Have you ever heard the adage a picture is worth a thousand words?


I’m not sure exactly how many words a picture may actually take the place of, but it’s certainly is a near instantaneous way of getting individuals to take notice of the issue at hand. Sometimes merely reciting statistics and stating summaries, while fine, don’t drive the issue home like the same facts and figures in illustrated form, from bar graphs to pie charts to photos of economically poor conditions or even natural disasters.

Yes. I know technically this is not a matter of how well you speak the English language. At least on the surface. However, if you dig a bit deeper, below your understanding of the English vocabulary and below your accent, you’ll find that equipment you can use to help illustrate your point are priceless.


If anyone in the audience is having difficulty following your speech, you can ensure that the problem will be lessened and most probably eliminated by illustrations. The success of these illustrations, though, are tied to several things. First, you’ve got to know what equipment is available to you.


Second, you need to know how to use them. I’ll just give you a hint. This means learning how to use a PowerPoint presentation properly or slides expertly takes longer than one evening.


In other words, you’ll want to start checking out the proper use of these wonderfully inventive and critically useful pieces of technology – perhaps several hours after you’ve learned about the scheduling of your opportunity. If you’re not quite sure what technology, then this chapter gives you a heads up on the most popular and easiest to use aids.


If you’re an old pro at using the gadgets, so much the better. You’ve already been convinced how powerful the addition of these visual aid media can be. If you’re not particular familiar with them, then you may want to ask individuals who have used them. Get their opinions about these aids.


PowerPoint presentations


Without a doubt, a presentation which includes PowerPoint is one of the most engaging, most vital and helpful ways to illustrate ever invented. PowerPoint is a Microsoft software program that makes it easy to create attractive slides to help speakers like you illustrate and illuminate vital points to highlight their importance.


The key to this instantly recognizable electronic slide presentation is to keep any font size you’re using large enough to be seen with ease the length of the room. In that way, these slides reinforce what you’re already telling the audience.


Many use these to emphasize a point or to add to the content of the presentation through bullet-point summaries of sections of their speech. This is great, but you can do so much more with these as well, including photos of places or screen shots of computer pages. And definitely don’t forget to use statistics and charts, as we’ve mentioned above.


  • Hand outs

No, these aren’t particularly technically advanced. But they are still valuable, perhaps more than you can ever imagine. Why? Because the audience can take them home, study them and really learn from them.

Hard copies of pie and bar charts can be crucial to your presentations. Don’t dismiss this possibility.


I’ve attended many presentations and workshops and, unfortunately, don’t seem to receive enough of them.


Flip charts and markers


The old-fashioned paper flip chart is still marvelously priceless in some situations. If you’re like me, you have the habit of writing while you’re talking. In this way, your audience see the development of an idea or a project.


Flip charts are especially vital is you’re inviting the audience to join you in creating a mind map of an idea or concept. It’s also a great aid if you’re presenting your outline in the mind map form. Not only can you show your thought process clearly, you can use an occasional hand drawn illustration to emphasize an idea.


You may even discover that one day you’ll be brave and confident enough to use different colors on your flip chart.

You’ll be amazed how much more clearly your presentation will be received through merely using one of these alternatives, if appropriate. Keep in mind though that especially with any presentation involving computers, there’s always a chance that something could go wrong and you’ll find that it’s not available.


That’s the moment you’ll be thankful for the backup plan you’ve devised. If you have PowerPoint slides you think are essential, then make hard backup copies of these. If the computer can’t display them for whatever reason, simply pull out your hard copies. You’ll get points from your supervisors for not panicking and being extra prepared.


Not only that, but even if the Power point slides work flawlessly, you’ll have them stashed away and ready to pull out should you get any requests for them. Once again, you’re being perceived as prepared. We all know that perception is everything.


In the next chapter we embrace another technique professional speakers know that you may not how to build rapport with your audience.


In the following chapter, you’ll discover how to win an audience and have them rooting for your success. It’s so much easier than you ever thought possible.