Preparing and Using Visual Aids 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Use a high-quality recorder to prevent distortion. Before your speech, be sure the tape is rewound and at its starting point. If the recorder is portable, position it on a table that is level with the audience. Before playing the tape, explain the purpose of the tape and identify the speaker. Adjust the volume so everyone can hear. Always carry a backup tape! 217 Blackboards Blackboards are easy to use and easy to see. They also keep your hands busy, which can reduce nervousness. You can use a blackboard drawing as you would a chart, map, or other completed visual aid to point out relevant and salient features. Usually, it's a good idea to complete the drawing before you begin your speech. If the drawing is on the board beforehand, it frees you to concentrate on your words. Drawing while you are speaking carries the advantage of immediacy, but it can be distracting and difficult to concentrate on two tasks at once. Class Act If the tape recorder runs on batteries, be sure to carry spare batteries with you. If it gets plugged in, check