I love to teach. It’s who I am. Before settling on Communication alone, I almost double-majored in English and Communication, to go be an English teacher. I was a soccer coach for several years. I am a teacher: I love to see people take hold of truth and apply it to their lives.
One of the best ways to help people to do that is through the use of visual aids. I’ve flipped tables, twirled umbrellas, played tug-of-war, broken paving stones…
…wrapped students with caution tape, smashed through plywood with a hammer, carried a cross, nailed things to a cross, thrown things at people, and recently brought Winston on stage during a Sunday morning service, all to get the point across and help people understand and retain what I’m teaching.
When giving someone something visual to see, you feed another part of the brain. They’re not just hearing what you’re saying, they’re seeing it.
So when they remember the time that I brought my dog up on stage, they’re going to remember that I talked about trust. How Winston trusted me, so he did what I asked, even though he didn’t understand. So they see what I mean, when I say we can trust God if he asks us to do something we don’t understand.
When I use a 44-oz big gulp as a metaphor for how our American lifestyle may be a little bit excessive and to encourage people to give more, people catch my meaning on a deeper level than if I just say, “We consume too much and don’t give enough.”
Next time you have to explain a concept that’s foreign to someone, grab a physical object that can help you illustrate it. It might take time and planning, but they’ll understand more deeply, and you’ll be more effective.
What are some of the strongest visual aids that you’ve seen, be it at a conference, a church, or in a classroom?
Thanks to Nancy Ray for the pictures of Winston and I onstage.