Chapter 8: Using Visual Aids

Maps, Charts, and Graphs

Can you imagine a nightly weather report without a map? Probably not. A speech on travel, a Congressional rezoning meeting, or an international affairs report are also presentations that might call for a large map in the front of the room. If your speech requires some sort of geographic reference, a map is an effective tool. To use a map effectively, make sure your audience can actually see the map. Do you remember if you had maps in grade school that hung above the blackboard? The teacher could pull a map down when needed and put it away when not needed, and the map was big enough for the whole class to see. You need to ensure that everyone can see the visual aid. Consider using an overhead projector or computer image so you have greater flexibility.

Charts and Graphs

You might have seen the following in the headlines:

  • The unemployment rate is going down
  • Gas prices are going up
  • High school graduation rates are improving

Easy to say and easy to prove, but how do you ensure that an audience not only believes you but also buys into your message? You do it with charts and graphs. The power of the image is immediate and effective. There are several types of charts to consider:

  • Use a pie chart to show relationships among parts
  • Use a bar graph to compare and contrast information
  • Use a line graph to indicate changes during a specific period of time
  • Use a flow chart to show a process, a power structure, or chain of command


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