Chapter 8: Delivery and Visual Resources
Home Up Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: Listening Chapter 5: Audience Analysis Chapter 7: Organizing Chapter 8: Delivery and Visual Resources Chapter 4: Small Group Communication Ch. 6, Being Credible Using Evidence Chapter 3: Interpersonal Communication

Chapter 8:

Visual Resources

I. Benefits of Visuals: Visual resources create interest in a topic, enhance a speaker's credibility, and aid in comprehension and

retention of the material.

II. Types of Visual Aids

    A. Chalkboard
  1. Chalkboards are the most accessible visual aid
  2. Practice writing + talking
  3. Make sure the writing is legible
  4. Avoid writing on the chalkboard if possible (use as a last resort)
    B. Poster and Graphs
  1. Good for hard to understand information
  2. Keep it simple
  3. Use Large Scale! writing
  4. Face audience while referring to poster
  5. If using flip charts, uncover them as you talk but possibly put blank papers in between your material

    so that people will not be distracted by looking at your charts during your presentation.


  6. Color and design. Avoid green on red because color blind people may be confused and make sure

    there is enough contrast between your font and background. Keep your background simple so people

    can easily read the words.

  7. Bar (comparison), line (increases, decreases), pie (proportion)
    C. Overhead Projectors
  1. Your transparencies must be prepared in advance and you must have access to an overhead


  2. Dim lights as you present material from the overhead projector.
  3. Make sure the font is large and that your transparencies contain key words and phrases
  4. Turn the machine off when not in use
  5. Have a back up plan (handouts, e.g.)
    D. Objects, Models
  1. Make sure they are visible to ALL
  2. Decide whether to or not to cover when not in use or leave them on display

     E.  People (demonstrations)

Make sure all can see your demonstration

    F. Handouts

  1. Handouts are usually distracting
  2. You may consider giving them to the audience for them to take home at then end of the presentation
  3. You may walk through the audience. For example, put them face down in front of the audience members and

    then instruct them when to turn over pages and discourage them from reading ahead.

    G. PowerPoint
  1. Avoid clutter
  2. Use key words (slide & lines)
  4. Standard font (Times, Arial)
  5. Have a Plan B (handouts)
E. Photos
  1. Enlarge or project to make them BIG enough for all to see
  2. Avoid passing them around if possible
III. Using Visuals
  1. Make sure they are LARGE and easy to read
  2. Practice! Practice! Practice!
  3. Don’t display visuals till ready
  4. Don’t stand in front of your visual aids
  5. Refer to your visual
  6. Talk to the audience. Not your visual aid
  7. Avoid distributing materials during your speech

  8. Check equipment beforehand   


Delivery refers to the presentation of material using the voice and body.

I. Four Modes of Delivery

A.  Extemporaneous: Refers to speeches that are prepared, practiced, conversational. This style is used for most

      most public speaking engagements. The advantage of this style is that you can adapt to audience feedback.

B.  Impromptu: Refers to “Off the cuff” presentations where no formal preparation is done. It is best to be as simple and

      direct as possible.

C.  Manuscript: Involves reading the speech. It is used when accuracy is essential and more formal speaking engagements.

      It can be boring.

D.  Memorized: Refers to a speech delivered from memory. Used only for short speaking engagements such as toasts

      or introductory remarks. It does not allow for feedback from the audience and it may be easy to forget your material!

I. Vocal Aspects of Delivery

 A.  Pitch: Highness or lowness of the voice or its placement on a musical scale. Pitch tends to go up when nervous.

B.  Rate: Speed of delivery. The speaking rate for most people is 125-190 words per minute but rate varies from

     speaker to speaker. Both slower and faster rates can be effective. For example, John F. Kennedy spoke more

     quickly than average while Ronald Regan spoke more slowly than average but both are considered to be

     effective speakers. Studies have documented regional differences whereby southerners (in the US) speak

     more slowly than northerners. Generally speaking, use a slower rate for complex material.

C.  Pauses: Pauses can be used effectively as transitions or for dramatic effect. However, pauses can have a

      negative impact on speaker's credibility is used in the form of "nonfluencies" or "vocalized pauses" such as "um,"

      "uh," "you know."


C.  Volume: Loudness or softness of the voice. Make sure everyone can hear you as you give your speech. You may need

      to "project" your voice if you have a fairly large crowd. Use a microphone if necessary. Make sure it is in working

      order beforehand and keep in mind you will have to speak more slowly and articulately if you use a microphone.

D.  Enunciation: Includes two parts, pronunciation and articulation. Pronunciation: Agreed upon rules for syllabic

      emphasis. The classic example is the word tomato. Articulation refers to the crispness of sounds. An example of

      poor articulation would be leaving the final g off of words like coming, going, leaving, etc.


E.  Fluency: The smoothness of the delivery. A fluent speech flows well. It is possible to appear too fluent and be seen

     as too "smooth" or glib.

F.  Vocal Variety: Vocal variety is the opposite of a monotone and includes variations in

     inflections and intonation. Speaking in a monotone may bore the audience and lead to decreased comprehension of the


I. Bodily Aspects of Delivery

A.  Gestures: Movements of hand, arms, body. Gestures can be used to illustrate or emphasize points and makes

      the speaker more dynamic and interesting.

B.  Facial Expression: An animated face is more interesting to watch and facial expressions can be used to

      communicate emotion, express ideas, etc.


C.  Eye-contact: Don’t stare at wall or any one spot, but connect with your audience. Glace at all sides of room, each

      person 2-3 seconds at a time. Don't forget about the people on the perimeters. Know your speech well so you don't

      have to over-focus on your notes.

D.  Movement: Will increase dynamism. Movement must be natural to be effective. For more informal

      speaking engagements, don't be afraid to break away from the podium.


E.  Physical appearance: Before you speak choose appropriate clothing and pay attention to grooming. Before you

     speak, walk firmly to the podium and then take a moment to collect your thoughts before you speak. Smile at

     the audience and begin.

F.  Large vs. small: Smaller audiences are more intimate and you can make eye-contact with everyone in the room.

     For larger audiences, make sure you address different areas: left, right, middle, front back.

G.  Camera: Treat the camera as a person and address that person.


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This page last updated August 21, 2007

Arkansas State University