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A Thousand Words: Visual Aids 215 Use and Abuse Be sure that you know how to operate any equipment that you need. Before your speech, check to be sure that you can easily turn on the overheard projector, computer, videotape recorder, or any other equipment you plan to use. Then double-check to make sure that everything is working cor- rectly. I can't tell you how many speeches I have seen marred because the speaker did not know how to operate the audiovisual aids or because the machinery was not functioning properly. As you practice your speech, be sure to include your visual aid, inserting it exactly where it would go in your speech. If your organization is weak and you display the visual too soon or too late in the speech, your visual aid will disrupt communication rather than enhance it. As you speak, point out each feature in the visual aid, but keep your eyes on your audience. This way, you can judge whether they understand what you're saying. In addition to making your delivery smoother and more professional, this will also help you make sure that you don't block the audience's view of the visual. Speech of the Devil If you're planning to use a visual aid in your speech, always be ready to give your speech without it. Believe me, the number of technical and human errors possible is longer than this chapter. As a result, I advise you to be ready to carry on without any visual aids.