GRE Issue Essay 147

“The most effective way to communicate an idea or value to large groups of people is through the use of images, not language.”

Why does the education system pay a lot of emphasis on visual training aids? This is because it is a well known fact that people absorb information better through the medium of visual images as compared to language. However, this may not always be true. There may be instances when language surpasses the effectiveness of images in conveying an idea to a large group of people. Therefore, ideas can be communicated to large groups most effectively through a combination of images and language.

A large audience may not always be receptive to what is being spoken at the center stage. Take the example of a large gathering which is being addressed by a leader. Depending on the acoustics of the enclosure when everyone is seated and the public addressing system that is being utilized, the people who are the farthest from the center stage may not be able to even hear what is being said by the leader. If the organizers of the event plan to install a giant screen on which some images related to what is being said are displayed, the audience will be in a better position to understand what is intended to be conveyed by the leader. We all have been witness to popular award functions where you can see huge screens displaying what is happening at the center stage. Moreover, these screens are used to display short clips for showcasing a new movie or the lifetime achievements of an award winner. We all have observed that this is a much more effective way of communicating with the audience rather than reading out lengthy speeches related to the same information that has been easily conveyed by the visual images.

On the contrary, there may be certain cases where images are bound to confuse the audience and it becomes necessary to supplement the images being displayed with spoken information. For instance, the person chairing a seminar on a new idea for help in quitting smoking may utilize certain images to highlight the side-effects of smoking, but he will have to resort to lengthy speeches to explain the same to the audience. Simply viewing the images may not have the desired effect on the audience. Additionally, the lack of spoken information may puzzle the audience as they will probably not be able to understand the message that the speaker is trying to convey. The use of language will assume greater importance when the speaker has to discuss the anatomy of the human body which is most likely to be affected by smoking. The audience may not be able to comprehend what is being displayed if they are not told what part of the human body it is. On the other hand, simply talking about the issue without displaying relevant images may make the talk boring and it is likely that the audience will lose interest in the talk that is being delivered. Hence, there is a requirement that the speaker works out a system where he is able to effectively utilize images to support the idea that he wants to convey to a large audience.

It is very difficult to generate interest in a large group. Lack of interest in what is being spoken is likely to make people drift away from the discussion and they may start talking amongst themselves or they may leave the discussion altogether resulting in the failure of the speaker to convey his idea. Utilizing images and other visual aids ensures that people are interested in knowing what is being discussed. If images were not all that important, then there would be no requirement of ad campaigns which are designed to reach out to the masses for conveying a message. An advertisement containing only text will probably not even be read by people, but an advertisement with an image with the accompanying text catches the attention of common people. Therefore, it is obvious that the best way to convey an idea to a large group of people would be to try out a combination of images and language in suitable proportions.