The Importance of Visual Aids in Communication
- The Office of Training and Education of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has reported that psychologists and educators have found that use of visual tools led to a retention of information rate three days after a meeting or other event that was six times greater than when information is presented by the spoken word alone. Visual aids allow the speaker to use verbal and nonverbal communication to solidify the message and provide a point of reference for the mind.
- Everyone has a limited attention span. Once this capacity is spent, the mind will decrease its ability to retain information and listen effectively. Using visual aids refreshes the mind and engages it in a different way, renewing the attention span. Visual aids keep the mind entertained and therefore sharp and ready to receive information.
- Visual aids can be used to organize communication, making it easier to remember points made in a presentation. The introduction of a different visual aid for each point of a speech or presentation helps the mind to separate messages into smaller chunks of information. The visual aids also create a point of reference for the mind to quickly refer to when attempting to retrieve information. For example, the use of icons or labels helps trigger messages in the mind. When you see the McDonald's restaurant golden arches logo along an interstate highway, your mouth may begin to water because of they represent eating a meal.
- Not everyone understands concepts and information at the same rate. Some people can understand messages quickly while others need help to grasp what is being said. Visual aids are a way of further explanation. If some people are more visual than audio learners, the visual aids may be necessary for comprehension. Visual aids create repetition and the more repetition in communication, the greater the chances that your audience will understand and remember effectively.
Create a Focal Point
- Visual aids help a speaker stay on track. If there is one central visual aid that the speaker can use, then the speaker's thoughts and the audience's attention will stay on course. There's nothing worse than listening to a speaker ramble and lose the audience. Visual aids assist in avoiding such a scenario.