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Importance of Visual Aids in Communication

Importance of Visual Aids in Communication

The use of visual resources in the process of communication help to make it effective and fruitful. Know about the importance of visual aids through this SocialMettle write-up.
Sucheta Pradhan
According to author, consultant, keynote speaker, Dr. Lynell Burmark, "... unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear."
Communication is the most important tool of social existence and survival. An individual who is able to put his point across effectively, often lands up being successful in his endeavors. Communication is a complex process and needs to be planned in such a manner that the information being given is not only heard attentively at the other end, but is also remembered. In other words, communication should make a long-lasting impact on the people in question. One of the most important tools of effective communication is the use of various visual aids, in order to enable a more in-depth understanding of the subject. What we see, does actually have a more profound effect on our ability to grasp information, rather than what we read or what we listen to.
Visual sense is so active in humans that it not only enables us to cognize information at a much faster rate, but it also helps us memorize the same for a longer period of time. According to a study conducted by psychologist Albert Mehrabian, about 93% of effective spoken communication happens by various factors, other than words. These include the tone of the speaker, facial expressions, body language, and so on. Moreover, several studies also indicate that the human brain has a power to decipher visual imagery, much faster than language, and hence, such communications have a far-reaching impact on the human mind.
Types of Visual Aids
Different types of visual aids are used by the speaker/orator in order to make the audience understand with clarity, the information that he/she wants to communicate. The kind of aid used depends on the preference of the communicator, as well as the nature of the subject. Each kind of visual resource has its own set of pros and cons, and hence, it is necessary to choose the one which is most suitable, so that effective communication can be established and the presentation can be made more interactive. The different types of visual help or aids used are as under:
➥ Actual objects and/or models can be used to make the audience see for themselves, what is being spoken about.
Infographics can be used, so that a lot of information can be conveyed through graphical representations. Infographic tools include maps, tables, charts, and graphs.
➥ Actual photographs of the subject in question, also help to a great extent in establishing effective communication.
➥ Many times, in the absence of real photographs, diagrams and sketches can also be used for conveying important information.
Videos are one of the best audio-visual aids, which enable people to actually see how things happen, thus making them understand the subject even more deeply.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, some speakers, depending on the subject, also prefer to make people, not only see but also do certain things. For instance, for a lecture on pottery-making, the listeners may understand the techniques better if they try making pots themselves, rather than looking at others making the same.
Power of Visual Communication
The use of visual resources plays a significant role in establishing an effective and fruitful communication. Here's why visual aids prove to be powerful tools:
Enhancing the Presentation
Visual aids help to add an extra element of interest to the presentation. The subjects which may seem to be extremely boring, can be made more interesting. This helps to grab the attention of the listeners as they can now see colorful representations of otherwise boring, black and white text.

We remember what we see, more than what we don't. Visual images always make a long-lasting impact on our minds. Moreover, it is common human tendency to get attracted towards colorful imagery and pictures. Most of the time, an individual tends to remember what he/she has seen during his/her childhood, for a lifetime. Such is the power of visuals. It is always easier to remember them than plain text, and hence, the use of visual resource is vital.

Every individual has a certain limit for his/her concentration. In other words, a person tends to lose his/her concentration after a certain period of time, after which the capacity of that person to grasp information decreases. Use of visual aids helps a person to concentrate on a given object for a longer span of time, as they keep the human mind engaged and entertained, at the same time.

Repetition of Information
The power to grasp information varies from person to person. While some people can grasp faster via verbal communication, some others may need the help of visuals in order to comprehend information. The use of visual resources in communication helps to repeat, with more clarity, the information that is being conveyed verbally, thus enhancing the chances of better understanding.

Avoiding Distractions
The use of aids concentrates the attention of the listeners on one particular object, which becomes a focal point. This results in more attentive listeners as there are lesser possibilities of distractions. The more attentive the audience, the better are the chances of putting the point across.

Systematizing Communication
Visual resources enables the speaker to systematically organize large chunks of information into smaller, more interactive bits. By doing this, the speaker can also design his/her presentation in a way that he/she effectively communicates with the audience who not only pay attention, but gain a fruitful experience.

Though the idea of using visual aids may seem to be very intriguing and appealing, it is very important that a communicator, properly and carefully, chooses and plans the kind of resources he/she needs to use. Care should be taken beforehand, regarding the placement and all the technicalities that go into using the resource, so that there are no obstructions while the actual presentation is in process.